Usually we chapter the history of New Orleans by eras of governance, or by traumas such as wars and disasters. We may also interpret local history—or more accurately, historical geography—by how New Orleanians have interacted with the meager but highly valuable topographic elevation of this deltaic plain—its role in selecting this site for the city, where we did and did not urbanize, how we reworked soils and hydrology, at what consequence for urban development, and at what risk for human safety. This illustrated presentation by Tulane geographer and author Richard Campanella will take the audience through over three centuries of topographic history, from precolonial to post-Katrina times.

For more information, contact Regina Cairns at or 504-314-2854.