New Orleans is embarking on a drainage initiative called the Southeast Louisiana Drainage Program (SELA) for the Napoleon Canal. This will be accomplished by constructing new pumping stations and better drainage canals throughout the city. Each canal will be 19 feet wide by 13 feet high. They will parallel an existing 20-by-12-foot canal which will remain fully operational during construction. The SELA program is a joint effort to improve drainage through major construction projects. The local funds for the Napoleon project include $3.33 million from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Statewide Flood Control Program. In addition to the canal work, once construction is completed, the street in the affected areas will be resurfaced, the neutral ground will be landscaped and trees will be replanted. As part of the Napoleon project, a large number of parallel sewer lines along Napoleon will be repaired and sewer house connections will be replaced. A grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will pay for 55 percent of the sewer line work. The program was authorized by the United States Congress and administered under a project cooperation agreement between the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
New Orleans is well below sea level and as result of its unusual topography, it causes devastating flooding problems. The purpose of the Southeast Louisiana Program is to reduce flood damages in the City of New Orleans and surrounding parishes. The Napoleon work is part of an overall improvement project for all of Uptown New Orleans and Broadmoor. Two other SELA projects in the area are the $18 million expansion of Pumping Station No. 1 at South Broad and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard which is now underway.