gwynhefar: (Hurricane Warning)
Please keep the folks of South Louisiana in your thoughts as Isaac pounds New Orleans on this the 7th anniversary of Katrina.
gwynhefar: (Hurricane Warning)
Dear Bonnie -

I really do hate to be rude, but you've caught us at a bad time. It was very nice of you to think of us, but I'm afraid we're really not up to a visit right now. And no offense, but the last time we had some of your siblings over they really trashed the place. I know you appear to be much more mild-mannered, but really, we're still recovering from BP's disastrous visit, and while I know that's not *your* fault, it does make us not really disposed toward company at this time. I don't suppose you could be a good lass and bugger off?

gwynhefar: (Default)
So now that we've established that the blame should be placed where it belongs - solely on BP's shoulders - let's take a look at some facts.

Despite BP's initial estimate of 5000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day, experts in the field are estimating that the true flow is closer to 70,000 barrels (2,940,000 gallons) per day. (1).

The oil *has* hit the Louisiana shore in numerous places, including several wildlife refuges. A total of 65 miles of coastline has been oiled. The oil has penetrated up to twelve miles into the marsh in some areas of the Louisiana coast, and two major brown pelican rookeries have been completely covered. The brown pelican was taken off the endangered species list only 6 months ago (2).

Once in the marsh, the oil *cannot* be removed. The typical techniques for washing oil off of shorelines (high pressure water hose and oil rakes) would only break up and destroy the fragile marshes. Bringing in equipment or even just walking around on the marsh will only drive the oil deeper into the soil and compress the marsh, causing flooding. Once the oil hits the marsh, the *only* thing that can be done is to let it degrade naturally. Which will, of course, take years. (3).

Finally, June 1st starts hurricane season. A storm surge from a major hurricane could push the oil even further inland and rip apart already fragile, oil-soaked wetlands. Not a good combination. (4).
gwynhefar: (Hurricane Warning)
Oh, great! So we can devastating flooding and wind damage as well as more toxic gunk on our shores. Lovely. Frankly, this terrifies the hell out of me.

Trouble On Horizon If Hurricanes Hit Oil Spill In Gulf
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
So the first picture shows the location of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. The second picture shows NOAA's 24-hour projection for the oil spill, with the red showing where the oil will make landfall. Notice anything?

Oil Spill

May. 20th, 2010 11:08 am
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
This really really not good folks.

gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
The new estimate for oil pouring into the Gulf is 210,000 gallons per day. The entire seafood production industry in the eastern part of the Louisiana Coast is shut down, as is much of it on the Mississippi and Alabama coasts as well. These are areas where a significant portion of the economy is based on seafood and tourism (another area that is suffering major losses - who wants to go on vacation to see an oil spill). The current law caps BP's liability at 75 million - nowhere near enough to compensate for the losses caused by the spill. And Sarah Palin is still saying "drill, baby, drill."

I mean, I know Louisiana hasn't always been the best behaved state in the country. But really, whatever higher powers are out there, you can stop dumping on us now. Please?
gwynhefar: (Default)

It is a good day to be a Louisianan :)

Not bad for our first SuperBowl *g*
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
Today I am watching the SuperBowl.

I know, you're shocked. I have never watched the SuperBowl before. I *hate* football. I am the anti-jock mumbling about overgrown children who think slamming each other into the ground in the name of "sport" is fun.

But this is the Saints. This is New Orleans. And as much as I might complain, I love my adopted state. And we need this. It's been a rough couple of years for Louisiana. Louisiana was one of the poorest states in the country *before* the economic crash. And with Katrina, and Rita, and Gustav, all of which caused not only physical and emotional devastation but serious economic losses as well, we were hardly in a position to weather the smallest of economic storms. Which this hasn't been.

We are your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. The homeless, the tempest-tossed. Yes, I'm being dramatic, but it's true. Louisiana has the second highest percentage of residents below poverty level in the US. Only Mississippi is poorer.

And football is next to religion down here. So when the Saints made the SuperBowl there were parties in the streets. The French Quarter looked like Mardi Gras had come early, I'm told. This is important. This is not about a bunch of men fighting over a little ball. This is about standing up and saying "This is my city. This is my state."

So today I am wearing black and gold (ok, fine it's a black LSU t-shirt with a light brown overshirt that could maybe be gold if you squint, but it's all I have). Today the Saints are playing in the SuperBowl for the first time. And today I am watching the SuperBowl for the first time. Because right now, for better or worse, this is my state.

What the ?

Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:36 pm
gwynhefar: (WTF)
Lane Keep Right Law?!

Ok, first there's a new law that I've never heard of. And it's a stupid law -- what's the point of having multi-lane highways if you can only drive in one lane? And then they're issuing tickets that it's impossible to pay.

Only in Louisiana.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Well, front page news this morning is that there are 7 confirmed cases of H1N1/swine flu in Louisiana with 16 more suspected, with 5 of the confirmed cases being the school children in Lafayette that people were talking about last week. They've been closing a bunch of schools, both the ones the infected students go to and in some cases, other schools that have siblings of the infected students. So far all the confirmed cases are responding well to treatment. So I guess we'll see.

Oh great.

Apr. 30th, 2009 08:52 am
gwynhefar: (Default)
A private school in Lafayette, Louisiana, 60 miles west of me, has closed down temporarily after 5 students, including one who recently returned from a vacation in Mexico, came down with severe flu symptoms. They're keeping the school closed until tests can be run to determine if it's regular flu or swine flu. Of course, it's *probably* just regular flu, but you never know. And of course the local media is whipping folks into a panic.
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
In Louisiana, those territorial divisions within a state that are usually called "counties" are instead called "parishes". For example, I live in East Baton Rouge Parish. The metropolitan area of New Orleans is actually split between two parishes -- Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish.

As I read all these books written about Katrina, specifically the ones written by non-Louisianans, I keep coming across references to such-and-such *county* in Louisiana. Now I'm not sure if the people writing the books really *don't* know that counties are called parishes in Louisiana (in which case they clearly didn't do their research) or if they know, but figure the term would be confusing for anyone outside Louisiana and thus choose to replace it with the more universally understood "county".

If the latter, I can understand the motivations, but it doesn't change the fact that it's just plain *wrong*. There is no such place as "Jefferson County" in Louisiana. And really, how difficult is it to explain? A simple parenthetical note would work, i.e. "Officials in Jefferson Parish ('parish' is the local term for a county) said Monday . . ."

That wasn't so hard, now was it? Because otherwise people are going to read these books, thinking the authors know what they're talking about, and then they're going to come down to Louisiana and talk about this or that county and we're all going to laugh at them. Or worse, someone who *does* know about the parishes is going to read the book and assume the author *doesn't* know what he or she is talking about and dismiss what might otherwise be a good book.
gwynhefar: (New Orleans)
So I'm reading this memoir written by one of the French Quarter holdouts during Katrina, and he's talking about how he and some of his friends dubbed themselves the Krewe of Nagin after hearing the mayor's tirade on the radio. He immediately explains in the next sentence that they were making reference to the groups that put on the Mardi Gras parades, who call themselves 'krewes' and in the back of my head I'm going "Thank you, Captain Obvious" when it hits me that he's writing this book for people who don't live in Louisiana and *of course* he has to explain "krewe" because they won't know what it means and three years ago *I* didn't know what it means and holy crap I've gone Native.
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
Ok, with the final numbers in, my parish (what Louisiana calls a county) did in fact go for Obama (51%-48%) not for McCain like they were reporting last night. This makes me feel much better, ironically -- it certainly didn't make a difference in the whole state, but it's nice to know that I didn't really misjudge my city (although it was still closer than I expected).

Louisiana has 64 parishes. Of those, only 10 went for Obama:

Caddo (where Shreveport is located)
East Baton Rouge (where Baton Rouge, the capital, is located, and where I live)
East Carroll
Orleans (where New Orleans is located)
St. Helena
St. James
St. John the Baptist

Hurrah for the little islands of blue in the sea of red.
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
It's interesting the things you learn about your state on election day :) Apparently there's a saying that if it rains in New Orleans, Louisiana will go Republican; if it's clear in New Orleans, Louisiana will go Democratic. This is one of those superstitions that actually makes sense -- New Orleans is, and always has been, the Democratic stronghold of the state, and prior to Katrina, it was the state's largest city. Clear weather means more voter turnout - not many are dedicated enough to stand in the rain to vote - and greater voter turnout in New Orleans means a flood of Democratic votes for the state. Of course, post-Katrina this saying may not hold weight any more. The population of New Orleans has gone from almost 455,000 pre-Katrina to 273,000 at latest (2007) count. That's a 40% decrease, a loss that the Democrats can't afford to lose in this state. Of course, not all of them have left the state. Still, state-wide the pre-Katrina population was 4.5 million, and as of 2006 it was estimated at 4.3 million, a loss of 200,000 people, the vast majority coming from the southern parishes, and thus mostly Democratic. In a state that, in the last four elections, has swung evenly between Democrat and Republican, that's a significant enough loss to change the balance of power.

Today is sunny throughout the state. We'll just have to wait and see if New Orleans still has enough oomph to swing the state.

The other amusing thing I overheard was one of my coworkers taking a map of Louisiana and continuing the straight line of the Louisiana/Mississippi border north of New Orleans in a line west across the state. Everything below the line is Louisiana, he said. Everything above the line is South Arkansas. Sounds about right to me :)

I voted!

Nov. 4th, 2008 09:01 am
gwynhefar: (Louisiana)
The polls opened at 6am but I (non-morning person that I am) got there around 7am. The line was only about an hour long, which was better than I was fearing. Now I just get to bite my fingernails until the results are in. I still hold out a flicker of hope that the whole Katrina mess will have Louisianans dissatisfied enough with the Bush administration to vote Democratic, but I won't hold my breath. Pity 2005 wasn't an election year, or even 2006. Three years later the outrage, while not gone entirely, has mellowed. And of course the population of New Orleans, traditionally the liberal headquarters of the state, is vastly diminished. South Louisiana in general (far more liberal in nature than North Louisiana, ironically) has taken quite a beating these past few years, among Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike, and has seen a significant population exodus. We just don't have the numbers anymore to compete with the conservative North. *sigh*

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Edit: Oh, and for those keeping track of such things I was ballot #93 at my voting place. I arrived around 7am and actually got to the booth around 7:45am
gwynhefar: (louisiana 1927)
Well, there are more trees down after Ike, and even more debris piled up. But at least it doesn't look like there are any new power outages. It is very strange, however, driving through *my* city and seeing all the FEMA-blue rooftops I have always associated with New Orleans after Katrina. Please, whatever gods may be listening, no more hurricanes this season? I can't take anymore.


Sep. 9th, 2008 10:41 am
gwynhefar: (Hurricane Warning)
Looks like Ike is going to hit Texas, not Louisiana. Sorry, Texas, but at least it isn't us again! Don't think I could handle another hurricane right after Gustav.


gwynhefar: (Default)

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