In Louisiana, Corps closes last bays at Bonnet Carre Spillway
The corps began releasing water through the spillway after heavy rains last month.
June 20th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

In Louisiana, Corps closes last bays at Bonnet Carre Spillway

The Army Corps of Engineers on Monday closed the last floodgates on Louisiana's Bonnet Carre Spillway, which was opened May 9 to prevent the Mississippi River from flooding New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

"The water's down to an acceptable level," Corps spokeswoman Rachel Rodi told CNN Monday. The threshold for water diversion is 15 and rising, according to computer models, she said.

"Today we're at 13.9 feet on the Carrollton Gauge. That's still elevated for this time of year but the long-term forecasts say that we should be OK," she said. The Carrollton Gauge is at New Orleans.

The corps began releasing water through the spillway after heavy rains last month, ultimately opening 330 of the 350 bays to divert water from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain, Rodi said.

Upriver, another spillway, the Morganza, was opened to protect Baton Rouge, the state's capital. The move sent excess water gushing through the Atchafalaya River Basin, a less populated area of south-central Louisiana. The Corps began closing bays at the Morganza Spillway three weeks ago.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated in St. Landry and St. Martin parishes because of that spillway's opening.

On Monday, Jessie Bellard, director of administration for St. Landry Parish, said the area came out relatively unscathed.

"Everybody from our parish is back. We had some camps that were affected. We had to shut down some boat launches, but for the most part everybody's back and we're OK," Bellard told CNN.

Rodi said the next steps for the Corps of Engineers will be spillway maintenance.

"We're going to inspect the structure, make sure it is sound. Also, we'll be opening it up to the public. A lot of people want to go fishing, crawfishing, you know, the normal day-to-day things."

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Filed under: Louisiana • Weather
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. shawn

    OK all you haters and anti-government types...these guys just beat mother nature this time around with technology and hard about some credit rather then whining about the small towns and far fields destroyed on purpose to help save the bigger picture.

    June 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I'm sure you would have a different story if you were one of the people living in the small towns or had farm land that was flooded to "save the bigger picture."

      June 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ferglpa

      Saved a useless piece of crap by destroying useful productive real estate.
      Yup, I hate that.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • nick

      Jim, you suck... What alternative would you have suggested? I bet if the ACE didn't open the flood gates YOU would be on here moaning about that instead. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Right, Jimmy? Go cry in your milk.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Well Nicky, it sure sounds like you have some repressed anger lurking within you from some unknown origin. It's also indicative of your low intelligence that you would go immediately to character assasination in reply to my post instead of offereing a well reasoned argument. The founding fathers were right to fear uneducated citizens. I simply pointed out that Shawn might have a different opinion if he owned land or lived in the places that were flooded to save other places. The Army Corps of Engineers did what they thought was prudent. Shawn was commenting about the "whiniing" of people living in the affected area. I didn't say the decision was right or wrong, simply that Shawn might have a different opinion if he were living in the affected area. Now, I'll wait for you to look up the meanings of the big words and wait for your low-brow response.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • billhensen

      If any of you ever worked with the ACE you would know better. Political organization with no citizens best interests at heart unless politically motivated. Yea, lets flood hard working familites out while perserving that democratic black vote in NO....

      June 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amos36

      What is the bigger picture? Where do you think the majority of the food you eat comes from? Probably the small little towns and fields that are being destroyed at this moment. Maybe when and if you ever have to go through a crisis that could have been avoided, you will be a bit more understanding. I am not anti-government. I love the country I live in. I am not happy with the incompetence and disregard that the Midwest has been given by the army Corp of engineers.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmedley

      Amos36: no, the majority of food in this country does not come from small farms.

      You haters just don't get it. You're basically trying to say that you'd rather put the interests of 3000 people over 1.5M people in BR and NO? Glad you're not in charge of anything substantial...

      June 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Anybody that would build a city 5 feet below sea level in a hurricane zone and fill it with Democrats is a damn genius"

      June 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcel

      Shawn makes perfect sense. The need of the many outweighs the need of the few. People living in the spillway area had done so knowing what might happen. If you buy cheap land in a flood plane – perhaps that's the reason why it's cheap? You can be lucky for decades but you might run out of luck. People also had plenty of warning to move their valuable out and suspect they will be compensated.

      June 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whatever

      Were all are going to be starving soon enough anyhow if things doesn't change. Just wait until some time next fall, food prices will slowly creep up until then and probably spike around late August, September or early October. There has already been some shortages and price increases, any fool can see it at the Grocery Store.

      June 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmedley

      Maybe food prices will spike maybe they won't. But hey, 30% of this country is overweight so if prices do rise maybe it will be a blessing in disguise...

      June 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eric

    Good luck with that Shawn.. haters enjoy hating and complaining about things they do not understand

    June 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patriot in MI

    Army Engineers:

    Thank you for your intelligence, hard work, and service to the country! You rock!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amos36

      Are you congratulating the same engineers that failed to release water three months ago? The Midwest is flooding (even though there is not much coverage to make people aware). Homes and farmland are being destroyed throughout. This is all due to the incompetence of the army Corp of engineers. I for one have little faith in them.

      June 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      Too bad they didn't call in Amos36, the real expert

      June 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thor

    ...and I didn't even have to pick up my hammer on this. Good job to the humans!

    June 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moose Knuckle

    They should have let N.O. flood, and then flushed that disgusting toilet again.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • x-ray

      you are so right, it needs to be flushed again.

      June 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • teamroper


      June 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dicky

    I-B-M discriminates against older workers.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Desert Red

    The fact that the people who are in charge of managing the Mississippi River have the option of using spillways is the end result of an incredibly complex history of (mis-)management of this unique resource. It's a fascinating story that's still ongoing. Read "Rising Tide" by John Barry. You'll be amazed that any of it works, and probably doubtful that it will continue to do so. With the exception of the relatively few residences that were affected, the country dodged a bullet on this one (and yes, I recognize that none of this is "relative" to those directly affected). Whether it can continue to do so is–even after nearly 200 years of river "control"– quite unpredictable.

    June 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Red

    I like how he puts crawfishing as a "normal day-to-day thing".

    June 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. moose

    Seem like the government doesnt want fingers pointed at them again for not preventing something against one specific city, or demographic. They figure the farmers can't cry as much as the few hundred thousand people in New Orleans so just drown them out - literally - as save face in the media for a repeat of past events.

    June 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    "Anybody that would build a city 5 feet below sea level in a hurricane zone and fill it with Democrats is a damn genius""

    Why didn't they make the same decision when they built Washington DC?

    June 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another Jim

      We didn't own it yet. DC was the lowest we could find....

      June 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amos36

    Schmedley... I am not a hater nor am I saying that new Orleans should have been flooded. I am happy they were spared. They endured massive heartache and despair a couple years ago. M... I am not saying I am an expert either. I am just stating what is known. The ace, according to many government officials, did not release the water from the missouri river when they should have. Due to this many people in the Midwest are losing their homes and having to uproot their families...I am one of them with four children. When you are faced with having to pack up all of you belongings and the stress of leaving your home ( not knowing if you will have one to come back to), then come talk to me about the wonderful decisions the ace made. I am not in a flood plain, and was not able to purchase flood insurance until June 1. Ironically, any flood insurance bought from June 1 and on is not effective. Do you think the Corp will be helping me ?

    June 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |

    Government worked!!

    June 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chas

    Why is Morganza still open?

    June 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thebayoukid

    Ok so it's apparent the vast majority of the people posting here don't even live in louisiana..... #1 it was a bad situation all the way around, i have family that lived in krotz springs, morganza, and ville platte. THERE WAS LITERALLY NO OTHER CHOICE. I currently live in Baton Rouge and we almost were flooded out. If your not from here and aren't affected shut your mouths because not only were the rural parishes hurt but so were the city parishes (news flash the state lost a butt load of revenue and it would have been worse if they didn't open the gates).

    June 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amos36

    Shmedley... The last time I checked Missouri, Iowa, south Dakota, north Dakota, Montana, and nebraska have more than a population of 3 thousand. Maybe you need to research a bit to find out what is going on In your country (assuming you live in the usa) before you are so quick to judge who should and shouldn't be spared.

    June 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Schmedley

      Read the article dude. The spillways that are being discussed are not in MO, IA, SD, ND, MT or NB. Maybe you'd better work on your reading comprehension.

      June 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
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