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Take A Virtual Tour of Hurricane Katrina Levee Breaches

New Orleans Levee System, U.S. Army Taskforce Hope

Near the seventh anniversary of Katrina, Levees.org will roll out a free virtual mobile tour of three major levee breaches in New Orleans.
The tour was created in collaboration with the University of New Orleans, the Louisiana State Museum (LSM) and the New Orleans Public Library.

Starting in Jackson Square at the LSM’s exhibit Living with Hurricanes, Katrina and Beyond, the virtual tour features the catastrophic breaches of the Industrial Canal, London Avenue Canal and the 17th Street Canal floodwalls.

“People both here and from outside New Orleans have a natural desire to see the levee breaches and the affected neighborhoods,” says Sandy Rosenthal, founder of Levees.org. “What better way than a virtual mobile tour?”

The tour is accessible for free on NewOrleansHistorical.org, a new platform for sharing stories about New Orleans. The project is being developed collaboratively by the University of New Orleans History Department and the Tulane University Communication Department.

“I especially like how different groups and institutions are coming together to create a cutting edge tool for exploring the city’s history,” says Michael Mizell-Nelson, Project Director at UNO. “Both residents and visitors can now access important components of New Orleans history.”

To take a tour, one simply downloads the free app to an Apple or Android Smart phone or mobile device. The tours can also be enjoyed on the web.

“The virtual tour arose out of many partnerships all with the goal of preserving history,” notes Rosenthal. “Neighborhood residents partnered, too, through their contribution of important photographs and details.”

The software, developed by Cleveland State University’s Center for Public History and Digital Humanities, also allows video and audio streaming, therefore bringing history into the streets for everyone for free.

“Being able to work with Levees.org to provide a 21st century version of a public historic plaque is another wonderful use of the new technology,” says Dr. Mizell-Nelson. “This is especially true since the Army Corps of Engineers is using its influence to delay Levees.org’s application to list the breach sites to the National Register of Historic Places.”

The National Urban League will be the first major organization to use the new app when it hosts a bus tour during its annual conference in New Orleans, July 25-28. The smartphone-enhanced tour will allow participants to experience the breach sites as a group while also engaging with the interpretive materials at their own pace.

The app software, called Curatescape, allows Levees.org to generate geo-coded exhibits, called “stories” that can be accessed on mobile devices. These stories are then linked together to create mobile tours.

Curatescape is designed to “curate the city” through the use of geo-located historical texts, archival film and images, oral history (and other) audio, as well as short documentary videos.

To view the tour on the Internet, visit: http://www.neworleanshistorical.org/tour-builder/tours/show/id/19

To download the app, follow the links provided for both Android and Apple mobile devices on the main page:
http://www.neworleanshistorical.org/

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