Believing that bicycle tours are less disruptive to residential neighborhoods than tour busses, a civic group formed in New Orleans after Katrina has rolled out a Levee Disaster Bike Tour.
Created by Levees.org, the tour is self-guided and features three major levee breaches that occurred in what were formerly densely populated neighborhoods in the city's main basin.
The self-guided tour starts at City Park. Cyclists first ride through the Park and along a waterway called Bayou St. John to the first stop -- the east breach of the London Avenue Canal. Traveling alongside the Canal, the next stop is the west breach of the London Canal. Then cyclists ride along Lake Pontchartrain to the 17th Street Canal breach site before heading back to City Park. The route is designed mostly on marked bike routes. Cyclists can view both the breach sites and the affected neighborhoods.
Historic plaques mark two of the breach sites. Vetted and fact checked by historians with the Louisiana State Office of Historic Preservation, these plaques tell the true story of the flooding on August 29 2005. They tell of how the Army Corps of Engineers was held responsible for the breaches by the U.S. District Court but was protected from financial liability due to sovereign immunity.
Now, at any time, anyone can view three breach sites of a disaster so catastrophic that the whole world watched it on TV. Levees.org feels there may be no better way to see the breach sites - and to honor the residents in the affected neighborhoods -- than a bike tour.
In addition, in partnership with the University of New Orleans, Levees.org will also roll out a Virtual Levee Disaster Mobile Tour accessible by iPhone and Android. The tour will include the levee breach disasters of the Industrial Canal (and the affected neighborhoods) as well as the 17th Street and London Avenue Canals. That roll out is set for July 18.