The elevation of New Orleans is a very important factor for the city and its residents. Due to the unique nature of the land surrounding the initial New Orleans settlement, the city has a very unique elevation, with parts of it actually being below sea level. Studies have shown that the average elevation of New Orleans is between 1 foot (0.3 m) and 2 feet (0.6 m) below sea level. Some parts of the city can reach higher elevations of up to 20 feet (6 m), but over half of the city is at or below sea level. This is the main reason why New Orleans is so susceptible to floods and natural disasters. When compared to other parts of the United States, New Orleans has one of the lowest elevations of any city.
Louisiana in general is one of the states with the lowest elevations of all. Only Delaware has a lower mean elevation in the contiguous United States that Louisiana. The mean elevation of the state is just 100 feet (30 m), with its highest point being Driskill Mountain, near Bryceland, which has an elevation of 535 feet (163 m), while the lowest point of Louisiana is actually New Orleans itself, so there is nowhere else in all of Louisiana with a lower elevation than New Orleans, and this factor can make life quite risky for the citizens, even with recent developments and drainage systems.
The highest town in all of Louisiana is Arcadia, which has an elevation of 384 feet (117 m), while the highest incorporated city is Ruston, which sits at an elevation of 331 feet (101 m). Other major cities in Louisiana include Baton Rouge, which has an elevation of 56 feet (17 m), and Lafayette, which has an elevation of 36 feet (11 m), so we can see that many of the big cities in Louisiana have very low elevations, but New Orleans is the lowest of all.