am not from New Orleans
...but I slept there in a Holiday Inn Express...
I took the Intracoastal
Waterway from Texas to New Orleans and was some what
nervous when approaching the Atchafalaya (pronounced
Chafalaya by the locals). Not knowing the flood status
and noticing the 160' depths of the river, produced
some anxiety. It was not flowing in May and I knew
little about the Mississippi.
When I approached the Mississippi I picked the Harvey
Canal because it was upstream from the left turn into
the canal into Lake Pontchartrain. The chart indicated
a possible 6 mph down stream current. If I missed
the turn I possibly could not get back upstream and
I figured the next left was the Gulf of Mexico!
Big locks are really interesting. When I got to the
Harvey Lock, I was the only boat and did not know
if the level of the water was going up or down? The
lock operator told be that we would be going down
about 14'. Wow! Point of info: When you are in a lock
DO NOT tie off to a cleat, just run the line through
or around the cleat and hold or cleat the free end
to your own boat. BECAUSE, the cleat will be 8' above
your head when you need to cast off.
Then the lock opens just in front of me and we are
looking at a 14' waterfall directly in front of me.
I could at that moment see my little boat going over
the 14' waterfall into the Mississippi. What an inglorious
presentation. Would it be a breach? But, the lock
equalized very quickly without any turbulence or current
The River seems very large in a little boat that
has not been in a body of water larger than a canal
for many miles, often with "impenetrable"
dark swamps with solid 100'+ Cypress trees on both
sides full of alligators and 200 lb 6' long gars in
the brown (tannic acid) murky water.
I made the turn into the next canal alright and waited
with a number of large "tows" to get into
the lock. I have found that tugboat captains are really
fine people. They were always nice, helpful and generous.
Just stay out of their way if possible. They gave
my 4 year old boy a tour of the boat, a gallon of
milk and a package of Ships Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I never thought until this moment just how "appropriate"
We spent the next several days at the Levy Authority
Marina with the best fresh seafood walk up at Fitzgerald's
within a short walking distance. Air conditioned busses
to anywhere for 50 cents. A Grey Line bus tour with
a driver that knew more about the Levies, pump system
capacity and the obvious weaknesses of the system
and what was going to happen one day than I have heard
from anyone else since.
We then sailed to Pass Christian where we found nothing
but surly people among the concrete foundations without
buildings on them. We quickly got the hell out of
there. We had arrived there 9 months after Camille
(259 killed, 190 mph wind, Cat. 5 Hurricane) paid
its visit.. Gulfport was damaged but the people were
not as surly on the whole. If that storm had gone
in 80-100 miles more to the South East? Then New Orleans
would only be mentioned in the past tense and Katrina
would not have done as much damage.
Building back New Orleans, as it was, and that
is what we are doing, is a billion dollar folly and
will ultimately kill many ignorant people.
And then we went on to the Bahamas.
John in Bastrop
RIDING - 25' 3" V-Bottom
Cruising Knockabout. It needed just a little
cosmetic work when I bought it from a bank I
paid $1,200. I think it weighed about 6,000
lbs. empty. Many fond memories until its demise
in Hurricane Celia. I put it in a secure place
based on what I was hearing about the likely
landfall but, they and I were wrong by 10 or
Plans are available from Atkin