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Mississippi Keen: Three river cities reimagine their waterfronts, and themselves

In This Series

  • The depth of the Mississippi River’s influence, in numbers

    Fifty-eight semi-truck trailer loads traveling over 9 feet of water. Photo: Sarah van Schagen   10 — states that border the Mississippi River 31 — states drained by the Mississippi River watershed 1 2 — Canadian provinces drained by the Mississippi River watershed 1 50 — cities that rely on the river for their water […]

  • The riverfront in Memphis needs help — but what kind?

    May God bless Memphis, the noblest city on the face of the earth. — Mark Twain To visit Memphis, Tenn., is to visit a place that is slowly waking from a decades-long stupor. The things that define this city in the popular imagination — the glamorous life of Elvis Presley, the shocking assassination of Martin […]

  • St. Louisans turn a working river into a river that works for them

    “The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit up.” — Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn As the sun rises over the city of St. Louis, an arch-shaped shadow moves eastward over the city’s bustling downtown and toward the Mississippi River, where it will leave its invisible […]

  • An Iowa river town develops a real relationship with the Mississippi

    “The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart.” — Tanaka Shozo Arriving in Dubuque, Iowa, is a bit disorienting. After passing acres and acres of the heartland’s flat soybean and cornfields, you suddenly come upon a small city (pop. 60,000) with a surprising landscape. Gazing east to west, […]

  • Up and down the Mississippi, communities are reinventing their riverfronts

    Gone are the days when the Mississippi River was just a shipping route and flood risk that happened to run through a city’s back yard. Increasingly, the legendary waterway is becoming recognized as a prized attraction, worthy of front-yard status. Here’s how a few communities are drawing attention to a natural feature they once shunned. […]

  • A recap of our week on the river

    Huckleberry Wroth and I survived our travels down the Mississippi last week, and we’ve now returned to our respective coasts to reflect on everything we learned. I must say, visiting three cities in seven days is no lazy float down the river — we covered a lot of ground. Here’s a recap: In Dubuque, we: […]