Draining New Orleans

Audiobook Details


Richard Campanella

Narrated By:

Chris Abernathy


13 hrs and 11 mins

File Type:


Release Date:


File Size:

377.21 MB

Audiobook Summary

In Draining New Orleans, renowned geographer Richard Campanella recounts the epic challenges and ingenious efforts to dewater the Crescent City. With forays into geography, public health, engineering, architecture, politics, sociology, race relations, and disaster response, he chronicles the herculean attempts to “reclaim” the city’s swamps and marshes and install subsurface drainage for massive urban expansion.

The study begins with a vivid description of a festive event on Mardi Gras weekend 1915, which attracted an entourage of elite New Orleanians to the edge of Bayou Barataria to witness the christening of giant water pumps. What transpired in the years and decades that followed can only be understood by examining the large swath of history dating back two centuries earlier and extending through the colonial, antebellum, postbellum, and Progressive eras to modern times.

The consequences of dewatering New Orleans proved both triumphant and tragic. The city’s engineering prowess transformed it into a world leader in drainage technology, yet the municipality also fell victim to its own success. Campanella emphasizes the role of determined and sometimes unsavory individuals who spearheaded projects to separate water from dirt, creating lucrative opportunities in the process not only for the community but also for themselves.

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