Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



The significance of this site lies in its location. It is three miles away from French Quarter, the heart and origin of the city, and eight miles away from Lake Borgne, as well as the Gulf. Regardless of the size, it distinguishes itself on the map as a wedge of green space inserted sharply into densely developed urban space. The site was prosperous cypress swamp six decades ago, too dense to identify lands and water underneath. However, after the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet was dug in the 1960s, it took less than 30 years for it to transformed into brackish open water. The transformation was disastrous. First of all, the eco-system has been severely damaged. According to a group of researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison, the fresher the water is, the more diverse the eco-system will be. Besides the irreversible damage done to the ecosystem, loss of vegetation resulted in a huge loss of joyous space for the neighborhood. Senior residents still keep the memories of a cypress swamp as a place for recreation and production. Unfortunately, as the vegetation degraded, the role of BBTW changed from protection to the opposite. The force of surge aggregated in this open water pond, posing threats to the vulnerable low-lying neighborhood. After 1960s, a six-feet still wall has been put between BBTW and the neighborhood. reversed its protective function in the face of surges from the Gulf. To protect the neighborhood, Bayou Bienvenue Triangle Wetlands is a creation of men and nature. It was developed as the city’s drainage outlet into the Gulf of Mexico, to carry excessive amount of water due to the unique location of New Orleans. The city, New Orleans, once thrived as the confluence of the Mississippi River, one of the most extensive water systems in the world, and the ocean. The rapid growth in New Orleans shipping activities resulted in extensive dredging and canalling activities in the area between the city and the Gulf. When more and more heavy-loaded ships managed to get to the river, the water from the ocean intruding further and further into coastal wetlands systems, transforming enormous amount of marshes and swamps into open water. According to surveys conducted by USGS, Louisiana's 3 million acres of wetlands are lost at the rate about 75 square kilometers annually, but reducing these losses is proving to be difficult and costly. In this huge devastation of coastal wetlands, 472-acre Bayou Bienvenue Triangle Wetlands(BBTW), the site of this thesis, is a small patch on the map. But is big enough to make a difference.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Allen, Austin