After serving sentences, felons should/should not be allowed to vote. (Monster:

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This is a Persuasive Essay where you take one stand on one issue of your choosing, something you personally think addresses a real-world “monster” in our society. At the bottom of this assignment description is a list of possible topics you may choose from. You can write on the same topic you used for your Letter to the Editor if you’d like–just don’t self-plagiarize!

If your topic is not on this list, you must get approval from me before writing the essay.

You must argue using Pathos, Logos, and Ethos in this essay, and you must refute, accommodate, or recognize opposing viewpoints. It is highly recommended that you follow the structure discussed extensively in class. Please note: failure to include any of these aspects of the essay will result in a poor grade.

You must have a MINIMUM of 2 sources cited in this paper as support. These sources must be considered valid for this course. That means no Wikipedia, no personal blogs, etc.

This essay must have between 1250-1750 words.

All of your sources for this assignment come from the BRCC Online Library Databases.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at least 48 hours before the assignment’s due date. You can also send an early draft of the essay to me until 72 hours before the due date for input.

Sample Student Essay:

Student Lastname

Michael Norris

English 1023

March 13, 2019

Mississippi River’s Levees Harm Louisiana’s Coast
To many who live near the fourth longest river in the world, the Mississippi River is a
common sight, but the power and volume of the river is something that is not commonly known.
The basin of this large beast creates a unique ecosystem that not only fills the state with a
plethora of unique organisms, but it also allows protection from some of the strongest storms
created in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the greatest feats of man kind in the United States was the
taming of this beast through the longest system of levees in the world. Little did the engineers
who designed this plan know that these levees would lead to causing more damage to the state
and the citizens then was anticipated. Although the levees allow for a large economy based on
shipping to grow in Louisiana, the River should be allowed to take its natural course and proceed
through the Atchafalaya Basin to help reduce the damage of land loss and flooding across
southern Louisiana.
Before addressing how the levees hurt the state of Louisiana, it is important to
acknowledge and address what the Mississippi River provides for the state. One of important
gifts that the River supplies for the people of Louisiana is that the ports in New Orleans and
Baton Rouge bring in large amounts of income. In these two deepest points of the River, large
companies fill or empty their cargo ships that lead to the northern part of America or to other

According to an article by the Nation Park Service, the Port of New Orleans is one of the largest volume ports in the United States which is important to trade around the nation
(“Mississippi River Facts”). Although these ports are not as focused on agriculture as the
Northern States on the River are, the ports in Louisiana focus on the refining and shipping of
petroleum oil. This focus on oil attracts large companies such as Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and
others to move their businesses into South Louisiana. Something that is probably more important
than the income and business the river provides is what the river carries in its waters, silt.
This silt that travels thousands of miles from the northern states provide a greater gift
than any of the barges that travel the river. Before describing how it leads to exponential growth
of Louisiana, lets address what silt is. As the water begins as a small stream in the North, the
runoff from the land collects bits of dirt. As the creek grows into a river, more and more dirt
particles join the water and even erodes dirt and clay from the banks increasing the amount of
silt. The heavier pieces of pebbles and dirt find their way to the bottom of the river, but lighter
pieces of clay and dirt continue to travel with the growing river. When the silt deposits reach the
bottom of the River, it helps builds the wetlands that stand as a landmark for Louisiana and
protect cities that were built. The buildup of silt at the basin created the wetlands along
Louisiana’s coast. The building of these levees prohibited this deposit and is now leading to the
loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.
The basin of the Mississippi River makes up a good portion of southern part of Louisiana,
and it was built from the silt of the River. After the Great Flood of 1927, under the Flood Control
Act in 1928, the US Army Corps of Engineers created the longest system of levees in the world
to tame the Mississippi River which diverts high waters to areas that can afford being flooded.
According to an article by Vanessa Schipani, “Louisiana lost an average of 16.6 square miles of
land a year from 1985 to 2010, which equates roughly a football field per hour” (Schipani).

This radical decline in land all originated from the introduction of these levees and other man-made
structures like canals. As the delta shrinks due to lack of silt deposit and from the carving of
more canals to the Gulf of Mexico, freshwater plants that hold the land together are exposed to
saltwater. These freshwater plants are unable to live in this now brackish water causing less land
to be held together. The plants along the coast help to protect the cities and coast from storms
arising in the Gulf.
An important feature that the wetlands of the Mississippi River delta provides for
Louisiana is the protection against harsh weather. Off the coast, many barrier islands stand as a
first line of defense against the strong storm walls that come from the warm waters of the Gulf of
Mexico. These islands absorb a lot of the rainwater and heavy winds that come with those
storms. By the time the storm reaches more populated cities, they are half of the size they were
originally, causing less damage. These barrier islands are facing the same fate that the coast is
facing. With the decrease of coastal wetlands, it is eminent that storms will erode way the coast
or even hit more populated areas harder. Citizens of Baton Rouge and surrounding areas can
recall how powerful Hurricane Rita and Gustav hit. Although they were not the size of the
notorious Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans, Baton Rouge suffered from the
strength of those storms. These levees that are supposed to protect surrounding populations from
flooding may not have only destroyed South Louisiana’s land mass but have also led to an
increase of terrible flooding.
As mentioned earlier, the levees were originally built to help prevent flooding after the
Great Flood of 1927. Since then, Louisiana has experienced many floods that were predicted to
only occur once every hundred years. In 2016, Baton Rouge suffered from a terrible flood that
led to thousands of people losing homes and personal belongings. Unlike New Orleans during

hurricane Katrina, Baton Rouge’s levees did not fail. Still the levees caused floods like this to
occur due to the loss of wetlands, increase of water in river, and even a false sense of security. A
very important duty of the swamps created by the delta, is that it can absorb a large amount of
water from the river, but these wetlands are wasted away due to the salt water intrusion and lack
of sediment. To combat this, the US Army Corps of Engineers created spillways into bayous and
rivers near, but these smaller rivers or bayous are not meant to hold the amount of water that the
Mississippi River can hold, causing them to flood the nearby land. Although higher levees seem
to be the answer to prevent flooding or breaks, all the overly built levees do is create a false
sense of security. People who live near potential flood zones are not aware of flooding coming
from opening spillways and the main threat, The Mississippi River, seems to be controlled. After
years of building a civilization around these levees, it would be hard to think of how cities like
Baton Rouge and New Orleans would be able to adapt to having a river free from the restrictions.
A major argument against allowing the river to take its natural course is that the
surrounding areas with a high population density would experience higher number of floods
annually. The solution to the problems would not be to remove the levees, but a compromise to
the solution would be to allow the river to go down its natural basin, the Atchafalaya Basin. This
large swamp would allow the coast to restore its mass from the silt deposit as well as keeping
some water inside the levees for the ports to be accessible. Other people may question how ships
will be able to enter the ports without as much water flowing through. The Mississippi River
averages at fifty feet at Baton Rouge, and barge ships sit only nine feet below the water, so
decreasing the River height will not be detrimental to the success of the ports. If a plan like this
does not work, there could be other options to allow the river to take its natural course to protect
the future of the state of Louisiana as well as its people.

Although the levees seemed to be a successful plan to reducing damages from floods and
allow the possibility for economic opportunity, it is apparent that without the natural supply of
silt to the coast, land loss and flooding in Southern Louisiana is increasing drastically. There are
many ways of allowing the land to be restored with sediment from the River, but it makes more
sense to allow the River to complete its actions. There are many factors that go behind coming
up with plans to transition to a less confined river, but with more research and political activism,
the fourth largest river will be allowed to give back what it takes from the land. One way to
begin with helping towards this effort is to get the attention of the public.

Lastname 6
Works Cited
“Mississippi River Facts.”
National Parks Service
, U.S. Department of the Interior,
Schipani, Vanessa. “Land Loss in Louisiana.”
, 20 Mar. 2017,

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