S ettlers along the river were required to build levees within a certain time period or lose the land. These levees were about two feet high and six feet wide, with both a foot and a horse path on top. Through the years, improvements and enlargements were necessary. Thus began two centuries of lingering threats of flooding on the German Coast from levee breaks, called crevasses. Not until after the first quarter of the twentieth century (with the construction of the Bonnet Carré Spillway) would residents of the German Coast be freed from such annual flooding threats. Levees were in place on both sides of the river as early as the 1730s from about twenty miles below New Orleans to the upper end of the German Coast. This was an impressive accomplishment for the small farm settlers of the German Coast who did not have the labor force of the large concessionaires downriver. Historians always emphasize this fact in their writings. However, levee construction would over the years contribute to wetland loss and rich land building sediment loss as man begins to tame the river.
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Copyright © This text is copyright material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.
Copyright © St. Charles Parish Museum and Historical Association
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