Will Louisiana endure yet another astonishing and enormous disaster? I sure hope not but the signs are that it may. This is the third strike even if you don’t count the recent extremist politics of the south which are particularly unsuited for Louisiana’s peculiar geography. A place that is in danger of physically falling apart and dropping into the ocean, you’d think, would have more enthusiasm for government.
Anyway, enough time for a postmortem if/when the Mississippi dies (long live the Atchafalaya)! I’ve seen several consistent versions of the story; as usual I am willing to take Jeff Masters as definitive.
There’s apparently a whole lot of industrial infrastructure between Baton Rouge and the Gulf that relies on a whole lot of water coming by. If the Big River reroutes itself above Baton Rouge, it will totally destroy the communities it rolls over and damage a lot of petroleum infrastructure. Masters points out that it will have a huge impact on the areas that lose access to the flow as well.
Louisiana was not a wealthy place before Katrina, not to mention not historically well-governed, and of course the present economic turmoil helps nobody. It’s a bit mind-boggling to imagine the worst case scenario for the next few months. I hope it doesn’t happen, but it might.