Sharks in New Orleans

David Emery throws some cold water on rumors that sharks are swimming through the streets of New Orleans. He points out that the shark sightings seem to be the "seen by a friend of a friend" variety:

I found repeated references to unnamed "authorities" and "officials" reporting one "3-foot shark cruising the city." Which authorities? Which officials? Digging further, I could only find mention of one by name: Mayor Aaron Broussard of Jefferson Parish (a New Orleans suburb), who, according to the August 30 issue of the Palm Beach Post, "told residents Tuesday that at least one 3-foot shark had been spotted." Again, that's one small shark reportedly sighted — exactly where and by whom, we don't know — and as far as we know he hadn't eaten anybody.

But alligators are a different matter altogether. Officials assume there will be alligators in the water.

Animals Places

Posted on Mon Sep 05, 2005


And snakes. Don't forget the snakes.
Posted by Maegan  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  05:17 AM
yeah, those come out of Air Force One.
Posted by Jorge  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  06:07 AM
:exclaim: I don't have any problem considering or believing this report, given Bull Sharks are not only able to swim and live in both salt and fresh water, but they have already got a 'record' for taking lives in inland waterways in the USA.
Posted by Big_G  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  08:33 AM
Hey, WHORE- hay- the snakes are the ones masquerading as Louisiana elected officials, who should have had a plan. As for the shark, let's hope he finds the legs of a few lootin' crackheads...
Posted by scuba dude  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  09:33 AM
There are always alligators in the waters of southern Louisiana, so presumably that hasn't changed. However, they're more thinly distributed now, since a whole lot more of the surface of the state is now covered with water.
Sharks are not so likely, for a variety of reasons too numerous to list here, but even if a few sharks did get blown inland, shark attacks on humans are actually quite rare, despite what the tabloid media would have us believe.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  10:48 AM
Actually, the water in the city itself is quite toxic to anything in the water. Reports of dead fish and animals in the water are very common now. When they pump the water back into the lake, officials are concerned it may kill the lake itself and the bayou area of the Mississippi River delta just south.
Posted by Evan  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  12:08 PM
No doubt you're right, Evan, since all the tanks of chemicals, fuels, pesticides, dry cleaning fluids, and so on were flooded along with everything else-- not to mention what everybody had in their garages and under their sinks. This (more so than sharks or gators) is always one of the biggest hazards in a flood. Needless to day, boiling that water won't make it safe to drink, either.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  on  Tue Sep 06, 2005  at  01:51 PM
Sorry, guys, I would suggest that the real toxicity of all the flood waters would be the result of the sewage that's coming up into it, not the vastly diluted chemicals under peoples sinks; Most of that will be burning along with all the oil and gas that's leaking in there as well.

In flood waters, the biggest risk of death apart from drowning is always disease from soil, silt, mud and sewage. Thats why sharks wouldn't last - gills would soon clog - But reptiles would thrive.
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Thu Sep 08, 2005  at  05:51 AM
Oh, forgot about one - Bull Sharks ( Forget the species name ) often venture up fresh waterways in search of prey, but they have some heavy-duty gill scrapers and an undetermined method of avoiding the osmotic problems of chamging from salt to fresh water. They have been seen up the MIssissippi and Amazon rivers from the sea, so they might turn up in the floodwaters as the muck begins to clear, but I suspect the 'gators will have the place pretty much staked out by then.
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Fri Sep 09, 2005  at  05:08 AM
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