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mississippi, river and levees

LEVEE, le-ve' or ley'e (from the French word lever, to rise, and the time of rising). (1) In social 1 cc is a word used in high life or court language for the ceremonial visits which great personages receive in the morning, as it were at their rising. The levee is distinguished from the drawing-room, inasmuch as at the levee of a gentleman, gentlemen only appear, and at the levee of a lady, only ladies, while at the drawing-room, ladies and gentle men both are admitted. The meaning is now more extended and the term is applied chiefly to the stated occasions on which the king or queen of Great Britain publicly receives those subjects whom their rank entitles to the honor. On the first presentation of daughters of dukes, marquises and earls, it is customary for the queen to kiss them on the cheek. The term is little used in the United States. (2) In hy draulic engineering, an embankment raised on the margin of a river to prevent inundation. That part of Louisiana which lies on the lower Mississippi was formerly subject to the annual overflow of the river, by which immense dam age was done to the land. To guard against

these inundations, levees of earth have been thrown up for more than a thousand miles along the river banks to a height sometimes of 15 feet, with a breadth of 30 feet at the base. This construction began about 1720 in New Orleans and was carried on locally and irregu larly until 1882, when the Mississippi River Commission began its work under the United States government. In front of New Orleans the levee is very broad and serves as a wharf, steamboats and other vessels being moored to it. Breaches sometimes occur in the levees, when the water rushes through and does great mischief ; these breaches are called crevasses. Consult Humphreys,