ST. CHARLES PARISH – Heavy rain and rising water levels forced the U.S. Army Coprs of Engineers to operate the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
On Wednesday morning, the spillway flood gates were opened, allowing the fast-moving water through.
The decision to open Bonnet Carré was issued by Maj. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser commander of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Miss.
Opening the gates should relieve pressure on main line levees, maintain river stages, and regulate the flow downriver from the spillway.
This almost guarantees the Mississippi River will safely travel through the greater New Orleans area.
The Bonnet Carre control structure is a concrete wall that parallels the river for a mile and a half.
It consists of 350 gated bays, each holding 20 timber “needles,” for a total of 7,000 needles.
When needles are removed, river water flows into the floodway traveling nearly six guided miles to the lake.