Water flowing through the Bonnet Carré Spillway, July 5, 2019. Just a few miles upriver from New Orleans, the spillway diverts water from the Mississippi through Lake Pontchartrain, releasing pressure on lower levee systems during flood stages—at more than 180 days (and counting), the current flood marks the longest on record. Prior to 2019, the spillway had been opened only 12 times, and for no longer than 75 days in a year (1973)—this year, it’s been opened twice, now totaling 100 days. The Army Corps of Engineers has said that it may begin to close some of the 168 open bays this month.

A maintenance crew surveys open bays on Bonnet Carré Spillway