The View From My Windshield: Last Line of Defense

Simmesport, Louisiana—As if New Orleans didn't have enough to worry about in the area of environmental catastrophes, here's another one: The Mississippi River wants out. If it weren't for the Army Corps of Engineers' Old River control system, which carefuSimmesport, Louisiana—As if New Orleans didn’t have enough to worry about in the area of environmental catastrophes, here’s another one: The Mississippi River wants out. If it weren’t for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Old River control system, which carefully manages the flow of water from the Mississippi down into the Atchafalaya River, the Big Muddy would take a right just north of Simmesport and flow into the Gulf of Mexico at Morgan City, bypassing the Big Easy altogether. As John McPhee put it, “The Sixth World War would do less damage to southern Louisiana.”

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  • Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Reach him at tmurphy@motherjones.com.