All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
(click pictures to enlarge)
It was early afternoon when I arrived in Marksville. The campground is very nice with full hookups and level concrete pads. It is only about 10% full which is always an extra benefit. This is a Passport America campground and since I've been a member ever since I hit the road, I saved 50% on the cost of my campsite. For the 4 nights that I will be camped here, I saved $60.00. The annual fee is only $45.00 so I recoup my fee dozens of time over throughout the year. But it is like any other similar program, you have to be careful because there have been some dumpy Passport America campgrounds that I've turned down, but I'm still an advocate.
|Paragon Casino RV Resort|
The Paragon is an Indian Casino and the tribe is the Tunica-Biloxi. I'm not very familiar with either one and was not motivated to find out about them. I definitely am not a gambler but since I was here, I decided to check the slots out. I joined their "player's club" program so they could keep track of my activities in their casino. hmmm?,They also gave me $10.00 on the card as a welcoming present. The catch was I had to play the first dollar using my own money.
|Sprawling Oaks in front of campground|
|The warm weather has the flowers blooming in early February.|
My reason for coming here was to check out the Old River Control Structures which are located at the intersection of the Red, Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers. I guess I should give my non-Louisiana friends the pronunciation of that strange word in the previous sentence. It is pronounced, "a-chaff-a-lie-a", with the "a's" being short a's. For some of ya'll younger readers, you may need to ask a more seasoned person what a short "a" is since I'm not sure it is taught in school now a days. Lots of people think the name, Atchafalaya, is cajun but it is actual an Indian name. More specifically, a Choctaw Indian name meaning "long river". Obviously, the Choctaw must have been including the Red and Mississippi Rivers in their definition of long, since the current Atchafalaya is only about 135 miles in length. In fact, until about 500 to 600 years ago, it didn't even exist. It came into existence when the Mighty Mississippi created a giant bend, called Turnbull's Bend, going to the west which intersected the Red River as it was peacefully flowing to the Gulf of Mexico on its own. When that happened, the Red River flowed into the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya flowed out of the Mississippi.
Everything was hunky-dory until the early 1800's when steamboat traffic became so important. To create a short-cut, our old hero from the removal of the Great Raft of the Red River, Captain Henry Shreve, cut a canal across Turnbulls Bend in 1831. That wasn't bad enough, but he also removed another raft of logs on the Atchafalaya River that increased its speed making that river deeper and wider. As it grew deeper and steeper, it was gradually becoming the quickest path to the Gulf of Mexico and more and more water was leaving the Mississippi and going to the Gulf by way of the Atchafalaya. Ut oh, that wasn't good. It meant that towns like Baton Rouge and New Orleans and all of the industry in between could be left high and dry or maybe just a stream instead of a river.
Enter the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to save the day. They constructed what collectively is called the Old River Control Structure Complex. The first of these structures came online in the early 1960's and regulated the amount of water that would be allowed to go down the Mississippi (70%) and the Atchafalaya (30%). That split wasn't scientifically determined, it was simple the approximate amount in 1950.
After completion, everyone pounded their chests and said what a wonderful job they had done and that they knew how to control mother nature.
|The locks connecting all of the rivers.|
The repeated heavy floods of the 1970's nearly destroyed the control structures and if it hadn't been for the great work of the Corp, all would have been lost and that last domino would have fallen. They made temporary repairs which held up well.
Another structure was added to the complex in the early 1980's and was called the Auxiliary Structure.
|The Auxiliary Structure|
|Flooding along the Mississippi River|
|Riding the levee while checking out|
|Even during high water, barge traffic continues on the river.|
Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading to a campground a little south of Lafayette, Louisiana. I will do some exploring and visit with my sister. It is suppose to freeze tonight with lows down to 26 degrees. I don't anticipate anything freezing up but I'll be cautious.