Flood Risk from Opening the Morganza Floodway

Estimated Inundation Spring 2011 Flood Date: 06 May 2011 – Version 1, 06 May 2011 (EGIS Map ID No. 11-051-009)

Floodway into the Atchafalaya Basin saves New Orleans: Oliver Houck

“The Mississippi River is rising, the Army Corps of Engineers has just blown a controversial floodway levee north of Cairo, Ill., and the surge is coming downstream.

New Orleans will be safe, however, not because of its high river levees, which could be challenged if 2 million cubic feet per second swirl by at 8 miles an hour, chewing on the banks, even with a few feet of freeboard. Rather, the city is safe because of another floodway to the west, the Atchafalaya, that can take half the Mississippi’s highest flows and funnel them safely to the Gulf.

We also are safe because we have the rights to use this floodway, free and clear. This was not always the case. In fact, it became the case only after a long fight that ran for nearly 20 years over the Atchafalaya basin…

Read the rest of this editorial by Professor Oliver Houck of the Tulane Law School.