The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise…
– Mark Twain in Eruption
The talk all over the news is the flooding of the Mississippi River and the opening of the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana. The floodgates in Morganza haven’t been opened since 1973, the year I was born. This was a big decision that will affect tens of thousands of Louisiana residents who will lose their homes and farmlands as this diverted water creeps through south Louisiana making its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you live in a state that isn’t along the banks of the Mississippi River, you make watch the news and think, “Wow, that’s a shame.” Then you may move on to the next news story. You may not even realize how this will personally affect you.
Yes. It will personally affect you. You and your pocketbook.
With the high water on the Mississippi, shipping routes are closed, making transport longer and harder for commodities to get to their destinations. Also, major pipelines from the Gulf of Mexico will be closing, if they aren’t already closed. Your coffee prices will go up. Your sugar and rice will cost more. Already high gas prices will have another reason to climb even higher.
Just yesterday, a number of barges got loose and ran into the Old Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, LA, shutting down that route across the river. This meant that 18 wheelers trying to cross the river delivering goods had to go a longer route, which means use of more fuel, which will ultimately be passed on to you, the consumer.
For me, the flooding means more stress at home and work, with my husband working at the EOC and the increased call volume at my full time job at the fire department. It’s also a grim reminder of Katrina and Rita. My neighbor, Paige Bowers, recently wrote an article for TIME that illustrates how the ghosts of the Mississippi are rising again.
In case you’ve missed the visual coverage of the impact, here’s an Associate Press video recently released regarding the floodgates opening in Morganza, Louisiana.
Do you live in an area that is being directly impacted by the flooding along the Mississippi River? Do you agree with the floodgates in Morganza being opened to divert some of the water from Baton Rouge and New Orleans?