10 years post Katrina – Where have you gone, Mr. Go?

By Amanda Moore, Deputy Director, Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program, National Wildlife Federation

By Amanda Moore, Deputy Director, National Wildlife Federation, Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition

Over the coming months as we approach the 10th anniversaries of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition will publish a series of blog posts that examine issues and topics relevant to these events, particularly as they relate to coastal restoration. Below, is an update on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO).

MRGO house

Home in lower 9th ward – Post Katrina.

Even before the storm, locals dubbed the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) a “hurricane surge super-highway”. Since its construction in the 1950s, MRGO has impacted over 600,000 acres of coastal ecosystems surrounding the Greater New Orleans area and destroyed over 27,000 acres of wetlands that once served as important buffer from storm surge.

Indeed, ten years ago, MRGO lived up to its name and intensified the impact of Hurricane Katrina, creating a funnel that channeled its surge into the heart of communities. The result? Catastrophic destruction. After Katrina, it was clearer than ever that “Mr. Go” had to go.

Ten years later, we examine what has been accomplished, what work remains and how you can help.   

Accomplishments:

MRGO surge barrier

MRGO surge barrier

MRGO rock dam

MRGO rock dam

What still needs to happen?

MRGO map 2

Projected land loss in MRGO area

MRGO map 1

Planned restoration for MRGO area

So, what can you do?

As we approach the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we have our work cut out for us to ensure that restoration, which is vitally important to our region’s future, moves forward with urgency. Visit restorethebayou.org to learn how you can view the MRGO ecosystem impacts in person, learn more about ongoing ecosystem restoration and how you can get involved. Check out these albums from the MRGO Must Go Facebook page to see photos before and after the outlet’s closure.