I have always been fascinated by rivers. This started when I was a boy in Nebraska, as I spent many summers on the Missouri, Platte, Loop, Cedar, and Niobrara. Since then I've swam in the Nile, Jordan, Euphrates, and the Ganges. Now that I live in New Orleans, the Mississippi River commands my attention and respect. One of the most interesting books I've read is John Barry's Rising Tide, which discusses America's attempts to control the Mississippi and the great flood of 1927. With the large amounts of rain that have fallen in the Great Plains, the Mississippi River's levels in New Orleans are the highest they've been in years. This again shows me how much the United States depends on New Orleans and the Mississippi River, in that you can transport goods from the Gulf of Mexico via water to a huge amount of the country, just as rain in Minnesota, Ohio, Arkansas, and Missouri makes it way down south to us. The recent near record levels of water prompted the Army Corp of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carre spillway, which releases water from the river into Lake Pontchartrain. I took Gilgamesh and Kalypso to see this on Saturday. It's the first time in 10 years they've opened the spillway, which was built right after the flood of 1927. Usually the spillway is swampy, full of wildlife and alligators. With the river water now pouring in and through the land, I've heard that alligators will get pushed into Lake Ponchartrain. I've also heard that many fish will die from pesticides in the river water. Be safe all you Pontchartrain manatees!
Bonnet Carre Spillway, with river water to right being released into spillway towards Lake Pontchartrain to the left.