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September 1st, 2008
06:12 PM ET

Water over the levees

CNN's Chris Lawrence reports the waterflow into New Orleans at one levee is not as bad as it looks.
CNN's Chris Lawrence reports the waterflow into New Orleans at one levee is not as bad as it looks.

Chris Lawrence | BIO
CNN Correspondent

What an amazing difference a few hours makes.

When we first drove into the area around New Orleans' Industrial Canal, the wind and driving rain were just knocking us all around. We saw rolling waves constantly overtopping the walls, spilling over the levees, and the Port of New Orleans was almost completely underwater.

It looked bad.

Then we drove around, further south of where the Industrial intersects the Intracoastal, and saw water shooting out of sections of a flood wall. First thought would be, isn't this how floods start?

But it was a good lesson in not taking what you see at face value. When I spoke with a Surveyor, he told us the walls/gates are not designed to be 100% watertight. He says some water always escapes – BUT, this one was letting out more than it should & needed to be sealed.

This was bad -but not as bad as it first seemed.

By the time we finished our last live shot – around 6pm, we'd all been up about 34 hours and were beat. We felt better about calling it a day when we noticed the water level. The roads, train tracks & buildings nearby were still flooded ...but had dropped 2-3 feet since we got there!

We only saw a few small parts of this storm, but dropping water levels to me means: maybe the worst is over. We can only hope...

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Filed under: Chris Lawrence • Hurricane Gustav
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. wayne samson

    some people are rising fonds for the transperations and stuf. But can't biuld new houses for the people that got hit by Katrina,i find it nutt's what is bush going to do about it, i like to know about that.

    September 1, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  2. wayne samson

    They say that the levee might brake with the hurricane cat2,what will happen with a cat3 or 4. I hope that everyone will be safe,I love storms, but not when people that gets hurt. My heart is with all of U

    September 1, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  3. Sandra Gates

    Hi Chris,

    I hope that you are safe. You did a great job reporting on the
    condition of the levees. Thank God that the hurricane was not equal to Katrina. Both presidential candidates sent e- mails requesting contributions to the Red Cross. What else can we do for our fellow Americans?

    September 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  4. Brian Woznicki

    Your coverage of the hurricanes is outstanding. Could you define what a levee is one more time?

    September 1, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  5. Greg Duckworth

    Watching the water splash over that levee made me think . . . How can we spend billions in Iraq but cannot build that levee wall one foot taller?

    September 1, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Chris,
    I hope that you are right and that the worst is over. It seems that if the water levels are lower there then it could be true. But I hear we really won't know until tomorrow afternoon or so as to how things are going to end up.

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 1, 2008 at 6:21 pm |