Today in New Orleans History

April 4

Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

Carrollton Purification Plant
April 4, 1953
TodayInNewOrleansHistory/1953April4PurificationPlantCarrollton.jpgDuring the 1950s, the Sewerage and Water Board doubled the capacity of the main Water Purification Plant in Carrollton, expanding its production capability from 112 million gallons of water per day to 300 million. This photo from the New Orleans Public Library's Municipal Government Photograph Collection was taken by Leon Trice from the top of the main building on April 4, 1953, during the expansion project.
Historically, water for drinking or general use was either collected in large cypress cisterns that stored rain water from the roof tops or taken from the river and allowed to settle in large earthenware jars. At that time, there were no purification or sterilization procedures.

Without a municipal water supply, the greater part of the city burned to the ground in 1788 and again in 1794. Ironically, over 300 billion gallons of water a day were pouring down the Mississippi less than two blocks from the fire. This amount is more than the present city uses in six years.

A sewage collection and disposal system was also non-existent. Human waste was disposed of in the open pit privy, while household wastes found their way into open gutters. Such unsanitary conditions gave rise to typhoid fever, yellow fever, cholera, and other diseases, which decimated the population at regular intervals.

Today, New Orleans is provided with water, drainage and sewerage facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, where and when they are needed.

The Louisiana Engineering Society, in honor of it's 75th anniversary in 1973, selected the water, drainage, and sewerage systems of New Orleans as among the ten most outstanding engineering achievements in the state. This is a great honor accorded to both our community and the SEWERAGE AND WATER BOARD.

By 1893, it became apparent to city leaders that accommodation of area growth would depend on their ability to keep New Orleans drained, dry, adequately supplied with water for drinking and fire protection, and provided with a sanitary sewerage system. Planning for the three systems began that year.

In 1896, the New Orleans Drainage Commission was organized to carry out a master drainage plan that had been developed for the city. Three years later, in 1899, the Sewerage and Water Board was authorized by the Louisiana Legislature to furnish, construct, operate, and maintain a water treatment and distribution system and a sanitary sewerage system for New Orleans. In 1903, the Drainage Commission was merged with the Sewerage and Water Board in order to consolidate drainage, water, and sewerage programs under one agency for more efficient operations. This combined organization retained the title Sewerage and Water Board, and remains as such today.

The Sewerage and Water Board consists of the Mayor, the two at-large members of the City Council, one district councilman selected by the Council, two members of the board of Liquidation, City Debt, and seven citizen members appointed by the Mayor, in accordance with the law, for overlapping terms of 9 years. The Board holds committee and regular meetings once each month, to which the public is invited.

Once formally organized, the Sewerage and Water Board set out to fulfill its goals of providing the city with adequate drainage, sewerage collection, and drinking water. Between 1879 and 1915, $27,500,000 was spent on the construction of water, sewerage, and drainage facilities. At that time, funds for construction came from either a special two-mill tax on all property or one-half of the surplus from the one per-cent debt tax. Today, the Board gets funding in part from sources which include the three-, six-, and nine-mill property taxes.

Such extensive construction was a bold step for a city at that time. Present day construction costs are more than forty times those of the early 1900's. At current prices, such a program could amount to billions of dollars. Furthermore, this monumental program was financed by a population of far less than one-half that of present-day New Orleans.
River water from the Mississippi River is pumped to the Carrollton Water Purification Plant from two large river pumping stations. River water pumped from the two river pumping stations is delivered to the Carrollton Plant through several large pipelines. Mississippi River water contains large amounts of suspended solids.

Step 1 - Coagulation
As the river water enters the Carrollton Plant, the purification process begins with the addition of coagulant chemicals: ferric sulfate and polyelectrolyte. These chemicals are added to the process at very precise dosages and mixed rapidly with the river water to ensure efficient and complete coagulation. Coagulant chemicals cause the very fine particles that make up the suspended solids present in the river water to clump together, or coagulate. Ferric sulfate is our primary coagulant, and polyelectrolyte is used as a coagulant aid.

Step 2 - Flocculation
After the raw water has been coagulated, it is gently mixed by large mechanical paddles in a process called flocculation. Flocculation causes the fine, light particles that were created during the coagulation process to mature into larger, denser, stable particles that will settle quickly.

Step 3 - Sedimentation
The flocculated water then travels into primary settling basins or clarifiers. In the primary settling basins, the large, dense particles formed during the coagulation and flocculation processes settle allowing the clarified water to be separated and forwarded on through the remainder of the water treatment process. The settled particles form a sludge layer on the bottom of each primary settling basin. This sludge is periodically removed from the basins and returned to the Mississippi River through a permitted discharge.

Step 4 - Disinfection
After the clarified water leaves the settling basins, the disinfection process begins with the addition of chlorine. Ammonia is added following the chlorine addition, producing chloramine. The chloramine disinfected water passes through a second set of basins to provide detention time for the disinfection process to go to completion.

Step 5 - pH Adjustment
The next step in the process is adjustment of the pH of the water. Lime, also known as calcium oxide, is added during this step to achieve the desired target pH. Adjusting the pH makes the water more basic, and less corrosive to the pipes in our water distribution system and the plumbing in our customers' homes, as well as extends the life of the disinfectant residual in the distribution system. A small amount of polyphosphate solution is also added with the lime. Polyphosphate is used as a sequestrant, which helps to keep the lime in dissolved in the water.

Step 6 - Fluoridation
After the water exits the secondary settling basins, it is treated fluorosilicic acid. A small dose of fluorosilicic acid is added at this point in the treatment process, which adds fluoride to the drinking water to aid in the prevention of dental cavities.

Step 7 - Filtration
The final step in the purification process is filtration through rapid gravity filters. This type of filter uses granular filter media (sand and anthracite at our facilities) to remove any remaining suspended particles in the water. This step in the treatment process consists of passing the water through a filter at a controlled rate. Any particles remaining in the water adhere to the filter media and are removed from the water.

After filtration, the purification process is complete.

Filtered water is collected from the many filters in service and flows to one of several pumping stations located on the plant grounds, where it is pumped and delivered to our customers to provide water for drinking and for fire protection.

The Sewerage and Water Board also operates a water treatment plant on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Algiers. The purification process at the Algiers Water Purification Plant is similar to that of the Carrollton Water Plant, utilizing the same water treatment chemicals with a slightly modified process.

The Carrollton plant normally yields about 135 million gallons per day of finished water for the east bank of Orleans Parish. The Algiers Plant, which serves the predominantly residential west bank portion of the parish, purifies about 11 million gallons per day of water. Combined, the two plants treat approximately 54 billion gallons of water per year, removing 18,000 tons of solid material from the raw river water.

The treated water at the two plants is pumped through more than 1,610 miles of mains to more than 100,000 service connections. It is delivered to approximately 300,000 people on the east bank of Orleans Parish and approximately 53,000 people on the west bank.  Source: Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

You Can Support this Site by Clicking on & Shopping from this Amazon Link -- and it won't cost you a penny more:
Shushan Airport Milneburg Joys

To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History

On April 4, 2011, Flight 497 Airbus A320 experienced electrical failure which resulted inan emergency landing at 7:25 a.m. EDT  at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The plane came safely to a rest in a patch of grass, a third of a mile before the end of Runway 19, with a blown tire and emergency slides stretching to the ground where 106 passengers and crew milled about.

William Hodding Carter, Jr., editor, publisher, author. Born, Hammond, La., February 3, 1907; son of William Hodding, Sr., (q.v.) and Irma Dutartre. Education: Bowdoin College, A.A., 1927; student in journalism, Columbia, 1927-1928; Tulane University, 1928-1929; Harvard, 1939; M. A. (honorary), Harvard, 1947; Litt. D. (honorary), Bowdoin College, 1947; L. H. D. (honorary), Washington University, 1954; Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary, 1965; H. H. D., Coe College, 1958; LL. D., Allegheny College. Married, October 14, 1931, Betty Werlein, of New Orleans. Children: William Hodding Carter III (b. 1936?), Philip Dutartre Carter (b. 1941?), Tommy Carter (b. 1946?). Career: Teaching fellow, Tulane University, 1928-1929; reporter, New Orleans Item-Tribune, 1929; night bureau manager, United Press, New Orleans, 1930; manager Associated Press Bureau, Jackson, Miss., 1931-1932; started Hammond Daily Courier, editor, publisher, 1932-1936; started Greenville, Miss., Delta Democrat-Times, 1939; newspaper editor New York PM, 1939; civilian aide to secretary of army, 1952-1960; writer in residence, Tulane University, 1962-1968. Member: Trustee of George Peabody College for Teachers, 1952-1965; board of overseers, Bowdoin College; National Citizens Council Better Schools; board of visitors, Tulane University, 1953-1962; Pulitzer Prize Advisory Board, 1951-1961; American Society of Newspaper Editors. Army service: joined National Guard, 1938; published Dixie, 31st Division paper, Camp Blanding, Fla., 1940; Army Bureau of Public Relations, Washington, D. C., 1940-1941; editor: Stars and Stripes, Yank, Middle East edits., Cairo, Egypt; retired as major, 1945; awarded War Department citation, 1946. Awards: Nieman fellowship for newspapermen, Harvard, 1939; Guggenheim fellowship, 1945; Pulitzer prize, 1946; Southern Literary Award, 1945; fellow, Sigma Delta Chi, 1954; William A. White Foundation national citation of journalistic merit, 1961; recipient, Bowdoin Prize, 1963; First Federal award, 1968; Journalism Alumni award, Columbia University, 1971. Published: The Winds of Fear (1945); Southern Legacy (1950); Robert E. Lee and the Road of Honor (1954); So Great a Good (1955); The Commander of World War II (1966); Their Words Were Bullets (1969). Died Greenville, Miss., April 4, 1972; interred Greenville Cemetery. M.L.K. Sources: Who's Who in the South and Southwest; Who Was Who in America (1973).  Source:

In 1940, Fannie Levy Mayer bequeathed $250,000 to the New Orleans Public Library in memory of her husband Norman Mayer. Plans to spend the Mayer funds to erect two new branches were delayed by the onset of World War II, but Mrs. Mayer's gift eventually built the Gentilly Branch, which opened on March 28, 1949, and the Broadmoor Branch, dedicated on April 4, 1954.  It served the community until the early 1980s when the building was condemned by city officials. The new Broad--now Rosa Keller--Branch replaced the old structure in 1993.  (NOPL)

deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., January 18, 1912—May 22, 1964) was the mayor of New Orleans from April 4, 1946 until July 17, 1961 who failed in three hard-fought bids for the then-pivotal Louisiana Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He also served as an appointee of U.S. President John F. Kennedy as the United States ambassador to the Organization of American States between 1961 and 1963. New Orleans' peak population was reached during Morrison's mayoralty, when the 1960 census recorded 627,525 inhabitants, a 10 percent increase from the 1950 figures. Though the population of metropolitan New Orleans would continue to grow until Hurricane Katrina, the city itself has yet to regain its 1960 high-water mark.  deLesseps Morrison was born in New Roads, the seat of Pointe Coupee Parish. He died in an airplane crash in Ciudad Victoria,

Flood on April 4, 1866...

CSS PAMLICO, a side-wheel steamer purchased in New Orleans on July 10, 1861, was placed in commission of the Confederate navy on September 2 with Leutenant W. G. Dozier, CSN in command. She operated in the vicinity of New Orleans, clashing ineffectually with vessels of the Federal blockading squadron on December 4 and 7, 1861, and on March 25 and April 4, 1862. PAMLICO was burned by her officers on Lake Pontchartrain, when New Orleans fell to the Union.

Denis Prieur, a Creole, born in 1791, was elected the eighth mayor of New Orleans and took office on May 12, 1828. Previous to his election he was City Recorder.  He was a Jacksonite,  the precurser of the democratic organization of Louisiana.  He was re-elected unanimously each term during a period of ten years. He was re-elected by the Democratic Party on April 4, 1842 and served until February 7, 1843 when he resigned to take charge of the office of Mortgage Registrar to which position he was appointed by the Governor.  In 1828 the legislature of Louisiana passed a law prohibiting the exhibition of Negroes for sale in the more frequented parts of the city. During his admnisitration: he condemned the mal-treatment and frightful abuse of slaves. These changes were approved. John Holland, the sheriff and a large number of local troops proceeded to a certain scene to avert an insurrection among the slaves (the adventures of Bras Coupe were of great interest at that time because the white population in those days greatly feared him and newspapers advertised a reward for the capture of fugitive slaves); n 1829 Donaldsonville became the State Capital, possibly because the legislature had no place to meet due to the burning of the State Court House in New Orleans and also because it was deemed unwise to expose the members to the temptations of the pleasures and distractions of city life but  in 1831 the seat of Government was returned to New Orleans. A year later the buildings occupied by the Charity Hospital located at Common and Baronne Streets became vacant, by the removal of the institution to its site on Tulane Avenue. They then became the property of the State and were used as the home of the various governmental departments and as the meeting place of both branches of legislature during the following sixteen years; an epidemic of cholera broke out in 1832 in which the defective water was thought to be the cause. Six thousand persons perished within twelve days. One hospital deserted by physicians and attendants, was found filled with corpses, and the ghastly contents as well as the buildings were ordered to be burned; in 1834 the First Presbyterian Church was built facing Lafayette Square; the St. Charles Theatre was built in 1836 at the cost of $350,000; the first St. Charles Hotel was completed in 1838 costing $600,000. He later served as, Collector of Customs.  He died on November 9, 1857 at the age of 66, from a paralytic stroke. His funeral, which took place from the residence of his sister, Mrs. Le Monier, 193 Canal Street, was one of the largest ever held in New Orleans.  (From the New Orleans Public Library)

On April 4, 1832, the Conseil de Ville (City Council) offcially recognized that Mr. H. C. Baronnet Risingson has been duly elected City Blacksmith and Fire Engine Guardian to replace Mr. Auguste Demarets, deceased.

On April 4, 1812, the Territory of Orleans, which had been organized in 1804, was admitted to the Union as the 18th State. It was not contiguous to any other state, since Mississippi was not admitted until 1817, Arkansas until 1836, and Texas in 1845. 

The Conseil de Ville (City Council), by resolution of March 14, 1805, authorized the Mayor to appoint commissaries for the various districts of the city. While the resolution does not go into detail as to duties and responsibilities, it does suggest that a similar system had existed during the Spanish regime and that its success made it worthy of continuation. Shortly thereafter, on April 4, 1805, the Council set salaries for the Commissaries, identifying a Commissary General, an Assistant Commissary, and four Constables. These officers were to be appointed by the Mayor.

To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History

If you have enjoyed these daily updates, you might also enjoy these books by Catherine Campanella:



You Can Support this Site by Clicking on & Shopping from the Amazon Ad/Link below -- and it won't cost you a penny more:

Abreviations used on this site: NOPL (New Orleans Public Library), LOC (Library of Congress), LDL (Lousiana Digital Library), HNOC (Historic New Orleans Collection), WIKI (Wikipedia).

Shushan Airport
To receive an update for each day in New Orleans history,  join our facebook page - Today in New Orleans History.