Open Canals

Photo by Karen May, Gutter to Gulf Studio 2010.

Stormwater travels from New Orleans’s pumping stations to Lake Pontchartrain through open canals. Because the water they carry is higher than the land they traverse, the canals must be bounded by high levee walls. These levees are not invulnerable: during Hurricane Katrina, when water was pushed back from the lake into the canals, walls at the 17th Street Canal and the London Avenue Canal failed. Because of their height, the levees create barriers in the city, and they make the water system invisible. The canals could be a civic amenity, but at present they are neither publicly accessible nor beautiful.

These images describe the location and structure of New Orleans’s open canals.

Drawing Credits Phillip Burkhardt, Kenny Fung, Karen May, Julian Pelekanakis, Denise Pinto and Tara Razavi. Gutter to Gulf Studio 2010. John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis

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