St. Bernard Parish Holds Alternative #Katrina10 Events
St. Bernard Parish officials want to raise awareness of how the parish was affected by Hurricane Katrina ten years ago. The parish is holding its own Katrina 10 events this week, featuring art displays, public banners indicating the level of water the area took, parish first response offices, and visits to Army Corps of Engineers flood protection projects.
On Wednesday, former parish councilman and organizer of the St. Bernard Katrina 10 events, Mike Bayham, led a bus tour of the surge barrier at the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in New Orleans East and the Caernarvon flood gates along the river and LA Highway 46, near Poydras.
Bayham says he wants to raise awareness about how prepared the region is now. “We wanted to diversify our commemoration events, not just parties and lectures — we wanted to show people, ’Hey, this is the concrete and the steel and the earth.’ And this is the stuff that doesn’t get the attention,” says Bayham. “It’s cold, it’s materials, but it’s stuff that at the end of the day matters and helps protect our community and our people.”
Bayham was joined by Lake Borgne Basin Levee District Director Nick Cali, who worked with the Corps during the construction of flood prevention projects throughout the parish over the past decade. About 20 people attended the tour, most of them parish employees. Many had never seen the structures, and said that seeing the surge barriers and t-walls made them feel safer.
More than $14 billion has been spent upgrading the region’s flood defenses since Katrina, and Bayham and fellow St. Bernard Katrina 10 organizers say it is important for locals to understand these major infrastructure projects. They say that will make people feel safer and will strengthen the community.
Cali believes the public needs a better understanding of risk reduction infrastructure and encourages people to visit the structures. He wants community members to feel safe, but also to act as advocates for the work that the Corps has done.
Bayham stresses that in his opinion, St. Bernard represents solutions to a fragile infrastructure
The schedule for the St. Bernard Katrina 10 events can be found at www.facebook.com/StBernardKatrina10