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Monday Schedule Detail


Session Name: Hurricane History~~The History of New Orleans Flood Protection and the 1947 Hurricane
Session Description:

Since the founding of New Orleans in 1718, the city has battled flooding. Construction was initially limited to the slightly higher ground along old natural river levees and bayous; the largest section of this being near the Mississippi River front. Between the developed higher ground near the Mississippi and the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, most of the area was wetlands only slightly above the level of Lake Pontchartrain and sea level. The earliest drainage works elevated the river’s natural levees and excavate drainage canals. Later, the swamps were drained to counter mosquito-borne diseases and to expand development. As the land subsided in the19th century, steam pumps were set up on canals to push the water out, but were inadequate. Throughout this period, buildings flooded after heavy rainfall, and epidemics of yellow fever and malaria occurred. This workshop will discuss the development of the initial levee systems, the ambitious plans to counter pervasive flooding with Tulane professor’s Albert Baldwin Wood’s revolutionary wood screw pump as the centerpiece. These talks will also discuss the evolution of the levee system for protection against hurricane storm surge. Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the need for a comprehensive risk reduction system for the greater New Orleans area. Following Katrina, Congress authorized and funded the construction of the 100-year level risk reduction system, known as the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS). The HSDRRS includes five parishes (Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and Plaquemines) and consists of 350 miles of levees and floodwalls; 73 non-Federal pumping stations; 3 canal closure structures with pumps; and 4 gated outlets. The Greater New Orleans HSDRRS provides the 100-year level of risk reduction against tropical events and related rainfall and storm surges. The $14 billion system includes the construction or improvement of 133 miles of perimeter risk reduction features, such as levees, floodwalls, floodgates, surge barriers, and pump stations. A brief overview will be provided on: 1) the infrastructure improvements; 2) the science behind the storm surge and levee overtopping modeling; 3) possible deficiencies in HSDRRS; and 4) the communities left without protection from HSDRRS. As another example of the importance of levee protection, we will remember the 75th anniversary of the 1947 hurricane.

Day of Week: Monday
Time Start: 1:30PM