THE ICON: A. Baldwin Wood
THE LEGACY: They called it “the Island of New Orleans,” which wasn’t technically true. But it fit, given that the city was hemmed in by the Mississippi River on one side, Lake Pontchartrain on another and swamps everywhere else, all of which limited the city’s growth. That’s where A. Baldwin Wood came in. Hired by the Sewerage & Water Board in 1899, the young Tulane engineer set about inventing devices to help keep the city dry. Among them: his Wood screw pump, designed to pump and lift water over levees — and which made it possible for new portions of the city to be drained and settled, including present-day Gentilly and much of Metairie. Just like that, the map of New Orleans was forever changed.
THE ARTIST: D. Lammie Hanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “In its loss, the community can at least feel grateful for the long span of years over which this champion of efficient and honest public service was allowed to carry on. His was a life of achievement and usefulness.” — The Times-Picayune, on the death of A. Baldwin Wood