Bonnet Carré Spillway | The Weather Channel

An archaic piece of Great Depression-era engineering designed to tame a powerful and unruly river, the Bonnet Carré Spillway sits upriver from New Orleans and protects the city from flooding by diverting water through a floodway into Lake Ponchartrain.

I spent a few days photographing the spillway from both land, water and air for The Weather Channel. The published story can be seen here.

Water from the swollen Mississippi River pours through the Bonnet Carré Spillway en route to Lake Pontchartrain on January 10, 2016. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Water from the swollen Mississippi River pours through the Bonnet Carré Spillway en route to Lake Pontchartrain on January 10, 2016. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Workers remove creosote soaked timbers from the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The timbers are known as "needles" and allow some water to leak from the river into the spillway even when the spillway is closed. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Workers remove creosote soaked timbers from the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The timbers are known as “needles” and allow some water to leak from the river into the spillway even when the spillway is closed. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Spectators watch as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Spectators watch as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Water from the Mississippi River flows through the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Water from the Mississippi River flows through the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

A spectator takes a photograph of a flood gauge as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

A spectator takes a photograph of a flood gauge as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Workers responsible for opening and closing the Bonnet Carré Spillway stand for a portrait at the spillway on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Workers responsible for opening and closing the Bonnet Carré Spillway stand for a portrait at the spillway on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Water begins to flood a service road as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Water begins to flood a service road as the Bonnet Carré Spillway is opened on January 10, 2016 in Norco, La. The structure was built in 1931 in response to the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 and helps control the river when it reaches flood stage in New Orleans.

Photographs of the Bonnet Carret Spillway zone on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La. Water from the Mississippi River flows through the Bonnet Carré Spillway en route to Lake Pontchartrain on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Photographs of the Bonnet Carret Spillway zone on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La. Water from the Mississippi River flows through the Bonnet Carré Spillway en route to Lake Pontchartrain on January 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Water from the Mississippi River flows into Lake Pontchartrain from the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 16, 2016. The line in the water through the middle of this picture marks the water from Lake Pontchartrain (top), and the water from the river (bottom)

Water from the Mississippi River flows into Lake Pontchartrain from the Bonnet Carré Spillway on January 16, 2016. The line in the water through the middle of this picture marks the water from Lake Pontchartrain (top), and the water from the river (bottom)

Sediment left behind by the Mississippi River at the Bonnet Carré Spillway on February 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

Sediment left behind by the Mississippi River at the Bonnet Carré Spillway on February 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

When the Bonnet Caré Spillway is closed, the site serves as a recreation area for the surrounding community with an airstrip for r/c airplane enthusiasts, areas for 4-wheelers, and boat launches.

When the Bonnet Caré Spillway is closed, the site serves as a recreation area for the surrounding community with an airstrip for r/c airplane enthusiasts, areas for 4-wheelers, and boat launches.

The Bonnet Carré Spillway seen in its closed state on February 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

The Bonnet Carré Spillway seen in its closed state on February 28, 2016 in Norco, La.

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