19th-century Rigolets lighthouse in 2004. It was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
|- left||Old Pearl River|
|- right||Sawmill Pass|
|Length||8 mi (13 km)|
U.S. Geological Survey map 1982
|Wikimedia Commons: The Rigolets|
The Rigolets is a 12.9 kilometer (8 mi) long strait in Louisiana. "Rigolets" comes from the word rigole, French for "trench" or "gutter." The name is now locally pronounced "RIG-uh-leez." It begins at and follows a generally eastward course to Lake Borgne, a lagoon in the Gulf of Mexico, and finally to the Gulf of Mexico, where it ends at . Along with nearby Chef Menteur Pass, the Rigolets connects Lake Pontchartrain and Lake St. Catherine to Lake Borgne, and then to the Gulf of Mexico. It forms the boundary between New Orleans (Orleans Parish) and St. Tammany Parish.
As a deepwater tidal pass, the Rigolets helps supply salt water from the Gulf to Lake Pontchartrain. Tidal scouring has produced a deep pit in the lake at the western mouth of the strait. Since the Rigolets is a channel through which Gulf storm surges can approach the New Orleans area, there are proposals to construct floodgates.
The Rigolets is spanned by two bridges. The western terminus of the U.S. Route 90 Rigolets Bridge is located immediately north of Fort Pike. It was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which required major repairs. Farther south, the CSX Railroad crosses the Rigolets on a 1,388-meter (4,555-ft) railroad bridge. Hurricane damage there included shifted spans and the loss of timber decking.
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