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Power and Change in Louisiana Exploratory Essay

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019

Introducing the Individuals, Entity, and Events Wielding Power That Generated or Stymied Historical Change

While tracking the events in 20th century’s Louisiana, some influential individuals, entities and events come to the forth as the contributing elements to either generating or stymieing historical change through wielding power. The activities and reforms introduced by Citizens Relief Committee and Edwin Edwards, as well as the effects of hurricane Katrina and the Great Mississippi flood in 1927, are among those examples.

While deliberating the influence of the identified events and actors, the Great Mississippi flood in 1927, as well as hurricane Katrina slowed down the historical change, but the subsequent measures emerged to remove the effects were quite progressive for Louisiana. In addition, Edwin Edwards should also be among the most influential figures contributing to the progressive political change in the history of the region.

Citizens Relief Committee

Flood Control and Relief Committee in New Orleans was established for introducing and coordinating rescue efforts. The committee was aimed at organizing the stages of rescue operation and supporting the refugee camps established by the Red Cross. While evaluating the outcomes of the flood, the committee started discussing the situation with New Orleans’s levee.

Specific attention was paid the impact of the breach occurred upriver that could lead to city’s levee. The Committee also stated that the city’ commercial sphere would also be ruined because of the flood. This is an example of how natural contingencies force local authorities to take measures and provide viable solutions to the problem. Most importantly, this is an example of how politicians take advantage over the situation.

Hoover wielded power given by the President Coolidge who realized that the flood enormity is out of control. Being the chairman of the committee, Hoover saw is it as brilliant opportunity to gain votes among the American public. The committee decided to destroy the levee twelve miles downstream and create an artificial crevasse to reduce pressure along the city’s waterline.

The committee members believed that the city’s commercial and business potential, as well as investments made, should not be in vain.

They wielded authority from the federal government to carry out the established plan. Their actions were rigidly opposed by political powers insisting that the committee “[had] been plotting this action…without giving use due consideration and getting in touch with the proper officials here” (Barry 249).

Because of the decision being made, the flood destroyed Parishes of St. Bernard and Plaquemines. Because the committee was given the full authority by the federal government, their decision led to significant changes of historical landscape because the New Orleans levee had a symbolic and national meaning for the citizens, apart from the protecting functions.

The committee’s plan failed and most of the Louisiana parishes underwent serious damages. It, therefore, changed the historic landscape and urban environment of the city. The individuals, such as Hoover and Coolidge, fail to introduce progressive changes because of their greater interest in maintaining personal power and authority.

Edwin Edwards

Edwin Edwards was the most powerful and controversial governor since the Huey’s domination. We first won the elections in 1972 and, since then, the governor served Louisiana for four terms until 1996.

According to Wall, “Edwards …frequently employed a clever combination of frankness and glibness, and the smooth-talking Cajun from Crowley easily manipulated the press and electronic” (376). Edwards’ reforms and activities, therefore provide a bright example of how the course of political and social history can be changed for the better.

In 1972, Edwards managed to conquer the post because of the great support received from the African American voters. During the runoff period, the governor managed to present effective reforms and create alliances.

The main benefit of Edwards’s policy was the emphasis he placed on the problems of the poor layers of society. In this respect, the governor introduced the democratic tradition and initiated the new constitution for the state in fifty years.

Because Edwards was one of the first governors to appoint women and black to high administrative positions, the decision generated a historical change in terms of shifts introduced to gender and race equality rights.

Importantly, introducing the Louisiana Constitution in 1973 has contributed to improving legal regulations in the state. As a result, Edwin Edwards can be considered as an influential figure promoting Louisiana region to the progressive era.

Great Mississippi flood in 1927

Great Mississippi flood is considered the most horrible disaster in the U. S. history. The flood started because of heavy rains filling in the central basin of the river in summer, 1926. By winter 1926, the Cumberland River topped levees at a record level. The levees were overflowed to the extent that the Mounds Landing broke to cause double water volume.

The flood affected many states, including Louisiana. The actions taken on alleviating the outcomes of the disaster provide us with the events that changed the course of history. It is an example when proving that the event has significantly slowed down the political and social processes in the region.

In order to control the relief and rescue operation, the Flood Control Committee was formed in 1927. There was an urgent necessity to build levees and reconstruct commercial and social activities of the cities. The Red Cross Camps were created to eliminate the consequences of flood and help people to survive.

It was admitted that “for the first time in history a record-setting Mississippi River flood had passed from Illinois to the Gulf without single break” (Barry 166). Because of the flood, the public made conclusions concerning the effectiveness of the political government.

The 1927 flood has definitely stymied the historical change in terms of commercial development of the cities and investment activities. At the same time, the event activated new political forces striving to gain power and introduce new social reforms.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was a disastrous Atlantic hurricane, the most severe natural disaster in 2005. 1,836 people died during the hurricanes, making it the most horrible event in the U.S history (Wall 400).

The hurricane was created over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 that further slammed to Southern coast of the United States. The most horrible disaster served as a precaution for the country. The cases reveals the facts and processes that significantly hampered the historical change.

Predominantly, the disaster has brought destruction to coastal parts and has led to wetlands lost. The aggravation of the environmental condition impeded people to improve the education level and quickly restore the damaged areas because of being unready to resist the hurricane. The hurricane Katrina has stymied significantly historical change because of its negative influence on political, educational, and social spheres.

Specifically, it put doubts concerning the national safety and security because the protection mechanism failed to prevent the scales of disaster. The hurricane has raised serious debates between the Republican and Democrats. Finally, it contributes to the death rates of the regions. In fact, the disaster just brought light to the existing problems.


The above-presented analysis has discovered that certain events, individuals, or even natural disasters have had a potent impact on the current development of the American society. At this point, people, activities, entities and reforms governing social, political, and commercial spheres have significantly contributed to historical change.

Specifically, the hurricane and the Mississippi flood have consequence both on environmental pollution and on social and political situation. These events underscored and worsened the existing problems. The Citizens Relief Committee also managed to maintain its authority for personal interests and, as a result, its decision stymied the development of the region.

Finally, Edwin Edwards, the most influential governor of the past century managed to attract the masses and win the elections. All these examples prove that U.S. history is a complex set of interconnected events.

Works Cited

Barry, John M. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America. US: Simon and Schuster, 1997. Print.

Wall, Bennet. Louisiana: A History. US: Harlan Davidson, 2008. Print.

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