Sunday, May 15, 2011

Natchez, Mississippi, Flood of 2011

The city of Natchez, Mississippi, is safely on a bluff 200 feet above the Mississippi River.  There is, however, a small but historic portion of the city that is located below the bluff, right on the river's edge.   Known as Natchez Under-the-Hill, in years past it was notorious as a place of saloons, brothels, fights, and  murders.
 Today there are a few restaurants located in Natchez Under-the-Hill, and the Riverboat Casino, The Isle of Capri, is docked there.  But, as you can see, the rising waters of the Mighty Mississippi have swallowed most of the parking  areas, roads, and walking paths.  As we toured today, the area was closed to all vehicular traffic, most businesses and the casino were shut down as the flood crest of the River is expected in the next several days.
Crews have installed "instant levees" in the middle of the road in order to protect the buildings from the rising flood waters.
The "instant levees" consist of long canvas-lined wire frames filled with sand and covered with plastic.  They are quickly assembled and are designed to hold back the rising flood waters.
In the foreground is the Magnolia Grill, which advertises that it is "still open for business."  Behind and outside of the "instant levee" is the casino boat.
The Isle of Capri Casino boat outside of the temporary levee.
The end of this road in Natchez Under-the-Hill is already under water.
In spite of the flooding, freight continues to move on the Mississippi River.  The strong current of the swollen waters carries the freight downstream even faster than usual.