BY MIKE MAGEE
It’s not that easy living in the “Big Easy” these days and co-existing with a world dominated by water concerns. When Times-Picayune gossip columnist Betty Guillaud (as the folklore goes) “coined New Orleans’ undisputed nickname” in the 1960’s, it was a lifestyle eponym meant to favorably contrast life in “The Big Easy” with hard living in “The Big Apple.”
That was well before August 23, 2004, when the levies failed to hold back the Gulf waters, and 1,392 souls perished leaving two names to last in infamy – Katrina and Brownie, of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” fame.
Now it’s not as if it’s been all smooth sailing for New York City and water. I mean, look at the history. When the British overran the Dutch in 1667, one of the first priorities was to dig the first public well and include a marvelous technologic attachment – a hand pump. That was in front of an old fort at Bowling Green, near Battery Park.
But by the early 1700s, the absence of a sewage system and saltwater intrusion from the Hudson and East Rivers, plus a crushing population explosion, had foiled the clean water supply. The solution – temporary at best – haul in fresh groundwater, in limited quantities, from Brooklyn.Continue reading…