Semester of Graduation

May 2019


Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Document Type



Twenty-five years ago, the existing flood protection levees along the Louisiana coastline were removed and construction was started by Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District on a new project called ‘Morganza to the Gulf’ or MTG. This project was undertaken to construct a new flood protection levee system around Louisiana in the communities in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish. The MTG Levee is one of the first coastal projects in Louisiana to incorporate a risk-based analysis for a double levee system containing both local parish drainage levees and future storm surge levees of MTG. It was designed to protect approximately 250,000 people in the coastal parishes the levee encompasses and the remaining fragile marsh from hurricane storm surges. The hurricane protection system, that was initially proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers but executed by the local parish levee districts, consists of approximately 98 miles of earthen levee (the eastern extent of the authorized levee alignment ties into Larose to Golden Meadow levee south of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway); 22 floodgates on navigable waterways; 23 environmental water control structures; and a lock complex consisting of a lock in the Houma Navigation Canal measuring 110 feet wide by 800 feet long, and an adjoining floodgate measuring 250 feet wide, and a dam closure[1]. The ongoing construction of this levee system has created a barrier for the residents of these parishes against storm surges, but has also greatly reduced human access to the Gulf of Mexico. When a community is cut off from one of its predominant natural resources by physical infrastructure there are threats to the cultural, social, and interpersonal capital of the coastal community. Recently there have been additional sources of funding for Gulf of Mexico Restoration and Recovery funding, earmarked for the building of the Morganza to the Gulf Levee protection systems and the surrounding areas, some of which has been allocated for “Enhancing Recreational Value” to the coastal communities of the State of Louisiana. I plan to examine landscape architecture opportunities and possibilities for recreation in the Morganza to the Gulf Levee region of coastal Louisiana.

Committee Chair

Professor Kevin Jon Benham