The Mighty Mississippi River

Throughout history, New Orleans has been an important port... the gateway to the mighty Mississippi.
The Mighty Mississippi River
New Orleans
New Orleans exists for only one reason - the river! When originally discovered by French explorers, the mouth of the Mississippi was closed with sandbars, but there was only a short distance to Lake Pontchartrain, so ships could still reach the Gulf of Mexico through the Chef Pass. Throughout history, New Orleans has been an important port... the gateway to the mighty Mississippi.

The Mississippi River is 2,350 miles in length - the longest river in North America. It is surpassed only by the Amazon and the Nile. If you combine the 300 rivers that empty into the great river, then the length becomes 3,484 miles. The River drains one and a quarter million square miles and is drained into by 31 states and two provinces in Canada.

Moving along with the current is enough soil to cover the state of Connecticut with a layer one inch thick. Each year, this soil is deposited in the mouth, therefore, causing it to be unpassable.

The Mississippi River had many names in its past, including River of St. Louis, Conception, River of Holy Spirit and Palizada. "Mississippi" was derived from the indian words "Mach" (great) and "Ceba" (river), and, eventually, that name won out.

The mighty river is shallow for most of its distance, reaching only 10-12 feet, until you reach Baton Rouge where it drops off drastically to depths of almost 192 feet. The deepest spot is in New Orleans, at the Algiers Bend, the famous "crescent" for which the Crescent City is nicknamed.