The New Canal Lighthouse Museum is located on the first floor of the rebuilt lighthouse raised up 19 feet above the level of Lake Pontchartrain. As Louisiana’s only working lighthouse that is open to the public, the museum also serves as cornerstone of LPBF, and has exhibits about the environmental challenges of the lower Mississippi River Delta. The tour will provide a colorful prospective of the history of New Orleans, and serve as a primer for the primary management strategy of the area (Site 2) and a look towards the need for Multiple Lines of Defense (Site 3).
Site 2: Tour Southeast Louisiana’s newest hurricane protection and storm water management structures, which act to prevent storm surge from pushing into drainage canals while simultaneously pumping water into Lake Pontchartrain from the city. The 17th Street Canal pumps will be able to handle 12,600 cubic feet of water a second; the Orleans Avenue Canal pumps will handle 2,700 cubic feet per second; and the London Avenue Canal pumps will handle 9,000 cubic feet per second. Combined, the pumps could fill the Superdome with water in less than 90 seconds. The tour will include a viewing the equipment and machinery at the facility to manage drainage, and a discussion of the unique challenges in Southeast Louisiana, which require these facilities as management strategies.
Site 3: The Bayou St. John is a living classroom and a laboratory for restoration, and puts regional problems in a local perspective: the half-acre marsh is the area lost every half hour in south Louisiana. The urban oasis provides a place for citizens to fish, relax, and recreate. In 2013, the Orleans Levee District dredged a channel through a sand bar that had closed off the mouth of Bayou St John from Lake Pontchartrain. The project needed creative solutions for sediment containment in a high-energy environment. LPBF partnered with EMS Green of Belle Chasse, LA to build retaining walls of geotextile sandbags locked together with spiked plastic “Deltalok” plates. 7,400 bags containing 185 tons of sand were filled and moved by hand to create 560’ of dike in 2’ to 3’ of water, using over 1,000 volunteer hours. In 2014, after proper settling time of the newly placed sediment, the wetland was planted. Over 5,000 plugs of 8 native grass and sedge species were planted by volunteers. The Marsh creation project serves as urban habitat, and demonstrates the value of natural systems providing storm protection and coastal resiliency.