The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA-East) is currently offering both in-person and virtual tours of the $4 Billion Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS), which spans three parishes. In-person tour groups have the option of visiting the 17th St Canal Pump Station or the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier. Groups may sign up for both tours but may not be able to see both on the same day.
FPA-East partnered with virtual reality (VR) company, Pyxis LLC., to produce the 15-minute virtual tour of HSDRRS. The new technology allows for viewers to fly over the Lake Borgne Surge Barrier and walk through the 17th St Canal Pump Station with the use of any VR capable headset. The video begins with the history of the HSDRRS system being born out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and then takes the viewer airborne to the Surge Barrier. The VR tour also increases the FPA-East’s global reach as a member of I-STORM, an international network for storm surge barriers which spans 30 countries.
Know Before You Go
Here’s what you need to know before signing up for an in-person tour. Each tour takes approximately 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the questions the group has. The sites you will be visiting are critical pieces of infrastructure built for function as part of the flood defense system, and therefore, are not ADA compliant. Depending on which site you request to tour, you may need to walk for some distance, handle rough terrain, climb several flights of stairs, etc. There are also potential fall risks from great heights. Tour groups that include children, especially school groups, should ensure there are enough chaperones to supervise all minors.
We ask that all tour requests be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to requested tour date. Tours are generally scheduled for Tuesdays-Thursday. Special requests for Friday tours may be made but are not guaranteed.
As both tour locations have outdoor components, attendees should check the weather before leaving home and consider bringing items such as sun screen and bug spray. For this same reason, tours may be cancelled by FPA-East staff due to inclement weather. Parties wishing to cancel are required to provide notice a minimum of 24 hours prior to the start time of their scheduled tour. The ability to reschedule a cancelled tour within the same week is not guaranteed.
***Camera photography is allowed dependent upon location. However, drone operation is prohibited at both sites.
Additional resources and educational materials regarding FPA-East assets can be found on our website under Education, as well as, our YouTube Channel. Attendees may also be interested in materials published by our partner organizations, such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and I-STORM.
The VR tour video will also be used as a component of the FPA-East’s educational initiative which is geared towards the middle school science curriculum. The program has been adopted by the St. Bernard Parish School District since 2017. FPA-East is currently seeking new schools to adopt the program. Additional information and materials for educators can be found under Education on the FPA-East website.