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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-25-2006, 07:38 AM
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

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Botnst - 1/24/2006 7:16 PM

I rarely stay in NOLA (I live only a couple hours away), but when I stay there I like this hotel: http://www.prytaniaparkhotel.com/.

It's small and clean.

Bot
Ugh - Garden District isn't worth dealing with if you're going down for fun. There are so many reasonable B&Bs in and around the quarter that are a much better pick. I'm staying at my friend's B&B next month when I'm back down. The hotels in the Quarter are all overpriced.

2002 Ccoupe, not as good as others, apparently
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-25-2006, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Quote:
Botnst - 1/24/2006 10:46 PM

Quote:
kvining - 1/24/2006 9:26 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 1/24/2006 7:16 PM

I rarely stay in NOLA (I live only a couple hours away), but when I stay there I like this hotel: http://www.prytaniaparkhotel.com/.

It's small and clean.

Bot
We won't be going into Norlans - we've been working in the Sulphur area. Stayed at the Delta Downs last night, but tonight we couldn't get rooms there, so we had to bunk out in Sulphur. We are getting royally boned on room rates here, double te usual for the most part. Sulphur is like a little wild West boomtown with all the Houston oil people here. There are also a zillion Hispanic tree trimmers all over the place. Looks like hurricanes are darn good for local economies for the places that survive.

Tommorrow we will be working in Cameron. We get apocalyptic descriptions of the place from the pipeline guys. It's where Rita's eye came ashore. We are getting terms like "wiped off the face of the Earth", "ceased to exist", etc to describe the place. One guy said the whole town is now a big dozer pile, being hauled off to the scrapyards by the semi-load. Read a gruesome news report from there that said residents are still finding coffins that popped out of flooded cemeteries, under brushpiles and overpasses. They have found 1500 so far.
Concerning coffins, one of my colleagues si from Johnson's Bayou (west Cameron). Both his parents died over the previous 3 years and both of their coffins were lifted and lost. Remember that most burial vaults are above ground. If FEMA is still feeding contractors from their facility east of Cameron, you'll pass by a couple of small cemetaries on your way to the FEMA camp. Last i saw most of the vaults were still open. There's one right near the former Air Logistics (I think that's who it is, maybe PHI) heliport.

I've been going to or flying over Cameron Parish since the day after Rita. It has cleaned-up a lot. But it is still horribly depressing. I have to go through a conscious unwinding everytime I return from working over there. The NRCS cty agent guy estimated that they lost 60k head of cattle in cameron parish alone. I spoke to one rancher near Grand Chenier (east of the town of Cameron) who lost over 800 that'd he'd found dead and was still missing 40 head. he and his neighbors had found 40-50 of his so he lost damn-near everything. The saltwater stayed so high down there that the winter grass is mostly dead so people that still have cattle must buy hay and truck it in because of course, they lost all of their hay, too.

The one good thing to come out of Katrina was that the people of Cameron and Iberia Parishes hauled-ass when Hurricane Rita began it's swing northward. The images of Katrina's impact were so frightful that those people got the hell out. I firmly believe that had Katrina NOT happened, that most of the people from Johnson's Bayou to Erath would've died. The storm surge was just freaking huge. It reached over 20 miles (miles!) inland. The average velocity of the surge was 2m/sec with a 5 degree slope on the wave-front. It lifted and transported damn near anything not firmly attached.

Kirk, something to look for along the chenier east from Creole to the Mermentau River (if you get a chance to go sight-seeing) is what looks like chainsaw cuts in the liveoaks adjacent to the north side of the road. That is where the electrical cables were whip-sawed after the poles were uprooted and carried northward. As the poles surged they pulled the cables across the trees slicing through 2-8" of bark and wood. For me it was one of the most eerily amazing things I saw.

Other interesting things: I also saw a dead bird, a ruby-crowned kinglet, that the wind had smacked into a broken tree. A single splinter on the tree got driven through the tiney bird's eyes.

I counted 230-something dead nutria in 1/4 mile on a single trip, a week post-Rita. Multiply that number by the length of the highway (80 miles) overtopped by the storm surge west of Calcasieu Lake.

Using a YSI, I measured salinities from .5 PPT on the far east of the highway increasing to 19.5 PPT near the Mermentau River, 1 month post-hurricane. the salinity should have been between 0 and 1. The storm surge water was held inland because storm debris had clogged all of the natural and artificial drainage and immediately post-hurricane we entered a 3 month drought. As the water evaporated from the rice fields it wicked the salt up the rice stubble resulting in rice fields that looked looked like they were covered with frost. It is unlikely that they will produce rice for several to many years. Same with crawfish.

I've been eating raw oysters and other seafood since December. No illness.

If you can possibly do it, take a camera. This is a story that you'll want passed down for generations (if the planet survives...).

I'll be going over there again next week. If you're still there I'll come over to Sulphur and let you buy me a beer.

Bot

PS If you're interested I can post some URL's of imagery.
PPS I'm glad you're doing this. We need all the help and good wishes we can get. I know you're getting compensated. But even so, you don't have to do it. Good on ye.
I'm only here until today, after that I'll be moving on to the Alabama coast - thanks for the offer. We will probably return to this area in about a month. We're setting up WiFi connections on natural gas line leak detectors, and tying them into a central site in Sulpur. Pretty neat technology - the sensors communicate with each other and check to make sure pressure differences are always in line with friction loss. If they are less than that, they essentially make a cell phone call to the central site computers and raise the alarm that there is a leak on the line. They are so sensitive it is incredible. They pay for themselves in no time, given the price of NG. Rita has given the NG providers an opportunity to improve their technology.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Ok, returned for the week. Spent today in Cameron Parish, the hardest hit by Rita. Down right depressing. There was one section we called "The Dead Zone". The only thing I've ever seen close to it are pictures of WW I battlefields. I took some pics, but photographs don't convey the place. The stench is unbelievable. It is an odd mixture of death and salt water. They are marshes that are about 1/2 a mile inland, where the sea flooded and left behind trapped salt water. Everything, I mean everything died. The plants, the animals, all of it. There is this weird little strip of green along the built up road beds where the salt water didn't quite reach, and everything else is dead and decaying. On top of that, there are fires burning everywhere caused by all this dead stuff. There was one we could see all the way from Sulpur, thirty miles away - we thought it was brush burning, but when we got close it turned out to be an enormous marsh fire - a weird fire burning on the top of watery marshes. I have a great picture of the mushroom cloud and some of the other fires.

The fire departments are only fighting those near the gas wells - probably a good idea as I think burning off the dead stuff will help this place renew itself. But the combinition of smoke, death and brackish water has given me a headache from hell. I have to resize the pics I took, but here is one that would help Bot locate the place - it starts at the intersection of this road an LA 27, and spreads out in different directions from this point. A wasteland of wrecked houses, marshes filled with massive amounts of household junk, blackened marshes and acres and acres of dead grasses and trees without a touch of green anywhere - eerie and morbid.




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Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Everywhere is household junk, and boats. Still boats everywhere. We were ten miles inland and started seeing smashed boats still in the gutters and washed up on the bayous. This is taken out in front of the FEMA aid station, still in operation passing out subsistance items.
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File Type: jpg 46_1762423_1272006100657PM.JPG (17.5 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg 46_1762423_1272006101127PM.JPG (32.7 KB, 31 views)

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:16 PM
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Oh yeah, I know that route well.

Did you take any pix of the great rafts of marsh that were lifted from teh east and deposited on the west side of the road? The marsh rafts were especially evident after you cross the GIWW, the tall bridge.

I didn't know they had started burning. Much of the debris that used to be Creole, Grand Chenier and Cameron got lifted by teh storm surge and deposited in huge debris fields, you may have seen one (unless they've already burned it) looking west along the south side of the GIWW crossing the bridge.

Those debris feilds have everything in them. In addition to tons of fine fuels (marsh grass and sod) there is also household debris like boards, roofs, stairways, appliances, LP gas tanks, gas cans, hazardous material containers (a common object in oil country), livestock (bodies), and god only knows what else. EPA has contracted for commercial remediation and so folks are trying to locate hazardous debris before the burn the wrack lines. But you cannot see everything and dense stuff sinks in that bottomless morass.

If they're burning, it's a good thing for you taht you didn't have to stay long. I'll go back on Tuesday to survey some coastline south of Grand Chenier. My traverse busted so I have to go resurvey part of it.

Lately I've been driving down to Cow Island and across LA 82 rather than down LA 27.

Is Blackwater still manning the checkpoint on 27 at Cameron Prairie NWR? Did you see the big mofo gators in the ditch? Those dumbasses from Blackwater must be feeding the, else those gators wouldn't hang around. Gators aren't a terrestrial problem during daylight. But those Blackwater guys better watch their asses at night.

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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

This is a gruesome place. It is a wrecked church whose flooded grave yard has sent scores of coffins and crypts adrift, some still being found miles away. The big news story was one that floated on to I-10 this week, one person in a famil crypt that still has five others unaccounted for in the same vault. They were re-burying and rebuilding as we went by.
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Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:26 PM
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Re, that first photo you took with the "Bridge Ices" sign in it.

The area between the sign and the treeline is a drainage canal that should be clear water about 4-6 ft deep. The debris that has filled it accumulated as the storm winds pushed northwesterly across the road and the debris, carried by the northerly movement of the storm surge (about 5 meters in that area) was stopped by that treeline (which is actually a dredge spoil colonized by willows).

The storm surge advanced at just under 5 meters/second while the winds were blowing at over 200km/hr in that area.

Will you be going back?

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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Quote:
Botnst - 1/27/2006 10:16 PM

Oh yeah, I know that route well.

Did you take any pix of the great rafts of marsh that were lifted from teh east and deposited on the west side of the road? The marsh rafts were especially evident after you cross the GIWW, the tall bridge.

I didn't know they had started burning. Much of the debris that used to be Creole, Grand Chenier and Cameron got lifted by teh storm surge and deposited in huge debris fields, you may have seen one (unless they've already burned it) looking west along the south side of the GIWW crossing the bridge.

Those debris feilds have everything in them. In addition to tons of fine fuels (marsh grass and sod) there is also household debris like boards, roofs, stairways, appliances, LP gas tanks, gas cans, hazardous material containers (a common object in oil country), livestock (bodies), and god only knows what else. EPA has contracted for commercial remediation and so folks are trying to locate hazardous debris before the burn the wrack lines. But you cannot see everything and dense stuff sinks in that bottomless morass.

If they're burning, it's a good thing for you taht you didn't have to stay long. I'll go back on Tuesday to survey some coastline south of Grand Chenier. My traverse busted so I have to go resurvey part of it.

Lately I've been driving down to Cow Island and across LA 82 rather than down LA 27.

Is Blackwater still manning the checkpoint on 27 at Cameron Prairie NWR? Did you see the big mofo gators in the ditch? Those dumbasses from Blackwater must be feeding the, else those gators wouldn't hang around. Gators aren't a terrestrial problem during daylight. But those Blackwater guys better watch their asses at night.

Bot
We got kicked out of the wild life refugee by the EPA folks. No Blackwater, but lots of FSS. They had some kind of major hazmat operation going on just about where you describe. Looks like something got away from them there. We tried to take some pictures but they appeared out of nowhere the minute I whipped the camera out. They have set up a huge repository of 55-gal sealed drums in what used to be a scenic parking area by a flood-control appartus of some type. We all got sick just being near the place.
We got a picture of it. The drums were right behind me as I snapped this pic, then some FSS goon grabbed me and told me to beat it. Here is the one pic I got. I'm parked in the scenic area. What you can't see is a huge backhoe dredging something out of the bayou that they are packing away in big cans, All the workman were wearing chem suits.
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Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

I took this one just as an example of the power of these things. Note the concrete block footing of this sign, pushed over like a kids toy.
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Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-27-2006, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Workin' in Loozie Anna

Another picture from the "Deadzone". It went on for miles like this, with burned out house foundations along the way. The picture does not do the actual scene justice. The air was choked with acrid smoke and carcass smell.
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Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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