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Located in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans is one of the most well-known cities in America. New Orleans is one city that’s diverse and rich in different cultures.

New Orleans in the southeast part of the state is built on the Mississippi River. The city is populated with almost 400,000 people, while the metropolitan area is surrounded by over 1.2 million people. The city covers an area of 349.85 square miles and is made up of more water than land.

How far below sea level is New Orleans

New Orleans is built above water the French quarter which is the original and well know part of the city was built during the 18th century on higher grounds. The areas around the French are a little lower, while the most ground area around the city is flat. Although some residents who got to the best parts were able to build ten feet above sea level, it was still a struggle as the city expanded. Everyone understands the importance of elevation even at the time, and it’s a more know fact that lower areas are more prone to flooding, the residents all realized this fact. So how far below sea level is New Orleans?

Studies have shown that below sea level New Orleans is elevated between 0.3m to 0.6m, simply put the average elevation is between 1 foot to 2feet. While in some parts of the city, the elevation above sea level can reach 20 feet, more than half of the city is 1½ – 3 meters or 4.92-9.84 feet below or at sea level.

According to a study carried out by the US geological survey in 2003, it was shown that the ground area around New Orleans was sinking each year at a rate of 1cm. And this is a serious cause of concern because at this sinking rate joined with the sea levels rising globally, by 2100 New Orleans would probably be 8.2 – 13.2 feet or two and a half to four meters deep below sea level.

The beautiful city was built on loose sand which made the situation worse. New Orleans has spongy soil and having municipal sophisticated drainage caused unintended consequences. The drainage system built in 1900 allowed the city to spread but it affected the soil a lot as without water and sediment to strengthen the ground the wetlands corroded and the marshes sunk as much as 8 to 12 feet. Architects were concerned that the ground would not be capable of supporting taller and bigger structures so they built shorter structures and houses New Orleans expanded. But the drainage system worsened the whole situation as by the 1930’s ⅓ of the city was already below sea level as told by New Orleans time – picayune. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 brought forth devastating consequences to this already sinking city and increased the rate at which the city was sinking to fifty percent.