< Back to front page Text size +

New Orleans, from waterlogged to water-rich

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  February 24, 2014 10:47 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

New Orleans has well-chronicled trouble with water: It sits partially below sea level, between a lake and a river, and it stands to flood whenever it rains abnormally hard. The city, which is also sinking, is trying make do by turning its water liabilities into assets. As a short piece in Yale Environment 360 explains, officials recently chose the architecture firm Waggonner & Ball to develop a Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. The firm's ideas, which have been rendered in striking, forward-looking illustrations of a redesigned cityscape, are based around the principle of retaining rainwater where it falls, rather than trying to pump it out of the city, as New Orleans does now. The retained water would be used to fill refurbished Venice-like canals, and to irrigate expansive "greenways"- stretches of lush vegetation in the middle of the city that would absorb the rainwater before it flows into roads and living rooms. If you live in New Orleans, the vision is almost enticing enough to make you say: Let it rain.

Nola 1.jpg

West Esplanade Canal (existing)
Nola 2.jpg

West Esplanade Canal (proposed)
Nola 3.jpg

Lafitte (existing)
Nola 4.jpg

Lafitte (proposed)
Nola 5.jpg

Images courtesy of Waggonner & Ball Architects.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


Browse this blog

by category