Engineering NOLA Below Sea Level

A recent article from the Atlantic explains how New Orleans used to be above sea level, but as Europeans settled in the city they realized the need to drain the sitting water to prevent malaria. From digging ditches in the 18th century to engineered pumps in the 19th century to further the drainage plans, the city sank lower. It doesn't seem possible to bring New Orleans back above sea level, but there are several ways to keep the flooding under control including a mixture of levees and rebuilding the wetlands. 

New Harmony students will be diving into the history of the Louisiana coast and investigating why the geography stands as it does today, including both natural and man-made processes. Then they will have opportunities to hypothesize about and test solutions for a more sustainable future for coastal Louisiana.

We can't wait to welcome our inaugural class in 6 months and begin to tackle the past, present and future of our coast! 

Map showing drainage plan in 1895. 

Map showing drainage plan in 1895.