Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

3/23/2016

Our Oddball River

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

The Los Angeles River is everywhere these days, but it's also had the starring role is some strange derring-do. Here's an overview.

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Poking Good-Natured Fun at the L.A. River
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carribean Fragoza
Published: 14 Mar 2016, KCET

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library.
Anyone who’s stepped on the banks of the Los Angeles River knows it’s an experience quite unlike that of going to see the Mighty Mississippi, much less the Thames or the Danube. Majestic isn’t an adjective that comes to mind when visiting this city’s river. Strange, surreal, different would be more applicable.

Unlike its counterparts, the Los Angeles River is a seasonal alluvial river, meaning its banks and bed consists of loose sediments and rock. This relaxed foundation allowed its path to change wildly depending on water flows and season. Before it was paved, it could be dry enough to build homes beside, but when it rained, it could transform into a roiling hazard.

It is, in short, an unpredictable, oddball river. Which is perhaps why it is the butt of many jokes in Los Angeles. Just like the strange kid at the playground who always gets picked on, the L.A. river is ripe for taunts because of its deviance from the norm. History is filled with humorous takes on the city’s river. [read more]

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