National Geographic : 1960 Nov
CHARLESNICHOLAS, THE COMMERCIALAPPEAL, MEMPHIS creased the height of the levees, but still the river continued to rise. Was there no way to save the city with its half a million people? There was a way. Officials talked about it in whispers. But word got out. The countryfolk were horrified! The idea was to make a cut in the levee, through which the river could pour over south ern parishes and thus relieve New Orleans. Farmers, trappers, fishermen protested. Yet there was no alternative. Soldiers were sent to superintend the blasting of the levee at Caer narvon. Trucks came to haul away household goods and people who were about to lose their homes. All evacuees would be compensated. But could money pay for such loss? A few lowland dwellers refused to leave. Some had faith that prayers and charms would avert the flood. Others preferred to risk drowning rather than to have to abandon their homes. The levee was dynamited, the angry Missis sippi poured through the breach, and a shocked official of the low country said: "You are wit nessing the public execution of a parish." But New Orleans survived. When State boundary lines were first drawn along the river, many people did not realize that the Mississippi would not stay put. Instead, it loops and uncoils like a tortured snake. It 694 used to be not at all uncommon for the river White gold of the South, cotton goes on sale in Memphis, the world's largest spot market for the commodity. Small samples taken from various bales show the customer what his money will buy. But he must be skilled in recognizing the fiber's quality. The Memphis Cotton Exchange quotes more than 250 grades and staples, and that, says one official, "is just a start when it comes to variations in cotton." Here Berry B. Brooks (left), president of the exchange, discusses samples with A. E. Hohenberg, president of Hohen berg Bros. Company, cotton suppliers. A mechanical harvester, doing the work of 25 field hands, gathers cotton at the Delta and Pine Land Company near Scott, Mississippi. Varieties pio neered here account for more than 25 percent of all United States cotton acre age. These workers draw off a seed cotton sample to determine the yield of a particular strain. Cotton flies as a picker empties half a day's work into a collection trailer on 5,000-acre Trail Lake Plantation near Greenville, Mississippi. Hand-picked cotton takes longer to harvest, but makes a better grade and brings a higher price.