I shot some video of the view outside my window as my plane approached New Orleans. Little did I know that we’d be flying right over the now-open Bonnet Carre Spillway, the one that flows into Lake Pontchartrain (click for video).
Did you notice how the Mississippi seems bound by small white lines on either side? Those are the levees, and man are they doing a good job! Scary to think of how much depends on them.
And here’s another video showing the scenery as we drove from New Orleans to Chauvin, LA (pronounced “sho-van,” according to a person I met on the plane). As we went further south, out into the bayou, more and more homes were propped up on stilts. Literally whole communities located on just the second story!
After we arrived, we dumped our luggage in our rooms, had a nice dinner and spent the rest of the evening exploring. LUMCON was built to survive hurricanes and flooding – it’s raised up on stilts, and very sturdy – but floor-to-ceiling windows still give a view into the bayou beyond. As Tuana and Ali put it, LUMCON feels like part airport, part hotel and part spaceship. It’s very self-contained, with its own labs, library, cafeteria and dorm rooms for students and researchers. The facility has many interesting things to explore – aquarium tanks, a room full of specimens, maps and charts on the walls, photographs, informative displays, kayaks and canoes outside and a really cool lookout tower (you can spot it in the video as we pull up to LUMCON). Plus, the area is just beautiful… I think I’m really going to enjoy my stay here.