Flooding has always been a problem with the Mississippi River, but the disaster of 1927 left an indelible mark in U.S. history. The Mississippi’s high waters claimed 246 lives in seven states and displaced at least 700,000 people after bursting through the river’s levees. Experts say that flooding of the river is seasonal but humans did have a hand in what’s considered the worst river flood in U.S. history.
“Deforestation and the development of farms along the edge of the Mississippi” also played a part, said Eric Smith, a professor of environmental politics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
As flooding became a reoccurring issue over the years, the federal government tried to make a solution by building dams that would manage the river, Black said. “The flooding still happens today, and the [Army] Corps of Engineers tries to keep that from happening,” he said.