Mississippi River
Delta Region
Global Warming
City History


Previous Extent of Wetlands
Written by Samantha Fox

New Orleans was founded along the Mississippi River in the early 1700s.  Around this time, it is believed that there were at least 7,000 square miles of wetlands along Louisiana’s coast (USGS, 2006).  However, in the early 1900s the local government in Louisiana wanted to develop as much land as possible because it considered wetlands to be a stagnant place of festering disease (Tibbetts, 2006).  Due to the urbanization of the area, many wetlands were drained and filled to provide agricultural and residential land.  Additionally, with the increase in population, more attention was drawn to controlling the Mississippi River to prevent floods (Colten, 2002).  Since 1930, 1,900 square miles of wetlands have disappeared from the shoreline, resulting in a 20 mile inland shift of the coast (Gelinas, 2006).