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Maps: Crescent Cities
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For an eighteenth century explorer like Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, waterways were highways and he determined that the mouth of the Mississippi River and access to Lake Pontchartrain determined a perfect situation for "L'Isle de la Nouvelle Orléans." But for residents of the city, the "island" of New Orleans burdens them with unusual responsibilities. Built in a shallow bowl between lake and river, the city depends on natural and man made levees -- hills lining the riverbank -- to keep their city from flooding.

It's all about the water -- and trying to control it.

See how New Orleans has changed since the first European settlers arrived and how centuries later, the city is still vulnerable to the power of nature.


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New Orleans American Experience

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