Before the S&WB began its work, New Orleans's drainage canals were open ditches. One of the continuing priorities of the Board over many years has been to line and cover these open canals. Originally, the canals were lined with wood, and one of the first to be covered was the Broad Street canal. In its Eighth Semi-Annual Report, December, 1903, the Board outlined its plans for the canal: "We recommend that the Broad street canal from the Old Basin to St. Bernard Avenue, be improved by receiving a box drain of timber to prevent caving, and sufficient in size to take the flushing water introduced from the Old Basin."

Here is the wood-lined Broad Street canal two and a half years later, reconstructed according to the Board's recommendations. (The photograph was published in the Sewerage and Water Board's Thirteenth Semi-Annual Report, June 30, 1906.) The system of canals under Broad Street, which has been reconstructed and expanded a number of times, continues today to be a major artery in the city's drainage system.