As engineers and planners came to terms with Katrina’s destruction, new levees and other flood protection measures were desperately needed around New Orleans. The southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne were considered vulnerable areas. Any protection system built along these coastlines would need to take into account the historical and archeological value of shipwrecks and submerged vessels as well as cataloging other archeological and historical properties in the way. The nautical archeological group at R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates took on the job of completing a near-shore survey along 38 miles of coastline in the two lakes.
Using sophisticated technology over a period of six weeks, the Goodwin archeologists surveyed the coast and lake bottom. While many structures, from sunken piers to pipelines, showed up, the real finds were several historic shipwrecks. Among these boats were a sternwheel steamer and V-bottom schooner from the 19th century and an early 20th-century workboat. The most unusual discovery came in the form of a traditional Louisiana vessel known as a “bateau pointu a deux bouts,” or a two-pointed sailboat. This distinctive boat was last built in the area in the 1870s.
In addition to adding to the knowledge of the area’s maritime history, the R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates survey enabled important flood control work to proceed while working around obstacles both mundane and of historical import.