Saturday, May 31, 2011
10:00 AM CST
River Update May 31, 2011
New Orleans will not be affected by the type of river and tributary flooding seen along other parts of the Mississippi River due to the extensive water diversion systems- the Bonnet Carre Spillway and the Morganza Floodway- that guide high river waters away from New Orleans and larger lower Mississippi River Valley communities.
Monday, May 9, 2011, the United States Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway to alleviate pressure, flow and water levels upriver on the Mississippi River. Located in St. Charles Parish, 28 miles from New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre Spillway is a structure that diverts water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain then to the Gulf of Mexico, thus allowing high waters to bypass New Orleans. The structure has a design capacity of 250,000 cubic feet per second, the equivalent of roughly 1,870,000 gallons of water per second. This strategy was last implemented in 2008.
MAY 31, 2011 UPDATE
As of today, May 31, 330 bays of the 350 total bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway have been opened. Bays are the individual sections of the structure that divert water from the river into Lake Pontchartrain.
Saturday, May 14, 2011, the Mississippi River Commission granted permission to activate the Morganza Floodway, another water diversion structure located roughly 123 miles northwest of New Orleans. The Morganza Floodway drains high water from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya River Basin located in Central Louisiana with waters flowing south, through the basin and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. As waters travel to the Gulf of Mexico some communities in central and south Louisiana will experience flooding. Our hearts go out to those communities who will be affected. New Orleans will not experience flooding due to the opening of the Morganza Floodway. The floodway diverts high waters from the Mississippi River to the north and west of New Orleans. This will lower the level and slow the flow for the New Orleans stretch of the Mississippi River. Louisiana State Police anticipate no impact to major highways and interstates.
Activation of the spillways, which are located well outside the New Orleans area, will not be noticeable to visitors in New Orleans, nor will they create disruption to daily life of residents, businesses or tourism.
Here in New Orleans tourism is business as usual. Hotels, restaurants and attractions are all operating normally.
There has been tragic flooding for many small towns and rural areas in the upper and middle Mississippi River Valley. Fortunately for the City of New Orleans, the development of two of the nation’s largest flood control systems prevent such flooding in New Orleans.
The New Orleans CVB is in constant communication with city officials and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This message will be updated throughout the weekend to provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you.
Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau