It's just after dawn when my ride begins, and soon I reach the Orleans-Jefferson line near Riverbend, where there remains a small community of homes on the Mississippi River batture, that narrow strip of land that sits between the base of the levee and the water's edge, mostly forested and usually dry, except in the springtime when the high water comes.More
It's a foggy morning on the river, as usual at this time of year. Even when there's no fog elsewhere, the river fogs over, as the warm humid air of late spring contacts the much cooler river, chilled by the recently melted snow and cold northern rains rolling to the Gulf of Mexico. On the river, the tankers' tall superstructures poke out of the low fog banks, moving back and forth like skyscrapers floating on a cloud.
At the Riverbend, the water is lapping at the floorboards of some of the batture homes. A man wades in three feet of water in his yard to tie his propane tank to the trees, so that it doesn't float away. I ask him, literally in passing, if this is the highest he has seen the water. "Nope, '73 was higher," he recalls of the flood that sparked the first and only opening of Morganza. "But I know more water is coming."
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Stop now Read this
NOLA.com's James O'Byrne details his bicycle ride along the swollen Mississippi.