By ALAN SMASON
Wednesday morning and early afternoon proved to be a most unsettling day as a more than seven-inch deluge of rain fell on the metropolitan area within a three-hour period. The widespread flooding that resulted tested the patience of workers intent on arriving on time to work and parents hoping to drop their kids off at summer day camps in a timely fashion.
As it turns out, in most cases, neither made it.
The flash flooding that resulted created lakes at the bottoms of expressway exits and underpasses quickly filled will water, effectively cutting off thoroughfares. Traffic across the metroplex was at a standstill as it took hours for the pumps to catch up with the volume of water dumped on the city.
We’ve seen this before, unfortunately, and are all too wary with what happens when the antiquated pumping systems in New Orleans and throughout the incorporated areas of Jefferson Parish are taxed. Both waters and tempers rise.
In a way, it was preparation for what could come later today and tomorrow as the remainder of this system is now organized into Tropical Storm and, perhaps eventually, Hurricane Barry.
This is something with which we’re well acquainted in Southeast Louisiana and, while it is unnerving to deal with the unknown and not feel entirely safe, we know that the probability that we will emerge on the other side of the storm virtually unscathed is a lot higher than outsiders might believe. As long as we approach the storm with respect and don’t tempt fate, we will probably be fine. We may have some heavy winds. We may deal with water intrusion into our homes or cars, but we should be safe as long as we follow the rules laid out by authorities and hunker down in our homes as the storm passes.
In the North, they have blizzards. In California, they have earthquakes. In the Midwest, they have tornado alley. Here in New Orleans we occasionally have to deal with tropical storms and hurricanes. But other than those infrequent times when we are bailing water or dealing with cabin fever, we know in our hearts that it really doesn’t matter.
After all, unlike those in the North, California or the Midwest, we get to live in New Orleans the rest of the time.
And for us that is a blessing, not a curse.