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“The City Below Sea Level” — Why? A Quick History Lesson

Jackson Kuhl, a writer who speciailizes in matters of history and archaeology, offers a quick summary of how New Orleans came to be in “The City Below Sea Level,” published at Tech Central Station.
Bienville had been eager to found a trading post at the foot of a Native American portage along the Mississippi which connected the river to a bayou, and hence to Lake Pontchartrain, in the north. He saw this as his chance. Law and the royal engineer both thought Bienville’s choice was ridiculous — the site was in the middle of a swamp. The small patch of dry ground lay at a curve in the river, Bienville argued, halfway between Fort Rosalie (Natchez) along the Mississippi and Fort Louis at Mobile. Also, he said, it would be safe from hurricanes. Then again, maybe not.