Draining New Orleans Episode 188

Cover of book Draining New Orleans by Richard Campanella
Draining New Orleans, by Richard Campanella

Draining New Orleans, with Richard Campanella

Discover the hidden tale of New Orleans’ battle against water, where an unexpected twist shaped the city’s destiny. Journey alongside Richard Campanella as he unravels the secrets of its transformative drainage system, revealing a startling revelation.

Brace yourself for a revelation that challenges everything we thought we knew about this historic city. This captivating exploration will leave you questioning the past, present, and future of New Orleans’ water management.

Geography and Topography’s Influence

The influential role of topography and geography on drainage strategies in New Orleans was a significant point of discussion. Being positioned below sea level, the city has had to innovate and overcome floods and water management difficulties over time. Accordingly, the understanding and effective handling of the city’s unique geographical context is vital for combating current and future water-related issues.

Economic and Public Health Motivations

Behind the establishment and progression of New Orleans’ drainage systems were economic interests and pronounced public health concerns. Disease outbreaks such as the 1878 epidemic and the resulting public health crisis brought to the fore the need for an effective drainage system. In modern times, ensuring efficiency in water management is equally important for supporting the city’s infrastructure and maintaining the health and safety of its residents.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Discover the fascinating journey of New Orleans’ evolution through its innovative drainage system.
  • Understand how geography and topography have significantly influenced this city’s unique drainage design.
  • Listen to the compelling economic and public health motivations behind the efforts to improve New Orleans’ drainage systems.
  • Gain insights into how the principle of path dependency influenced the city’s decisions regarding its drainage systems.
  • Explore the main challenges and victories of New Orleans’ in managing their water systems effectively.
  • Trace the intriguing history and development of the drainage systems in New Orleans.
  • Uncover the remarkable impact of the city’s geology on its drainage strategies.
  • Appreciate the decisive role of economic and health factors in the city’s quest to improve its drainage networks.
  • Learn about the city’s triumphs and troubles in tackling its water management needs.

“Let’s embrace the path of progress and make the necessary investments in drainage to ensure a better future for generations to come.” – Richard Campanella


The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection

Support comes from The Historic New Orleans Collection, the city’s premiere history museum, located at five twenty Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter. 

Check out their online publication called First Draft. Its’ a combination blog and online exhibition space. hnoc.org/firstdraft

Through November 5, 2023, check out  their exhibit about women’s right to vote. Titled, “Yet She Is Advancing”: New Orleans Women and the Right to Vote, 1878–1970

The 19th amendment granted American women the right to vote, in 1920,  but Louisiana laws effectively disenfranchised Black women. 

As many white women began going to the polls and increasing their political participation in segregation-era New Orleans, African American women continued to fight for access to the ballot.

This exhibit tells a decades-long story through objects, images, documents, and interactive displays—and through the words of the New Orleans women who for nearly 100 years persisted in their struggle to obtain the vote.

And until October 8, 2023 you can check out the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

As always, the Historic New Orleans Collection is free. It’s somehow continues to fly under the radar, but should not be missed.

Go to HNOC.org/Visit to plan your trip.

All The Bitter

All the Bitter make 100% alcohol free bitters using organic ingredients. Winners of 20 awards from major spirit competitions, they can be used in both alcohol-based and alcohol free concoctions. I’ve tried them in multiple drinks, and on vanilla ice cream.

They have four main bitters now, with several experimental varieties on the way. The ones I have are the New Orleans, inspired by Angostura and Peychaud’s, as well as Orange, Lavender, and Aromatic. Place your order at allthebitter.com and use code BBS15 to get 15% off your oder.

Find out more at allthebitter.com.

Two Chicks Walking Tours

Long term listeners are familiar with Two Chicks Walking Tours and their small group approach to public walks through the Garden District and the French Quarter.

For those new to the topic they limit group size to half the number of guests of other companies. Frequent tour takers know that size matters.

They’re also experts at curating private tours including a variety of themes such as literature tours through the French Quarter and a Marigny highlights tour option. The team has also traversed the CBD and warehouse with groups in tow discussing the city’s unique development and characteristics. Summer specials on private tours are currently available. THey’ve organized private tours for as little as a single guest to over 200. Please check them out.

Find out more at Two Chicks Walking Tours.com Use code Beyond and get 15% off. We’ll also put a link in the show notes.

Liz Wood Realty

The most frequent questions I get are about moving to New Orleans. If you are ready to make the move, you need a good realtor.

That’s where Liz Wood comes in.

Let Liz and her team over at Liz Wood Realty help you find the right place. They can help whether you plan to rent or purchase

New Orleans is a terrific city, but choosing the neighborhood that’s the best fit for you can be overwhelming.

Liz makes the process fun and easy. Reach out to Liz at lizwoodrealty.com and make your dream of living in New Orleans a reality. Several members of our community have done just that and are thrilled with their new homes You will be, too!

The other thing that sets Liz apart is what she does after she helps you find a home. Liz does a great job at building community and helping you get connected with people in your new area. When you’re ready to make New Orleans home, reach out to Liz.

Tommy Manzella At Gulf Coast Bank

While you are looking for a home or rental to purchase, you need to probably need to secure financing. Reach out to Tommy Manzella at Gulf Coast Mortgage and let him help you get everything in place.

That’s what we did on our refi and it was as smooth as could be. We went through the same process with Tommy when we were considering purchasing a new home and it was just as easy. Reach out to Tommy Manzella at https://www.gulfbank.com/mortgage-lenders/tommy-manzella.

Thank You

Thanks to Richard Campanella for joining me today! To purchase Richard’s book, Draining New Orleans, click here. And thanks to all of you who listen and reach out to me each week. Thanks also to our podcast editor Joel Sharpton from Pro Podcast Services. 

Subscribe to the Podcast

If you enjoy the show, please subscribe to the podcast on

Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SpotifyGoogle Play Music or wherever you get your podcasts. If you do enjoy listening, please share Beyond Bourbon Street with someone who shares our love of New Orleans.

Purchase our Travel Guide to New Orleans

Did you know I wrote a book. The Beyond Bourbon Street Insider’s Guide to New Orleans is your curated guide to exploring the city as if you were my guest. To discover purchase options, click here.

Contact Us

Got an idea for an episode, have some feedback or just want to say hi?

Leave us a message at 504-475-7632 or send an email to mark@beyondbourbonst.com

Thanks for listening!



New Orleans is so much more than the Bourbon Street scenes you may have seen–– it’s a 300-year-old city made up of vibrant neighborhoods, diverse populations, and traditions layered upon each other.
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