Louisiana’s Disappearing Act

According to the U.S.G.S., the state of Louisiana lost just under 1,900 square miles of land between 1932 and 2000. This is the rough equivalent of the entire state of Delaware dropping into the Gulf of Mexico, and the disappearing act has no closing date. If nothing is done to stop the hemorrhaging, Louisiana will lose another 1,750 square miles of land — an area larger than Rhode Island — will convert to water by 2064. An area approximately the size of a football field continues to slip away every hour. “We’re sinking faster than any coast on the planet,” explains Bob Marshall, a Pulitzer-winning journalist in New Orleans.  Louisiana is certainly not the only place experiencing massive land loss. The problems of sea levels rising and sinking coastal lands are indeed global issues and could be happening in city too!

Learn more about this issue here.

Want to do something about it? Here's a great organization working to rebuild Louisiana's wetlands.

Post Katrina London Avenue Canal Update

Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers started construction on the closure of the London Avenue Canal at Lake Pontchartrain.

Nine years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, this drainage canal was one of several which caused New Orleans' flooding. It is interesting to note that none of the natural bodies of water in and around New Orleans such as Bayou St. John or even the Mississippi River caused any flooding after the 2005 hurricanes. Man-made drainage canals were dug years ago to pump excess rain water out to the Lake. The August 29, 2005 storm surge came from the Gulf of Mexico into Lake Pontchartrain and pushed water up into these drainage canals, backwashing and creating excess pressure on the canal flood walls. These flood walls were badly constructed and toppled over or just broke, causing the catastrophic flooding of August 2005 throughout 80% of the Greater New Orleans Area and causing over 1800 deaths!

Save Your Money for What Matters!

Vacations can be pricey, so it's always good to know what to splurge on and where to cut back. In New Orleans, you can enjoy plenty of both as there are tons of free activities that show you the best of the city, letting you save your money for great meals out, excellent tours, and, of course, that charming bed and breakfast you were eyeing. Looking for music? You don't have to pay an expensive cover charge–just wander around the French Quarter any day or night until you hear something that catches your ear! Is art more your style? Go gallery hopping along Julia Street, then head up to City Park and spend a relaxing afternoon strolling through the sculpture garden outside of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Interested in brushing up on your history? Visit The Historic New Orleans Collection's website to find out about free exhibitions–and you can indulge in some online fact finding before your visit on their wonderful website. And, of course, if what you really want to see is the vivacity of the New Orelanians, all you need to do is wander through town and you'll be able to enjoy plenty of rewarding people watching! You can find more great free activities and ideas here.

Raising Buildings

Since the 2005 double whammy of hurricanes Katrina and Rita there has been a general policy in New Orleans' most flood prone areas to try and raise, or elevate, as many buildings as possible. This even includes large buildings such as the one pictured here, located downtown in the medical corridor of Tulane Avenue, off of Canal Street. Often federal funds are used for this purpose to help offshoot the rising costs of raising buildings which helps residents and businesses get better flood insurance rates. 

Razing buildings helps to promote rebuilding as it eliminates buildings which have been condemned and are dangerous and unsightly. Often buildings that need to be razed contributed to, and sometimes even cause, decline in formerly vibrant neighborhoods, and razing these buildings helps to generate a rebirth in failing neighborhoods. It is estimated about 160,000 homes were ruined in the New Orleans area by Hurricane Katrina's wrath and subsequent floods. Unfortunately, there are still a great many buildings that need to be torn down, about 60,000 or so, but the city cannot yet afford to tear them down, since it costs about $ 16,000. to tear down an average size home.

The issue continues to be especially persistent in the neighborhoods affected by the 13 different levee failures that occurred in the wake of hurricane Katrina, especially in the lower ninth ward where Katrina's destruction is still most prominently visible. You can learn more about Hurricane Katrina's lasting impact on our city and our subsequent rebirth on the New Orleans City and Katrina Tour.

The New Orleans Accent

If you’re expecting to hear a Southern accent when you arrive in New Orleans, you’ll likely be surprised to hear something that sounds a little more Brooklyn than Southern Belle. Not all New Orleanians have a thick accent, and some natives might not have much of one at all, but the real New Orleans accent has been so mangled and misrepresented in various media (we’re looking at you, Kevin Costner in JFK!) that people are often unprepared for the weird, wonderful, Brooklyn-via-the-Mississippi-Delta way that many of us actually speak. We call our little dialect Yat, as in Where y’at? a common greeting in these parts. Here in New Orleans, nine is noin, oysters are ersters, and h’s are often replaced with y’s. Ask for directions? There’s a good chance someone will tell you to toirn right on thoird street. And what contributes to this unexpected departure from the accents of our neighbors? New Orleans has long been a major port, and as a result is a very cosmopolitan city. This melting pot has likely contributed to the accent that has developed here. Wherever it came from, it’s ours now!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras from Tours by Isabelle! Our offices will be closed today, March 4, 2014, in honor of our city’s greatest holiday. Enjoy the parades and stay safe! If you’re out of town and want a taste of what we’re up to today, check out the ParadeCam over at nola.com for a live feed of the parade route!