New Orleans Now (part two)
Part 2 of a nine part series on New Orleans. This is the of the story of Chalmette. A town you probably never heard of but was 99% flooded by Katrina. It was edited by Travis Campbell.
Chalmette was the location of what is often called The Battle of New Orleans where United States forces under General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in 1815.
Chalmette’s levees were breached by Hurricane Katrina, and about 99% of Chalmette was under water, over 20 feet deep at times, for a period of over 2 weeks, followed by an oil spill. On 29 August 2005 the enormous storm surge pushed by Hurricane Katrina up the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a little-used commercial channel dug by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1960s, inundated the entire town up to 30 feet in some places. As a result, in a matter of hours, Chalmette was almost entirely destroyed.
The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal (also known as MRGO, MR-GO or “Mr. Go”) is a 66 mile (106 km) channel that provides a shorter route between the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans’ inner harbor.
According to a congressional hearing statement by Scott Faber of the Environmental Defense Fund, “Traffic on the MRGO has fallen by more than 50 percent since 1986. Today, less than one oceangoing vessel per day, on average, uses this man-made short cut, which costs approximately $13 million annually to maintain. Like many waterways constructed by the Corps, the MRGO has failed to attract as much traffic as the Corps predicted when the project was constructed. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, environmentalists and others, including voters in St. Bernard Parish whom the canal was intended to help, called for its closure.
Criticism intensified following the hurricane, when engineers implicated MR-GO in the failure of levees and flood-walls protecting New Orleans.
The Army Corps of Engineers disputes this causality and maintains Katrina would have overwhelmed the levees with or without the contributing effect of MR-GO