jump to navigation

Which Lucky Child? Epco answers June 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

David from Epco left this long comment on my earlier post Which Lucky Child, and in fairness I’m giving him his own rebuttal post. It’s probably not fair to get to far into a back-and-forth in a rebuttal. I’m still angry at the concept. Every child deserves a house. However, there is a difference between a bad choice of phrase and bad intent, and I don’t think Epco’s intent is bad. I was struck by his remarks about dishonest contractors, a story we have all heard time and again. Thanks, David, for taking the time to reply.

I want to introduce myself. I am David one of the owners of Epco. In fact I am president of general construction. First I would like to say this is a project that is very near and dear to our hearts. We have completed over 400 projects and have more work then we know what to do with. The essay contest and helping families is our hobby. We have been blessed so from our point of view we are obligated to give back.

I believe all of the children deserve a home but we can’t do it all by ourselves. So we create a spark. We at Epco will find it very difficult to pick only one. In fact we will be using the letters to show what these kids think and feel by way of an essay. And I believe we can do more and recruit companies help with this endeavor.

I will share what we have noticed by way of the essays. Most of the letters “around 70%” describe a contractor running out on them and their families with large amounts of money and without a completed home. I could not believe that there were so many contractors hurting these families. When we announce the winner we also shed light on some bad contractors. And just maybe we can get the attention of some people and originations that might be willing to help.

I propose this question. Is it worst to have an essay contest to build not only a home but help restore the quality of life or even restore a little faith in humanity. Or by reading most of your comments you would prefer Epco not give back because the children can’t handle not winning a contest. You are hurting the kids with your closed minded thinking.

Let me clue you in on a few things about these children. These kids have been through so much and they don’t need anymore false hope. Epco can provide for one child and their family. This is the way we make a difference with no apologies. After reading the some of the letters I believe the children are stronger then we give them credit for. I would hope responsible adults would take the time to find out about company that has only good intensions and maybe get on board. Don’t promote the company promote the idea.

Living on Sponge Cake May 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Is anyone surprised that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who thought it might be OK to stuff expansion joints in flood walls with newspaper in lieu of water proof seals, might have gotten it wrong in rebuilding and reinforcing the 17th Street Canal levees and flood walls, one of the major failure points of the 2005 Federal Flood? Perhaps they should try Bounty. Remember it was the Quicker Picker Upper because it was More Absorbent.

Among other things, [the Corps] repaired the wall by driving interlocking sheets of steel 60 feet into the ground, compared with about 17 feet before the storm. The sheet metal is supposed to prevent canal water from seeping under the levee through the wet, toothpaste-like soil that lies beneath the city, which was built on reclaimed swamp and filled-in marsh.

Over the past few months, however, the corps found evidence that canal water is seeping through the joints in the sheet metal and then rising to the surface on the other side of the levee, forming puddles and other wet spots.

Engineers said the boggy ground is a more serious problem than the corps realizes. [ob Bea, a civil engineer at the University of California at Berkeley,] said there is a roughly 40 percent chance of the 17th Street Canal levee collapsing if water rises higher than 6 feet above sea level. During Katrina, the water reached 7 feet in the canal.

Well, you would think that the events precipitating the Federal Flood would have led to some new thinking about how to build levees and other structures on our slippery, layered sponge cake soil, but the West Coast engineers think not. Just drive the piles deeper and hope for the best, which strikes me as an eminently 19th century solution.

It’s not as if this is a unique problem, or even a local one. I was surprised to learn while living in Fargo, N.D. that most large buildings required piles because of the characteristics of the bed of pre-historic Lake Agassiz–which in some age with a fancy scientific name rivaled the Great Lakes in size–upon which Fargo was built. I ended up helping my son research a short science essay on the subject and found the analogy to New Orleans fascinating. I sometimes think about the soils of Fargo and those 40+ foot dikes that keep the Red River of the North from drowning the place every spring.

Here’s an interesting tale from long ago about the building of a railroad embankment I used to drive along the route of (on Highway 10, a far-north, east-west analog of Highway 90 complete with parallel railroad tracks). Nothing under the sun, it seems, is new; and yet we seem to have such a confounded time figuring out how to deal with it all.

(Tim and Maitri, be sure to click the link. It’s definitely up your alley).