Louisiana Division/City Archives   New Orleans Public Library

Image of the Month
August 2008

This image has been more or less "hidden" online for the last five and one-half years as part of the Union Passenger Terminal records Photograph series. It was taken at 7:00 on the morning of February 12, 1950, two days after the Bonnet Carré Spillway was opened for the third time in its history. Seventy-two of the floodway's 350 bays had already been opened, and the rest were soon to follow. The structure remained open until March 19.

The structure has been opened six times since 1950, the most recent was earlier this year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining and operating the Spillway. Their description of the structure notes that,

"The spillway protects New Orleans and other downstream communities during major floods on the Mississippi River. This protection is accomplished by diverting a portion of the flood waters into Lake Pontchartrain and thence into the Gulf of Mexico, bypassing New Orleans....[it] consists of two basic components: a control structure along the east bank of the Mississippi River and a floodway that conveys the diverted flood waters to the lake. The control structure is a mechanically controlled concrete weir which extends for over a mile and a half parallel to the river. Confined by guide levees, the floodway stretches nearly six miles to Lake Pontchartrain."
For more information on the Bonnet Carré Spillway see its official web site at http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/pao/bcarre/bcarre.htm.

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