Louise Catherine

Paris floods sink barge, stainless project on hold

Joanne McIntyre - 15 February 2018

A historic barge moored on the Seine in Paris which was due to be renovated with the support of Alloy Corporation, NSSC and Nippon Yakin Kogyo, sank during recent flooding in the French capital.

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Mrs Joanne McIntyre
Joanne McIntyre is the Editor in Chief of Stainless Steel World magazine, and Conference Coordinator for the Duplex Seminar & Summit.
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The water level of Seine River reached the peak on January 29, 2018, reaching 5,84 m and dislodged the barge ‘Louise Catherine’ from its mooring. On Saturday, February 10, river guards and firemen attempted to manoeuver the boat back into position. However, during the installation of a fixing rod designed to keep the vessel at a fixed distance from the shore, the barge began taking on water and quickly sank. Once water levels return to normal a salvage operation will take place.

A century of history

The asile flottant (‘floating shelter’) started life in 1915 as a coal barge sailing under the name "Liège." It supplied the residents of Paris will coal from Rouen via the Seine river, which passes through the center of Paris.
In 1929 the Salvation Army charity purchased the barge and contracted renowned architect Le Corbusier to refurbish it to accommodate women refugees who had fled to Paris after the war.

The barge had the rare particularity of having been constructed from reinforced concrete, a favorite material of Le Corbusier. He expanded the pillars, roof and created large horizontal windows, creating an interior space in the style of modern architecture. The renovated shelter was equipped with 160 beds to house the homeless during winter and a cafeteria. It was given the name Louise-Catherine in homage to Louise Catherine Breslau and opened its doors in 1930.

The barge was closed in 1994 and sold 12 years later by the Salvation Army. It was classified as a historical monument in 2008. In 2005 restoration work was begun by volunteers. Alloy Corporation, a Japanese stainless steel processing and distribution company, has donated two stainless steel piers with the cooperation of Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corporation and Nippon Yakin Kogyo.

Work is yet to begin on the stainless steel piers, which will be constructed in grade SUS 304 and measure 990 mm x 10 meters and 1290 mm x 10 meters. All volunteers including Alloy Corporation which has donated two stainless steel piers with the cooperation of NSSC (Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corporation) and Nippon Yakin Kogyo are watching over the further result.

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