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Alexandra Aucoin stands in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.

From the Editor: Central Catholic grad on a (scientific) mission to Russia

Had your fill of news about Russia? Here’s a Russia connection to the Tri-City area in which the only collusion is the best kind.
Central Catholic's Greig Chauvin reports that Alexandra Aucoin, Class of 2015, was one of only five students chosen to participate in an undergraduate research opportunity in microbiology and biogeosciences funded by the National Science Foundation.
The six-week course took place at the Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil Sciences in the western town of Pushchino, Russia, Chauvin said.
“While in Russia, Alexandra conducted research on microorganisms in Siberian permafrost that were over a million years old,” Chauvin wrote. “During her time in Russia, Alexandra was also able to tour Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow as well as the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Aucoin graduated this year from Nicholls State University and is now a chemistry research intern at Universite’ Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in Lyons, France.

The road rolls
During the recently ended session, the Legislature came up with $700 million in BP oil spill money for the biggest boost in state infrastructure work in decades.
Among the millions was $150 million for work on a project of local interest: Interstate 49 South.
The biggest piece of the $150 million, according to media accounts, is a proposed overpass where Lafayette’s Ambassador Caffery Parkway meets U.S. 90.
The big idea here is to upgrade U.S. 90 to interstate status, which means controlling access and eliminating the dangerous crossover intersections, from the current terminus of I-49 at I-10 all the way to the West Bank.
We need it to make the highway safer, to make hurricane evacuation easier and to facilitate transport related to the region’s energy industry.
Some of the upgrade is already done, such as the overpass at La. 318 that opened last year at Four Corners.
Someday, the work will include the elimination of the crossovers just west of the Atchafalaya River. We get a hint that the work may be a few years off from the fact that the Department of Transportation and Development recently installed J-turns at crossovers along that stretch.
The big snag in the I-49 upgrade isn’t here, but in Lafayette, where debate continues about how to run I-49 South through the city. That stretch alone could cost $1 billion. Some worry that an elevated interstate along the corridor now occupied by the Evangeline Thruway would create a dead zone under the overpass.
They should check out Morgan City, where “under the bridge” is a festival venue.
By debate, I mean knock-down drag-out. I covered the first meeting at which the elevated highway proposal was presented to the public.
That was in 1994.

Flood history
A little poking around on the National Weather Service website in connection with the recent flooding turned up this list of stage records for the Atchafalaya at Morgan City.
Historic Crests
(1) 10.53 feet on May 28, 1973.
(2) 10.35 feet on May 29, 2011.
(3) 8.46 feet on June 27, 1957.
(4) 8.29 feet on March 15, 2019.
(5) 8.20 feet on Jan. 22, 2016.
Recent Crests
(1) 8.29 feet on March 15, 2019.
(2) 7.12 feet on March 30, 2018.
(3) 7.18 feet on June 3, 2017.
(4) 8.20 feet on Jan. 22, 2016.
(5) 6.26 feet on Aug. 1, 2015.
Low Water Records
(1) -5.40 feet on Aug. 25, 1926.
(2) -2.70 feet on Dec. 21, 1924.
(3) -2.32 feet on Oct. 18, 1948.
Bill Decker is the managing editor of The Daily Review.

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