Atchafalaya River

Atchafalaya Basin Sherburne Complex Wildlife Management Area
Formation of the Atchafalaya River and construction of the Old River Control Structure.
Two egrets on the limbs of a cypress in the Atchafalaya flood basin.

137 mi distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River in south central Louisiana in the United States.

- Atchafalaya River

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Morgan City, Louisiana

Small city in St. Mary and lower St. Martin parishes in the U.S. State of Louisiana.

Flooding in May 1973

Morgan City sits on the banks of the Atchafalaya River.

Atchafalaya Basin

Largest wetland and swamp in the United States.

A swamp in the Atchafalaya Basin.
Time lapsed animation of basin from 1956 to 1993.
Aerial view of the Big Island Mining Project restoration site on Atchafalaya Bay.
View of the south side of the I-10 bridge crossing the basin.

Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge.

Mississippi River

Second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system.

The beginning of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca (2004)
Former head of navigation, St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, viewed from Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin
The Upper Mississippi River at its confluence with the Missouri River north of St. Louis
The confluence of the Mississippi (left) and Ohio (right) rivers at Cairo, Illinois, the demarcation between the Middle and the Lower Mississippi River
Lower Mississippi River near New Orleans
Map of the Mississippi River watershed
Sequence of NASA MODIS images showing the outflow of fresh water from the Mississippi (arrows) into the Gulf of Mexico (2004)
View along the former riverbed at the Tennessee/Arkansas state line near Reverie, Tennessee (2007)
In Minnesota, the Mississippi River runs through the Twin Cities (2007)
Community of boathouses on the Mississippi River in Winona, MN (2006)
The Mississippi River at the Chain of Rocks just north of St. Louis (2005)
A low-water dam deepens the pool above the Chain of Rocks Lock near St. Louis (2006)
The Stone Arch Bridge, the Third Avenue Bridge and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis (2004)
The Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge (2004)
The Chain of Rocks Bridge at St. Louis, Missouri
The Hernando de Soto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee (2009)
Vicksburg Bridge
Towboat and barges at Memphis, Tennessee
Ships on the lower part of the Mississippi
Oil tanker on the Lower Mississippi near the Port of New Orleans
Barge on the Lower Mississippi River
Lock and Dam No. 11, north of Dubuque, Iowa (2007)
Lock and Dam No. 2, near Hastings, Minnesota (2007)
Lock and Dam No. 15, is the largest roller dam in the world Davenport, Iowa; Rock Island, Illinois. (1990)
Formation of the Atchafalaya River and construction of the Old River Control Structure.
Project design flood flow capacity for the Mississippi river in thousands of cubic feet per second.
Soldiers of the Missouri Army National Guard sandbag the River in Clarksville, Missouri, June 2008, following flooding.
Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto A.D. 1541 by William Henry Powell depicts Hernando de Soto and Spanish Conquistadores seeing the Mississippi River for the first time.
Map of the French settlements (blue) in North America in 1750, before the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763).
Ca. 1681 map of Marquette and Jolliet's 1673 expedition.
Route of the Marquette-Jolliete Expedition of 1673
A Home on the Mississippi (1871)
Shifting sand bars made early navigation difficult.
Battle of Vicksburg (ca. 1888)
Mississippi River from Eunice, Arkansas, a settlement destroyed by gunboats during the Civil War.
Campsite at the river in Arkansas
The Old River Control Structure complex. View is to the east-southeast, looking downriver on the Mississippi, with the three dams across channels of the Atchafalaya River to the right of the Mississippi. Concordia Parish, Louisiana is in the foreground, on the right, and Wilkinson County, Mississippi, is in the background, across the Mississippi on the left.
Great River Road in Wisconsin near Lake Pepin (2005)
The American paddlefish is an ancient relict from the Mississippi

A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans.

Simmesport, Louisiana

Town in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, United States.

It is the northernmost town on the Atchafalaya River, located near the Old River which connects the Red and Atchafalaya rivers with the Mississippi River.

Red River of the South

Major river in the Southern United States.

State Highway No. 78 Bridge at the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas, photographed on the Oklahoma side
Crossing the Red River at the Texas–Oklahoma border from I-35
The Red River took a new channel near Natchitoches, Louisiana, and left behind Cane River Lake.
Point bars, abandoned meander loops, oxbow lakes in Lafayette and Miller counties, Arkansas
Salt beds in the Red River
Crossing the North Fork of the Red River near Granite, Oklahoma, 1921.
Red River, Texas
Red River LA 2 Bridge, not the Jimmie Davis Bridge, atop the Red River between Bossier and Caddo parishes near Shreveport
Popular pedestrian walkway along the Red River in Alexandria, Louisiana

Although once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico.

Old River Control Structure

Floodgate system in a branch of the Mississippi River in central Louisiana.

The Old River Control Structure complex. View is to the east-southeast, looking downriver on the Mississippi, with the three dams across channels leading to the Atchafalaya River to the right of the Mississippi. Concordia Parish, Louisiana is in the foreground, on the right, and Wilkinson County, Mississippi, is in the background, across the Mississippi on the left.
Old River low-sill control structure discharging water into the Atchafalaya, May 2011
Formation of the Atchafalaya River and construction of the Old River Control Structure.
A diagram that depicts river flows associated with Project Design Flood.

It regulates the flow of water from the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya River, thereby preventing the Mississippi River from changing course.


Stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel.

Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta, with the flow from right to left, showing several streams branching off from their main streams
Atchafalaya River
Satellite image of part of the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta
A seasonal distributary of the Kaveri River on the Kaveri delta, near Nannilam, India
Delta of Papua New Guinea's Fly River

In Louisiana, the Atchafalaya River is an important distributary of the Mississippi River.


State in the Deep South and South Central regions of the United States.

Louisiana entrance sign off Interstate 20 in Madison Parish east of Tallulah
Watson Brake, the oldest mound complex in North America
Poverty Point UNESCO site
Troyville Earthworks, once the second tallest earthworks in North America
French Acadians, who came to be known as Cajuns, settled in southern Louisiana, especially along the banks of its major bayous.
Map of New France (blue color) in 1750, before the French and Indian War
Free woman of color with mixed-race daughter; late 18th-century collage painting, New Orleans
Saint Dominican Creoles
French pirate Jean Lafitte, who operated in New Orleans, was born in Port-au-Prince around 1782.
Map of Louisiana in 1800
Louisiana Purchase, 1803
'Signing the Ordinance of Secession of Louisiana, January 26, 1861', oil on canvas painting, 1861
Capture of New Orleans, April 1862, colored lithograph of engraving
A young African American man in Morganza, 1938
National Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana, 1938
View of flooded New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Map of Louisiana
Aerial view of Louisiana's wetland habitats
A field of yellow wildflowers in St. Bernard Parish
Honey Island Swamp
Entrance to the Bald Eagle Nest Trail at South Toledo Bend State Park
Bogue Chitto State Park
Geographic map of Louisiana
Population density and low elevation coastal zones in the Mississippi River Delta. The Mississippi River Delta is especially vulnerable to sea level rise.
Louisiana's population density
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in New Orleans
Cargo ship at the Port of New Orleans
Tabasco varieties produced in Louisiana
Typical dishes of Louisiana Creole cuisine
El Museo de los Isleños (Isleño Museum) in Saint Bernard
The languages of historic Native American tribes who inhabited what is now Louisiana include: Tunica, Caddo, Natchez, Choctaw, Atakapa, Chitimacha and Houma.
Louisiana's bilingual state welcome sign, recognizing its French heritage
Aerial view of Louisiana State University's flagship campus
A streetcar on the St. Charles Avenue Line in New Orleans
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway near New Orleans
The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the tallest state capitol building in the United States
The Louisiana Governor's Mansion
Treemap of the popular vote by parish, 2016 presidential election
Mardi Gras celebrations in the Spanish Town section of Baton Rouge
Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

Many current place names in Louisiana, including Atchafalaya, Natchitouches (now spelled Natchitoches), Caddo, Houma, Tangipahoa, and Avoyel (as Avoyelles), are transliterations of those used in various Native American languages.

Morganza Spillway

Flood-control structure in the U.S. state of Louisiana.

The Morganza Spillway, between the Mississippi River and the Atchafalaya Basin, shown while open in 1973. Water flows from the Mississippi (upper right) into the Morganza Floodway (lower left).
One of the 125 gates on the tail bay side of the Morganza Floodway.
A diagram that depicts river flows flow through the Morganza Spillway to the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers associated with a project design flood, which is the hypothetical "maximum probable" flood of the Mississippi River, as estimated by the Corps of Engineers. The water channel flow rates are listed in cubic feet per second.
Aerial photograph of the first bay opening on the Morganza Floodway on 14 May 2011. The Mississippi River is in the upper left background, and the Atchafalaya Floodway to the right.
Water travel time down the Morganza Floodway after the May 14, 2011 opening.
Natural-colour satellite image of the Floodway on May 15, 2011.
False colour satellite image of the Floodway on May 15, 2011.

The spillway stands between the Mississippi and the Morganza Floodway, which leads to the Atchafalaya Basin and the Atchafalaya River in south-central Louisiana.

Great Raft

Log jam on the Quinault River, Washington, United States

The Great Raft was a gigantic log jam or series of "rafts" that clogged the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers and was unique in North America in terms of its scale.