At 8:39pm on Friday (7.12), the Washington Post published a story titled, “Anxiety grips New Orleans as some residents flee city, others brace for heavy rain and winds.” A picture of two men pulling luggage through NOLA’s French Quarter accompanied the apocalyptic headline.
Alas, the two pictured individuals, Richie Delahoyde and Themos Kontodimas, were not evacuees; rather, they were actually arriving in NOLA to work in Tales of the Cocktails prestigious Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP).To boot, while New Orleans has suffered an entire 2.5in of rain according to the National Weather Service, most residents are here, in town, with little anxiety or flooding.
“I was on my way to check in to my hotel to start preparing for the event. I didn’t notice the photo being taken. No one approached us or asked us who we were, what we were doing or where we were going,” Delahoyde told Neat Pour while also noting that he understands the need for caution. “I had just landed in NOLA; so most definitely I’m not fleeing. There are 20 of us arrived and another 50 on the way. None of us are anxious about the weather and it really hasn’t been that bad.”
In short, New Orleans will be wet, but fine. Tales will also be fine.
Mind you, other areas in Louisiana and the Gulf are flooded and suffering due to the storm formerly known as Hurricane Barry (and those peple could use your help!) And, Barry is still in the neighborhood; so NOLA, like her neighbors to the west, is not done with the rain or some measure of flooding risk. Fortunately, the city’s sub-tropical environs (and climate change) have made her people extremely adept at responding quickly to mild flooding.
However, the havoc of the storm upon the Crescent City has been greatly exaggerated by the WaPo and their colleagues in the national media.
Current State of Affairs
In fact, on Saturday (7.13) afternoon Forecaster Beven at the NWS’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) removed the Storm Surge Warning for greater New Orleans. Likewise, the Hurricane Warning was downgraded to a Tropical Storm warning through Sunday morning.
Barry, itself, skewed to the west and made landfall 75 miles from New Orleans before continuing to move northwest, away from the city. Upon landfall, the NHC downgraded the formation to a Tropical Storm. The agency predicts another downgrade to Depression on Sunday.
Thousands of people in South Louisiana and Mississippi are suffering from power outages and flooding; however, most of them do not live in New Orleans. According to Entergy, about 1200 customers in the 400,000 person parish were affected by outages at press time. Likewise, our crack news team observed little evidence of significant flooding while surveying the aftermath.
The Mississippi River was at an eight-year high prior to Barry. After storm surge, the river levels crested a tick higher at 17.1’. The river levee system provides protection up to 20’. So, there is no danger of topping.
We’re Not Saying It’s Going To Be Dry Though
More rain is forecast for Saturday night as the remainder of Barry rolls through Southeast Louisiana. The storm is moving very slow (about 7mph according to the NHC). That means there’s plenty of opportunity for rain to dump on the region.
As mentioned, NOLA is fortunate enough to be slightly east of the storm’s main formation. That means the city will be spared most of the winds and most of the water. Still, the Big Easy is under a Storm Warning; so, pay attention to any developments and don’t be an idiot
The NWS forecasts about 5-7in for the city over the next five days. The precipitation would mean minor flooding, but likely none that NOLA’s infrastructure can’t handle quickly.
Likewise, it will be enough water, that we recommend you bring your parasol (and not just the decorative second line parasol!)
Most of all, be prepared to answer texts from relatives who read headlines like the WaPo’s. The best advice there came from Delahoyde. He mentioned that his family was concerned for his safety, but their fears dissipated after he texted them a photo of himself drinking a frozen Irish coffee at the Erin Rose.