River debris piles up in Kenner

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 18 at 8:17 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

New Orleans area levees are littered with driftwood and other floating junk deposited by the high water on the Mississippi River.

Logs of every shape and size are now pushed up against the river bank.

More debris washes ashore with every passing ship on the historically high water.

Spectators flocked to Kenner's Rivertown to check out this extreme collection of river debris.

Large logs floating down the river got stuck under Lasalle's Landing, trapping what seems like a city block's worth of junk and it's growing by the day.

Neighbors say they've never seen anything like it.

"No, not like this, not this much, but we've never had a river quite this high either," said Jay Baum. "It is impressive."

"I was trying to convince my kid not walk on it," said Randy Cassagne. "We came up here last Saturday to take a look at it and I said son don't walk on it, you'll probably sink right down it. It's like a big raft."

The debris is nothing to play on.  Levee authorities say you can look, but not touch.

There are alligators and a lot of snakes floating in the pile.

"If they see something they think is a little treasure they really shouldn't get down there to try and get it because it's not just the debris that you see, it's also what's underneath it," said Fran Campbell, Executive Director of the East Jefferson Levee District.

The levee districts are trying to keep the big stuff parallel to the levees and pointed objects away from the bank.

"I can assure you we are patrolling 24/7," said Campbell. "We're watching it. We're looking for anything that could be positioned as a projectile."

This has happened before when the river gotten high and we've had debris on the batture land and the levee board does a great job of removing all of the debris once it's all down," said Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni.

The levee districts say it is actually more dangerous to pull out the debris while the water is this high.

They're afraid doing so would damage the levees when they are needed the most.

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