16 December 2005

Photo du Jour: The Orleans Outfall Canal Floodwall

In all of the discussion concerning how and why sections of the floodwalls on the 17th Street, London Avenue, and Industrial Canals failed, I have heard no one bring up the fact that the Orleans Outfall Canal Floodwall (specifically on the Orleans Avenue/Lakeview side) had no structural failures. Why is this relevant? I think it's relevant because its the only wall that physically doesn't resemble the other walls--and it had no failure whatsoever. This construction/style of wall spans the length of the Orleans Outfall Canal from the Orleans Outfall Pump Station near Orleans Avenue/I-610 up to Robert E. Lee. The wall looks the way it does, because of the involvement of public input/civic organizations when they were designed, to attempt to make the wall aesthetically pleasing to Lakeview. Grecian/Olympic-style details such as urns, leaves, and runners (the runner detail is not seen in this picture--they are at the bases of the bridges crossing at Harrison, Filmore, etc.) were chosen as the theme I assume because the proximity to the sporting facilities in City Park. But in addition to the aesthetically-minded design, the size/structure of these walls seem to be higher, thicker, and seem to have a thicker base at the ground level than up at the top. The walls on the City Park side of the canal, however, appear to be built using the same specifications as the ones that failed in the other locations. My point is the Lakeview-side walls physically appear to be stronger than the other design. This maybe an optical illusion and I have no scientific evidence of this--just an observation.


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