Mississippi River floodwaters from the Morganza Floodway and the Old River Control Structure continued to flow slowly down the Atchafalaya River basin Tuesday, as residents and local, state and federal officials continued to prepare for floods.

mississippi-river-flooding-bonnet-carre-to-lake-may17.jpgView full sizeA satellite image shows water flowing through the Bonnet Carre Spillway upriver from New Orleans, on May 17.

In Morgan City, workers were wrestling three huge barges into place to block water from backing up from the river through Bayou Chene into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, said Coastal Protection Restoration Authority chairman Garret Graves. The barges and associated rock dikes won’t halt the flow of water, but should slow its movement east into Terrebonne Parish.

The emergency blockade also could help wetlands south of Morgan City, allowing the nutrient-rich water and sediment to nourish eroding areas, he said.

Story by:

Richard Thompson,
Mark Schleifstein
and John Pope,
staff writers

The workers were given more time to complete their work by a combination of less rainwater feeding the Red and Ouachita rivers, which flow into the Atchafalaya, dry soil conditions and the heavily forested river basin wetlands slowing the movement of water south.

State and Army Corps of Engineers officials said water released from the Morganza Floodway is expected to arrive at Interstate 10 on Wednesday and at Morgan City by Friday or even later.

Corps budget tapped out

The fickle Mississippi brought bad news to shipping interests in south Louisiana on Tuesday.

High Mississippi River at Algiers Point

Corps of Engineers New Orleans District Deputy Commander Tom Holden told the state’s senior levee board that by the beginning of June, the corps will have used up all money available in its 2011 budget for dredging navigation channels

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