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will be straddling the ridgepoles of their ered with sand. It is impossible to cabins, shouting at every passing motor reckon how much some plantations may boat or skiff..
have been enriched by soil deposits. A month, and the young corn and At least 2,500,000 acres were under cane, the ploughed but yet unplanted cot water in Louisiana, including a score of ton fields and the little truck farms a small towns. This is close to one-elevhundred miles away will be under water enth the area of the State. The overflow while the carcasses of hundreds of stock in the upper Mississippi Delta, that furnish roosts for myriad buzzards; famous cotton-growing region, and in while the white landowners are accepting Arkansas, brought the total above 3,000,the hospitality of friends in a neighbor- 000 acres. At Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton ing city, and the negro tenants are living Rouge, and a dozen smaller points, over on Government rations in a cotton com 200,000 refugees, the big majority press which serves as a refugee camp. negroes, were fed by the Government
and clothed and housed by the States and Floods in the lower Mississippi Valley by private charity. caused a loss of $100,000,000 this spring, It was the highest water the Valley it is conservatively estimated. Five im has ever known. Extension of the levee portant crevasses in the main levees of system tends to increase floods each year, the Mississippi River, three breaks in the for the natural reservoirs are cut off. Atchafalaya, three minor breaks in the Denudation of the forests acts in the Mississippi did the damage. One hun same way, for a forest, too, is a natural dred millions is an estimate, but it has reservoir for rainfall. Perhaps never no solid basis. No one knows what the before was the Mississippi called upon crops in the overflowed area might have to carry the "peak of the load" of the been they might have been bumper floods in the Ohio, the Missouri, the yields, and they might have been nipped by frost or curtailed by drought. It is almost impossible to compute the number of farm animals drowned, the houses destroyed or damaged, the fences swept away, the fields denuded of soil and cov
PHOTO, UNDERWOOD & UNDERWOOD, N. Y.
of hills, the Mississippi River levees and the levees of the Red, converging at the
peculiar bit of country where the MissisLOUISIANA
sippi, the Red, the Old River and the MISSISSIPPI Atchafalaya are united. This is the crit
ical location, and levee engineers made SNATCHEZ
a hard fight, but lost, and the great levee ALEXANDRIA
at Torras gave way, by far the most disastrous crevasse of the present flood.
Meanwhile, the levee at Beulah, Miss., *BATON ROUGE
on the east-left-bank broke, flooding the upper Delta, which includes Sharkey, Issaquena, Bolivar and Washington counties.
Water from the Torras break spread over a vast area, and the break itself
widened to a gateway for the roaring THE OVERFLOWED TERRITORY ALONG THE LOWER
waters more than half a mile wide. Still MISSISSIPPI THE PAST SPRING.
the gauges below climbed, and at last, The shaded portions indicate.the submerged areas. It is estimated that nearly five million acres in Arkan
the levee at Hymelia plantation, about sas, Mississippi and Louisiana were flooded. forty miles above New Orleans, but on
the opposite, the right bank, gave way. Red, the Arkansas, and a dozen minor There were minor breaks. At Angola, streams all at once. The gauges on the La., the state penitentiary farm was Mississippi began climbing early, and flooded. Bayou Sara, La., was inunkept climbing, late until they had ex dated, and a small break near the Gulf ceeded all previous records of the United did a little damage. A populous trucking States Weather Bureau, in some cases and cane region in Avoyelles parish was by more than two feet.
flooded by a break in the levees protectThe first break in the lower river was ing Bayou des Glaizes. Three crevasses at Panther Forest, Ark. Then came the in the Atchafalaya River levee system, crevasse at Salem Landing, La. The above and below Melville, La., inundated water from these two spread downward that town, and a large surrounding area, until it narrowed between the low range much of which was swamp. This prac
"SACKING" A LEVEE'S TOP NEAR BATON ROUGE, LA.
tically completes the
The upper end of the broken levee is seen in the middle
background, with the water rushing through.
In the face of all
own board. this, one of the most
The boards are extensive planters in
composed of Louisiana, a man
planters, phywhose personal loss
sicians, railis heavy, says: “If
road men, busithis leads to Fed
ness men, and eral control of the
-let it be whisentire levee system,
pered — someI shall feel that it
times a polihas been gain.”
tician slips in. The sentiment is
Usually these echoed throughout
boards are efthe lower river
ficient. They States. At present,
employ the THE BIG BREAK AT HYMELIA. LA. the United States,
best engineers theoretically, simply
they can. But preserves the Miss
no one argues issippi River as a navigable stream that this disjointed, uneven, locally-influWhen it builds levees, it does so upon enced plan can vie with the efficiency of the principle that it is improving a steam- the War Department. Whatever the boat lane, not upon the idea that it is muck-rakers may say of our Army, no protecting marvelously rich land from one yet has suggested that the engineeroverflow. Be the theory what it may, ing corps harbors many bunglers. WitGovernment levees are the best levees, ness Colonel Goethals. En passant, there and the need of unified control of the are enthusiasts who urge that in 1915. 1,486 miles of the system, from New when the greatest canal has been opened, Madrid, Mo., to Fort Jackson, La., is Colonel Goethals be given the bigger recognized. So far, the States have job of harnessing the greatest river, and stood two-thirds the cost of the system, protecting the lands behind it. their share amounting to about $80,000,- Much of the news which has been 000. It has been money well spent, for printed concerning the great flood this it has been their own faith in the work year must have been a riddle to the genand their own zeal which has prompted eral public. To the average citizen who what governmental aid has been given, lives far from the Mississippi, a levee and which has made it not improbable means a dike which holds off water, and that within a few years, the United no more. What care is expended in States will take over the control of the building these embankments, and what banks as well as of the stream.
money, time and skill, never has conThe levee system now is divided into cerned him. districts, each district in charge of its Levee building is an art which has
been studied for about two hundred to seepage; does not cave away, or sufyears, for Le Blond de la Tour, the fer much from wave wash—but "buckFrench engineer, built the first levee, a shot" is not to be found everywhere. mile long, in front of the infant city of One rule is invariable. Rock must not New Orleans in 1717. Now there are be used. Not a stone or a stick goes close to 300,000,000 cubic yards of them into a levee. These tend to make a levee and except where the mouths of tribu- porous, and a vertical filter is the last taries or natural elevations preclude their thing desired. Packed earth is the best, necessity they extend on both sides of the and for this reason, an old levee is better stream from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to the than a new. The earth packs and dries Gulf, 1,039 miles.
harder and harder with each succeeding Sixteen feet is a good average height, summer, and grows a thick matting of with an eight-foot crown, and a forty- sod, than which there is no better proeight foot base. The proportion of three tection from wave wash. Every effort to one is kept, so that the Morganza, is made to grow grass on the levees. La.,-levee, the greatest dike in the Where a wide batture can be found, world outside of Holland, is thirty-five the situation is even more safe. The feet high and more than one hundred batture is the flat table of land which feet wide at the base-a mountain range stretches out to the channel of the river, in miniature.
a flat stretch between the toe of the levee Of course, a
and the stream in levee has to be
low water. A batbuilt from the
ture is a silt dedirt readily at
posit, but so old, hand, so there
often, that goodare "buckshot”
sized oaks and loa m levees,
thick screens of Louisiana mud
willows grow levees, and sandy
upon it. The realevees, ranking in A TOPPED LEVEE AT BATON Rouge,
son for the factor value in the
of safety a batorder named.
ture offers is al“Buckshot” is
most self-evident. the material par
The current over excellence. It is
the batture seltough ; it packs
dom is as swift well; it offers
as in midresistance
THESE TWO PHOTOGRAPHS VIVIDLY ILLUSTRATE HOW THE PEOPLE ALONG THE LOWER
MISSISSIPPI BRAVELY CONTENDED WITH THE GREAT FLOOD.
levee almost touches the steep slope of the channel.
Sneaking allies of the impatient river are the crawfish and the muskrat. A
for a single crawfish can do untold damage, given good opportunity. So it is with the muskrat. His pelt is worth, perhaps, fifty cents, but alive, he can do as much