The St. Claude Avenue bridge over the Industrial Canal would be replaced as part of the corp’s proposed project to expand the lock and allow more shipping traffic through. Neighbors have raised a lot of questions about the project.

Vanessa Gueringer sits outside her renovated home on Tupelo Street. “They have broken families,” she said of the Corps of Engineers. “They have taken lives!”

In the Lower Ninth Ward, an infrastructure project has reopened old wounds.

For more than 50 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has tried to expand the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal. The shipping canal connects the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain.

The agency wants to dig it up and build a new lock to let more tugboats and barges through.

But to the people of the Lower Ninth, the project is emblematic of a long history of mistrust.

“We have a long way to go to rebuild public trust. I don’t know if we’ll ever rebuild it totally.”—Rene Poche, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

This story was produced through a collaboration between The Lens and WWNO-FM. 

Support for WWNO’s Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

Tegan Wendland

Tegan Wendland is WWNO's Interim News Director. She also reports on the coast. She has a background in investigative news reporting and an M.S. in Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison....