2005: Late 20th century and Early 21st century
In response to the Flood of 1927, President Coolidge signed the Jones-Reid Act which accommodated spillways along the Mississippi. The Bonnet Carré Spillway 30 miles upriver from New Orleans served as an outlet valve that would take high water on the river and redirect it into Lake Pontchartrain. In the latter half of the 20th century, New Orleans continued to grow and spread wide, accommodated by bridges and highways even as freeway fighters demanded rerouting of new roadways away from the waterfront that made New Orleans special.
1. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
The first Causeway to span Lake Pontchartrain opened in 1956, with a parallel route opening in 1969. The longest bridges in the world at nearly 24 miles, the Causeway brought St. Tammany Parish into metropolitan New Orleans.
A convention center in the heart of the city, Rivergate opened in 1968 but was later overshadowed by the Ernest N Morial Convention Center in the 1980s. Rivergate was demolished in 1995; a Harrah's casino now stands at the site.
3. Interstate 10.
The completion of Interstate 10 in the 1970s allowed for a rapid suburbanization of the city. This process, combined with the integration of schools in the 1960s, changed the demographic composition of New Orleans considerably.
Completed in 1975, the Superdome hosts New Orleans Saints football games, the Sugar Bowl, and has hosted the Superbowl multiple times. During the flood of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, thousands of residents headed to the Superdome where a lack of facilities and a vacuum of authority proved a recipe for chaos.
5. Katrina flood.
Following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleanians breathed a sigh of relief. And then the levees broke, flooding a huge portion of the city. Since then, businesses and residents have returned to the city but the future remains, as always, an improvisation.
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