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Levee construction won’t shut down Fly

Levees along river were found to be too short

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012 20:11

Levee construction

Photo courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineering

Construction on the levee that runs along the edge of Audubon Park will not cause closures of the popular hang out spot “the Fly.” Construction will run from Jefferson Parish to the southern limit of the park, which is the Fly.

The outdoor haven known to college students as the Fly will remain open during the upcoming construction on the levees in the area.

Students found themselves in dismay as rumors flooded the Uptown area about the closure of Avenger Park, more commonly known as the Fly, late over summer break. These rumors were put to rest in September, and students will still be able to enjoy their afternoons on the bank of the Mississippi River. The levee work is closer to the railroad tracks than in the actual Fly area, so the Fly will not be closed down, said Nick Sims, Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the levee construction.

“The only impact that you will see to the Fly area is that right now you’ve got one-way access. You’ve got one way in and one way out. During construction we will have to shut one of those down at a time. So where you’ve got one- way access now, it’ll be two-way. That is the biggest impact that you are going to see but you will always have access to the Fly and all of the lights and water will be working there,” said Sims. No exact information was given as to when either entrance or exit will be open at a specific time.

The construction will focus on building the levees one to three feet higher for a two-mile stretch, starting at the Jefferson Parish line and continuing downwards to the southern limit of Audubon Park, which is the Fly, said Sims.

The Army Corps of Engineers observed the Mississippi River levee system for deficiencies, and it was found that certain areas were not as high as they should be. This is what prompted the construction on the levees. The build will hopefully prevent any potentially harmful circumstances of flooding. The construction was not mandated by the city, said Sims, but areas of the levee system were deficient and the funding was there. Congress did, however, authorize building the levees up to a mandated grade, said Sims.

“This will get us up to our congressionally authorized grade, and that’s the grade to provide the flood risk management that’s needed in the area,” said Sims.

Students that were once worried about the park’s closure are now at ease as one of their favorite hangout spots remains open.

Will George, who recently graduated from Furman University in South Carolina and moved back to his hometown New Orleans, says he is glad to be able to continue riding his bike by the river after he gets off of work.

“I’m happy that the Fly is staying open. I really like riding my bike through here [the Fly]. It’s just a
nice place to be. I’m also happy that they are finding a way to do the construction too, because the last thing New Orleans needs is another major flood,” said George.

New Orleans local and Tulane senior Ryan McGuire has a history with the park and is relieved that he can spend more time at the Fly.

“I’m happy it’s staying open. I’ve been coming here since I was six with my family. I also played soccer here when I was younger. For this to close would be a blow because I come up here as much as I can,” said McGuire.

The levee construction will start in mid November, said Sims. Students can visit http://www.mvn.usace.army. mil/pao/audubonfly.asp for more information about the construction.

Connor McCullar can be reached at cjmccull@loyno.edu

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