Who built hundreds of kilometers of canals in Lousiana?

Bayou Piquant Wetlands

Photo by © Ken Lund - see Link, Flickr; (Licence CC BY-SA 2.0)) - Bayou Piquant Wetlands, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana



A fine grid of straight, kilometre-long waterways runs through the swamps of Louisiana. Numerous routes descend at right angles. Natural "coincidence"? The straight waterways with the partly right-angled exits are marked. Source: Google Maps


A Youtube post recently caught my attention when someone raised the issue of channels in Louisiana. In fact, seen from a great height, there are straight waterways that cross the wide streams of the surrounding area. The Atchafalaya River is a good clue: As a side stream of the Mississippi, it meanders typically for a river through the floodplain landscape. To the west, however, there are waterways that do not draw any curves but run dead straight.



Source: Wikimedia (Link)  


Seen less from the air than from a bird's eye view, they look like a network of waterways hundreds of kilometres long. Special features: They sometimes run straight through the landscape for umpteen kilometres. They are then often diverted by rectangular canals, of which it is not unusual - like a road network or as planned on a drawing board - to diverge again at a 90-degree angle and continue straight ahead.



Straight, right-angled waterways; Source: Google


A visitor writes: "I had the opportunity to drive through the Bayous..... They look as if they had fallen victim to some kind of "reset".... there are old houses / quarters that look as if they were not flooded all at once....and the canals are extensive.....



Looks like a road or port network Source: Google




OK, this is a subjective opinion of someone who has made an impression on the spot. Whether his fantasy went through with him or not, is left open, but what are we dealing with here? Officially Bayous are first of all side arms of bigger rivers.


Another writes: "These are channels excavated for pipeline ships and oil drilling rigs. I used to draw maps for an oil field surveyor to locate wells and pipelines, and the maps were used to dig the canals. Look for pipeline channels in southern Louisiana. Besides, a portage is not a waterway, it is a dry land way between two waters. It comes from the Latin root word portus, which means "to carry"."
This view is also unconfirmed, because technically something like this cannot be done without further ado or unnoticed in such dimensions. Someone else writes:
"Take a look at the waterway between the coasts, which spans the entire east coast and leads up the Mississippi. I examined the same thing a few years ago ... because excavators that were able to move so much material in time could never have excavated all these canals in the last 100 to 150 years. They have to be excavated all the time so that they don't fill with mud."



Wikimedia Commons (Link); "Louisiana Bayou" of Joseph Rusling Meeker, 1866


However, there are always new arguments for appeasement. Someone else has "contacted a gentleman at LA State University. And ... NO - it doesn't seem to be an old culture, but the impact that oil companies have on the environment. They dig the canals to transport their equipment to the site. These then erode and lead to further land loss. He estimates the whole thing at over one football field a day. So far, they have lost thousands of square kilometres to this practice. The state is thus literally eaten alive..."



An abandoned drilling rig in the Bayou Segnette, about 5 miles from public boat loading in Westwego. Quelle: Wikimedia (Link). The photo is from 1972. Do you want to have such a waterway widened, straightened or even completely re-developed? I don't think so. And this is still an extremely narrow route. Just to get an impression of the technical possibilities of this time ...


Can we really agree with this opinion? Personally, I don't really see it that way - do "nature" channels become automatically and evenly wider over time, if they are channels of the last 50-100 years at all? With which technology should these channels have been created? There are channels that are about 30-60 meters wide and up to 20 meters deep. Which dredgers should have done something like this ...? The dredgers have trouble laying pipelines in the area under the controlled supervision of the population. (>> Source), (>> Source). Who should not have noticed this in the last 100 years, where should the overburden have gone and with which technique? Sounds like a completely unsubtantiated assertion of manslaughter. Historical records about this - no indications.



Long straight waterways next to "normal" meandering river courses; Source: Google maps


Here is a quote from one of the sources in the dispute over the laying of a pipeline: "Last year, the coalition of opponents of the Bayou Bridge asked the same judge to suspend construction because the Army Corps of Engineers' approval of the pipeline was insufficient and the company had plans to replace old cypress trees up to 1,000 years old with smaller, younger trees. So we're dealing with an ancient landscape of red bobcats, alligators, nutrias, bald eagles and more than a hundred species of fish in the Atchafalaya basin, which is larger, though less known, than the Everglades in Florida.



Lush, ancient landscapes line the Bayous; Source: Wikimedia (Link)


The term Bayou comes from Indian and means "small stream". When the French settlers once moved upstream, more and more waterways in the area were given the name Bayou. Instead of "small stream", the definition of the term was later reinterpreted as "swampy waters".


Interestingly, there is no evidence of the emergence of such obviously artificial waterways. So far, no one has taken any serious interest in them. In an environment guide it says: "Enjoy the beauty of Bayou Portage Guidry and its impressive surroundings. Note that this site is over 800 years old. The Bayou Portage Guidry was used with dugout canoes and pirogues as an important transport route to access the area. The transport was actually an abbreviation for the trip to the Atchafalaya Basin." (>> Quelle)


The following screenshots illustrate once again the straightness and the partial accumulation of symmetrical waterways. Sometimes the situation gives the impression as if you were dealing with a harbour or a town plan. Source: Google Maps








If, as in this example, the officials know that these artificial transport routes are 800 years old, who should have built them?


Wie so häufig gibt es bei solchen lapidaren Äußerungen der Wissenschaft Gründe, am Wahrheitsgehalt zu zweifeln. Das Thema der ungeklärten künstliche Wasserstraßen, die aus großer Höhe sogar unter Wasser gefunden werden, betrifft auch noch weitere Stellen des nordamerikanischen Kontinents. Bei meinen Recherchen bin ich unter anderem auch auf John Jensen gestoßen, der mindestens 60 solcher Örtlichkeiten mit merkwürdigen Mustern ausgemacht hat. Die Gegend um Louisiana ist also kein topografischer Einzelfall. Er recherchierte Unterwasserstraßen im Küstenbereich, die mitunter nur 2 Meter unter dem Meeresspiegel liegen und aus großer Entfernung symmetrische Muster ergeben. Er geht davon aus, dass für 5 - 7.000 Jahren der Wasserspiegel drastisch stieg und damit alte menschgemachte architektonische Strukturen überflutet wurden.



I am less and less surprised that the historical name of this state was originally Acadiana. May everyone make their own rhyme for it ...