Biking & Walking & River Watching

Algiers Levee

Algiers Levee

Last week I took a little walk along the newly paved bike and pedestrian path on the levee in Algiers.  I’ll be honest, this is something I doubted would happen in my lifetime, yet here it is! The newly constructed path runs from the Algiers/Canal Street ferry landing up to just down river of Federal City, a two-mile stretch. It’s connected to the path that already existed from the ferry to Huey P. Long Ave in Gretna. The new section is lit by solar lights for evening strolling and biking and won’t that just be a gorgeous sight with the lights from the city in the background? Benches will be added along the path in the coming weeks creating great river- watching and breath-catching spots.

The next phase of the path, from Federal City to the Chalmette ferry landing, will be added when money for the project is raised. I can’t wait for that since I live a block off the river within that span of the levee which will make it a hop, skip and jump for my dogs and me to access the path. This development along the river has long been anticipated in Algiers and I’m very happy to see it coming to fruition.

please help Louisianians in the path of the Morganza floodwaters

On WWL-TV at noon today, the New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association is organizing a fund to help the victims of the flooding from the opening of the Morganza Spillway. In conjunction with the American Red Cross, donations can be made in person at any local First NBC bank: the account accepting funds is named the Morganza Relief Fund and will remain open until June 17, 2011. Please consider helping our fellow Louisianians suffering through this catastrophe, and remember their sacrifices so metropolitan New Orleans and Baton Rouge could be spared.

NOLA Noteworthy

Good morning, NOLA!

Here for your pleasure is another random (as in whenever I get around to it) post of links that impressed me from the NOLA blogosphere as well as articles of interest that are not local but are NOLA-related. Without further ado, you must click over to:

  • Karen Beninato wrote her review of episode 13 of HBO’s Treme, “On Your Way Down”. I’ve mentioned Karen’s reviews here before because I like her style of writing clearly and knowledgeably, as a local,  but without getting mired down in minutia. This episode drew upon the explosion of violence we experienced in the city in 2006 – a situation that was especially heart-wrenching to those of us who experienced the spirit soothing balm of a violence-free few months in the wake of the storm. Probably the only positive, however short-lived, that came out of the devastation. This episode depicted the robbery and rape of our feisty and strong LaDonna and I particularly like how Karen took the opportunity to educate her readers on  rape statistics in New Orleans and to recent political attempts to “reclassify rape victims as “rape accusers,” and  “efforts to split sexual assaults into two different terms, rape and “forcible rape”. Great job, Karen!
  • The rising of the river and threat of flooding was, and continues to be, a concern for New Orleanians and Southeast Louisiana residents. Several local bloggers and photographers have posted pictures of the rising water. Kate over at What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today blog posted what is a stunning photo of the engorged river from the Holy Cross community with the cityscape in the background. The tranquility of the scene belies the seriousness of the situation but, sweet baby Jesus, you cannot help but admire the beauty of it. Arthur over at Calliope Street blog has been watching people watching the river and posted several photos taken from the French Quarter area and Liprap posted a slide show of river photos that look like they were taken at The Fly.
  • Harry Shearer was on Real Time With Bill Mahr Friday night. I have to confess this was the first time I’d ever watched the show and I tuned in strictly to see Harry. I’m glad I did because I think I like Bill and his show but I know I love Harry who has worked his butt off trying to educate people about the great levee failure of 2005 and exactly who is responsible. He talked a bit about his film, The Big Uneasy, but didn’t get nearly the amount of time to expand on it that I would have liked. Not only did I like this episode because of Harry but also because of Bill’s commentary about Bin Laden’s death, Christians and the teachings of Jesus at the end of the show. Y’all must watch. But not if you’re an easily offended person who thinks you’re a Christian. Just sayin.
  • Dambala at American Zombie went to court Friday for a well-earned day of entertainment compliments of the Mark St. Pierre trial and, in turn, entertains us with a blow-by-blow. Eat your heart out, MSM.
  • If you’re into the local literary scene or just like to know who the hot poets and writers are and who are signing their books around town, check out Mark Folse’s weekly lit post, Odd Words, every Thursday.
  • Aura Fedora’s latest podcast on Backstage On The Bayou is an interview with NOLA’s own hip-hop artist, Truth Universal. Don’t miss it.

Well, it’s past midnight and I’m ready to visit la-la land so off I go. Remember, you can catch many of these stories, and more, weekly via NOLAFemmes on Twitter. Or, you can wait for the random post here. Until next time….

Praying the Mississippi River spares us

The Mississippi River is swelling southward – powers that be are even contemplating opening the Morganza Spillway, first time since 1973.

Here’s hoping that the river spares us and the levees hold up in southeast Louisiana. We don’t need a 3rd catastrophe to happen…

(Picture recently taken at Tom Lee riverside park in Memphis, Tennessee, photographer unknown)

(Memphis, Tennessee)

Only In New Orleans

Sunday I went to The French Quarter Fest. I only had a few hours to spend and had decided I would use them to see Susan Cowsill, whom I had never heard sing live. It turned out to be a fantastic decision because I (and everyone there) experienced one of those magical New Orleans moments that come along sometimes when you least expect it. Susan was singing “River of Love”, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing cool off the river and then…..two fire boats began twirling in circles, spraying water up to the blue sky. Sweet.

We criticized you
We recognized you
I memorized you
And I eulogized you
I loved you more than you’ll ever know
Man I hated to see you go

I’ll be waiting by the River of Love


Karen Dalton-Beninato has written a beautiful in-depth post about Susan’s set with some background comments about Susan’s brother, Barry, who was found in the river after the levee breach and Hurricane Katrina.  Read it here.

Environment America’s Report Includes Statistics On Toxic Discharge in Mississippi River

For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2010

Contact: Heather Emmert, Gulf States Field Organizer, Environment America

504-525-1528 x 200

Over 230 Million Pounds of Toxics Discharged into American Waterways

Industrial facilities dumped 12,811,400 pounds of toxic chemicals into Louisiana’s waterways, according to a report released today by Environment America: Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act. The report also finds that toxic chemicals were discharged in 1,900 waterways across all 50 states.

“While nearly half of the rivers and lakes in the U.S. are considered too polluted for safe fishing or swimming, our report shows that polluters continue to use our waterways as dumping grounds for their toxic chemicals,” said Heather Emmert, Gulf States Field Organizer with Environment America.

The Environment America’s report** documents and analyzes the dangerous levels of pollutants discharged in to America’s waters by compiling toxic chemical releases reported to the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2007, the most recent data available.

Major findings of the report include:

* ExxonMobil released 4,211,142 pounds of toxic chemical waste into the Mississippi River in Louisiana. The ExxonMobil facility was the largest reported polluter of toxic chemicals in Louisiana in 2007.
* The Mississippi River is ranked third in the nation for the amount of toxic discharge with 12,717,205 pounds discharged in 2007.

· Industrial facilities discharged approximately 87,896 pounds of chemicals linked to cancer into Mississippi River

With facilities dumping so much pollution, no one should be surprised that nearly half of our waterways are unsafe for swimming and fishing. But we should be outraged.

Environment America’s report summarizes the discharge of cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that persist in the environment, and chemicals with the potential to cause reproductive problems ranging from birth defects to reduced fertility. Among the toxic chemicals discharged by facilities are lead, mercury, and dioxin. When dumped into waterways, these toxic chemicals contaminate drinking water and are absorbed by the fish that people eventually eat. Exposure to these chemicals is linked to cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive disorders. In 2007, manufacturing facilities discharged approximately 1.5 million pounds of cancer-causing chemicals into American waters.

“This report gives us yet another example of how the Clean Water Act is a dream deferred,” said Matt Rota, Water Resources Program Director for the Gulf Restoration Network. “From the pollution in Mississippi River to the Dead Zone in the Gulf, it is obvious that the EPA and Louisiana must step up and take decisive action to reduce the pollution that is permitted to flow into our waters every day.”

“There are common-sense steps that should be taken to turn the tide against toxic pollution of our waters,” added Heather. “We need clean water now, and we need the federal government to act to protect our health and our environment.”

In order to curb the toxic pollution threatening the Mississippi River and other waterways, Environment America recommends the following:

1. Pollution Prevention: Industrial facilities should reduce their toxic discharges in to waterways by switching from hazardous chemicals to safer alternatives.
2. Tough permitting and enforcement: EPA and state agencies should issue permits with tough, numeric limits for each type of toxic pollution discharged, ratchet down those limits over time, and enforce those limits with credible penalties, not just warning letters.
3. Protect all waters: The federal government should adopt policies to clarify that the Clean Water Act applies to all of our waterways. This includes the thousands of headwaters and small streams for which jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act has been called into question, as a result of recent court decisions.

In June 2009, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee passed a bill that would restore the Clean Water Act. Now it is up to the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee to take up a similar bill. Heather concluded, “We urge Congress and the President to listen to the public’s demands for clean water. They should act to protect all of our lakes, rivers and streams from toxic pollution.

Environment America is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization that works to protect clean air, clean water, and open spaces

Heather Emmert

Gulf States Field Organizer

Environment America

Office 504-525-1528 x200

Cell 817-312-0079

**I have the report in PDF format if anyone would like me to email it./Charlotte