7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I admit to being fascinated by pictorial histories of cities. I enjoy being able to stand on a street corner, or on the observation deck of a tall building, with such a book in hand and "see" into the past. All cities are formed by their geography and this is perhaps truer for New Orleans than most. Campanella, an environmental analyst and historical geographer, and the author of _New Orleans Then and Now,_ begins with the problematic founding of the city (the malarial swampland between the river and the lake wasn't anyone's first choice). As the city expanded, land reclamation became necessary, but this was complicated by the high water table and the need for a complex drainage system. Its geography also formed the city's culture, its districts, neighborhoods, nodes, street patterns, and shifting industrial center. But many readers may be less interested in the civil engineering case studies and more attentive to this coffee-table volume's glossy photographs, many of them aerial. And most residents of the Crescent City will agree with his description of St. Charles Avenue as the city's "spinal cord" and perhaps be surprised to learn that many of the radiating streets of their city are the exact descendants of footpaths traced on early maps.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2004
Here's a geography book in coffee-table guise that has a lot going for it: expert research, generous format and a sympathetic publisher. It's a valuable addition to standard academic textbooks about the Crescent City. The author deftly peels back the strata that define New Orleans and make it all the more evanescent. I learned a great deal about the hidden realm squirming under our feet here in N'awlins. However: The book is, to put it simply, 10 pounds of good intention in a 5 pound bag. The author has analyzed the geography and its effect on the city from so many angles, with so much data, that the effect is overwhelming, even to a professional technical writer such as myself. As much as possible was shoe-horned into this book, without considering readability. A magnifying glass is a must for the small text and even smaller captions on the amazing number of graphs and charts. Geography is Campanella's forte, but social history is not: he is out of his depth trying to revisit the Creole/American boundary question. The designer and publisher should have tactfully reined in the author's manic approach, and the result would have been a much better, more taut tome.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2002
Time And Place In New Orleans: Past Geographies In The Present Day by Richard Campanella (Assistant Director of Environmental Analysis at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier Universities) is a trip through time, showcasing the history of New Orleans in words and color photography, and illustrating its most notable geographical and architectural landmarks. From the problematic founding of New Orleans to the mixture of cultural elements that make it so distinctive today, Time And Place In New Orleans is a truly informative and highly recommended topographical and geographical portrayal of the growth and development of an American city lying along the curved banks of the Mississippi River.