New Orleans Topography
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New Orleans Topography

August 31, 2005

The city of New Orleans, situated on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, is shown in this radar image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. In this image, bright areas show regions of high radar reflectivity, such from urban areas, and elevations have been coded in color using height data also from the mission. Dark green colors indicate low elevations, rising through yellow and tan, to white at the highest elevations.

New Orleans is near the center of this scene, between the lake and the Mississippi River. The line spanning the lake is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the world's longest over water highway bridge. Major portions of the city of New Orleans are actually below sea level, and although it is protected by levees and sea walls designed to protect against storm surges of 18 to 20 feet, flooding during storm surges associated with major hurricanes has always been a significant concern.

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