Computer Keeps New Orleans: Head Above Water

by Michael A. Ports, Chief Hydraulic Engineer; Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall, 512 South Peters St., New Orleans, La. 70130,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1985, Vol. 55, Issue 8, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


The city of New Orleans has been beset with drainage problems since its founding in 1718. A major drainage system was installed in the city in the late 1800s, but it has grown increasingly obsolete as the city has sunk and development has grown more intense. To analyze the best strategy for upgrading the system, Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall simulated the current system on a computer. The model was tested with data from actual storms to ensure that it reflected reality. Then the model was modified to reflect various improvement plans to the system. The model simulated how effectively each plan would handle hypothetical storms of varying intensities, allowing planners and the public to decide which plan was the most cost effective.

Subject Headings: Urban areas | Urban and regional development | Storms | Drainage systems | Simulation models | Head (fluid mechanics) | Drainage | New Orleans | Louisiana | United States

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