Mississippi River Mouth Must Be Abandoned to Save New Orleans from Next Hurricane Katrina
Extensive studies done after Katrina verified what lifelong residents of southeastern Louisiana already knew: Unless the rapidly disappearing wetlands are made healthy again, restoring the natural defense, New Orleans will soon lay naked against the sea (see satellite image, below).
So, how does one reengineer the entire Mississippi River delta—one of the largest in the world—on which New Orleans lies?
Three international engineering and design teams have reached a startling answer: leave the mouth of the Mississippi River to die. Let the badly failing wetlands there completely wither away, becoming open water, so that the upper parts of the delta closer to the city can be saved. The teams, winners of the Changing Course Design Competition, revealed their detailed plans on August 20. Graphics from each plan are below. . .
| The river should be cut off (north of the number 5) to better|
save wetlands closer to the city (red “Sustainable” line), and the rest
must be left to wither away, becoming open water (brown “Historic” line).