Fix the pumps

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mmmm, Powerpointy!

In my continuing effort to get as much information to the public as possible, I've uploaded a few PowerPoint presentations. To see them, you may need the free PowerPoint Viewer, which is available here.

My September 6 presentation. Keep in mind that the stuff about the roofs, while it was true on the 6th, is now out of date.

The other presentation given by my neighbor Joe Thompson on April 27th. This was given the same day as this article about the previous day's motor fires appeared above the fold on page 1 of the Times Picayune. Four days later the Orleans Parish pump stations PIR was approved. Five days later, the Corps issued the solicitation for rewinding of motors in six S&WB pump stations. Seven days later, the Cooperative Agreeements for Corps work in the stations were signed. On May 12, the contracts for rewinding were awarded.

A March 15 presentation given by Corps of Engineers pumping project manager Jim St. Germain to the S&WB at the regular Board meeting. Only the last two slides deal with pumps; the rest talks about levees. I find that curious considering the audience. This presentation was noted in the Times-Picayune the next day. This article included the first public admission that certain areas - including my neighborhood of Broadmoor - would flood when the gates closed. It also was the first public indication of what was going on with the pumping system, an aspect of the post-Katrina recovery that had been all but ignored by that point. I believe that article is one of the most important published by the T-P all year. The following Monday, March 20, I started my research and by Thursday was emailing the national media with findings of serious shortcomings in the floodgates.

Finally, last night I gave a brief presentation to my neighborhood group, the Broadmoor Improvement Association, to update the neighborhood on flood mitigation news. That's another hat I wear besides the drainage advocacy stuff. I wrote a goodly chunk of the flood mitigation portion of Broadmoor's redevelopment plan, which was unveiled in August and is already attracting private funding. Broadmoor has many concerns and proposals dealing with long term flood mitigation , and some of the proposals have already been enacted. I mentioned two of them - expansion of Broadmoor's National Register Historic District, and the city codification of the FEMA mitigation exception for historic properties - at last night's meeting.

I also mentioned the University of New Orleans (UNO) flood mitigation study that is proceeding within Broadmoor. Please bear with me as I go off the drainage advocacy ranch a bit here for the sake of my neighbors.

UNO, through their Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology (CHART) is conducting a FEMA-funded "area study" of flood mitigation in Broadmoor. It is part of CHART's work in characterizing and mitigating the repetitive loss problem in the greater New Orleans area. They have a rep loss website.

The Broadmoor is the only such study proceeding - or planned for that matter - in all of Orleans Parish right now. The study looks at a small subsection of the neighborhood (in our case, the area bounded by Napoleon Ave., S. Miro St., Upperline St., and S. Johnson St.) and examines in detail the flooding and rainfall history since 1978 (the first year of comprehensive flood claims data) of every property, including taking elevation surveys. The researchers also look at each home's history as far as mitigation measures the owners may have taken since 1978. They do this through mailed data sheets, which homeowners fill out. They crunch the numbers and then come up with conclusions for what mitigation measures best suit the neighborhood as a whole. This is a novel way of looking at things for FEMA, which usually considers flood mitigation on a house-by-house basis, without looking at underlying causes for flooding. For Broadmoor to be chosen for such a study is a big deal.

In addition, we hope that the study will show the effectiveness of the local SELA project installed four years ago, someting I talked about here a couple of days ago. The study is due to be released in draft form hopefully sometime in November. If you are a Broadmoor resident that lives in the study area, and you have not filled out your data sheet, please contact me at the email address listed on my profile to the immediate right of this post. I have extra sheets. It is very important that UNO get as many responses as possible. To see if your home is in the study, you can check your address against this list.

To get a feel for what the study will look like, here is a draft of another UNO area study. It was done for the Maplewood subdivision on the west bank of Jefferson Parish, and I think it's pretty cool. Of course, I'm kind of a nerd about flood mitigation stuff.


  • Matt, you mention the National Register Historic District. What are the rules regarding maintenance of status as a "contributing" house, in terms of making an addition, raising a house, or building up under the roofline?

    I realize this is a drainage blog, but since you put on your flood mitigation hat, it's a fair topic for discussion. I'm especially concerned about renovation construction done without an architect versant with our specific historic designation. As we fought for more inclusion in our district, at what point does exclusion of an area - a small one, say, a block or two - begin to apply? I'd hate to see a small-time investor "mole" (in the reality tv show way) the neighborhood's hard work.

    By Anonymous startrekchess, at September 20, 2006 5:33 AM  

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