The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (FPA) 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 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 video will also be used as a component of the FPA’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. The FPA is currently seeking new schools to adopt the program. The VR tour also increases the FPA’s global reach as a member of I-STORM, an international network for storm surge barriers which spans 30 countries. The FPA had over 800 visitors from 10 countries to its HSDRRS system in 2019.
Pyxis created custom-branded, cardboard headsets for FPA-East that will be available upon request and availability. Agency partners may request up to 5 cardboard headsets that will be sent as flat mailers once the request is approved. Agencies may request to visit the FPA-East office located at 6920 Franklin Avenue to use the FPA-issued Oculus VR headset onsite. For more information, please contact the FPA Public Information Office at 504-286-3100. To learn more about Pyxis, LLC visit www.pyxisvr.com