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Hurricane Isaac: 'Wasn't...comparable to Katrina'

Tchefuncta Country Club.jpg
(Photo courtesy of Kelly Gibson)

By John Strege

The best that can be said about Hurricane Isaac was that it was not another Hurricane Katrina, according to the message conveyed by former PGA Tour player and New Orleans resident Kelly Gibson.

"We survived," Gibson said Thursday. "It was kind of a unique storm. It kind of hunkered down and took quite a while to get through here, but it wasn't anything comparable to Katrina."

Gibson, who was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America in 2006 for contributions to the Katrina recovery effort made by what is now the Kelly Gibson Foundation, said that the foundation is prepared to help if necessary, but that "the federal government and local government were way more prepared for these type situations than they were in 2005."

As for the area's golf courses, Tchefuncta Country Club (shown above), which he designed in Covington, just north of Lake Pontchartrain, "took on a substantial amount of flooding," Gibson said. "Nine of the holes are completely submerged in three to four feet of water, maybe six feet. It had minimal tree damage, where after Katrina it took six months to clean up.

"One course I'm personally concerned about is Joe Bartholomew Park [in New Orleans]. "We spent $8 million renovating it. They had received 12 feet of water for almost a month or so from Katrina and [Hurricane] Rita. We designed it to accommodate a substantial amount of rain."

Gretchen Bradford, the president of the Pontchartrain Neighborhood Park Association, reported that Joseph M. Bartholomew Sr. Municipal Golf Course survived intact.

"We had very minimal flooding in our neighborhood," she said. "We were very blessed. I'm not a golfer, but from what I see [of the golf course] it looks like it's OK. It has tree limbs and stuff around, and it probably did get saturated, but it wasn't flooded out."

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Meanwhile, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Audubon Park Golf Course in New Orleans "was inundated with standing water."

As to how golf courses in neighboring Biloxi, Miss., fared, it is as yet unknown. "It sounds like they had a tremendous amount of rainfall, 12 to 15 inches," Gibson said. "They have a lot of golf courses in that area."


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