Should New Orleans be rebuilt?

It’s an indelicate question but one that needs to be asked: Should New Orleans be rebuilt? Or how much of it should be?

At a press conference with the governor and legislators just now, vows were made: “We’re going to be reinventing New Orleans…. Can and will New Orleans be rebuilt? Absolutely!”

But… Having visited the city often in my last job, I was always struck by its poverty and its lack of a workable economy. Tourism is pretty much the only industry. The food is great. The attitude is fun. But big companies had left.

And… Does it make sense to rebuild homes and offices in a place that can be destroyed all too easily, putting thousands of lives at risk? Is that the right thing to do?

And… Is that the best use of our tax and insurance dollars? Everytime the Mississippi floods up river, there are those who say that we should stop paying to rebuild that which has been destroyed before. And, in fact, we have invested government money in moving people away from certain danger so we can stop paying to rebuild. It’s an investment in their safety.

I’m not suggesting that what’s left of New Orleans should be bulldozed and abandoned. But I will suggest that, indeed, the city may need to be reinvented. How?

Perhaps it should go with its strengths and be rebuilt as a tourist destination before all its restaurants have branches in Vegas. Perhaps it should be smaller and rather than investing in rebuilding, the money should in some cases be spent on relocation.

What should become of New Orleans?


  1. TXBueller says:

    (Please pardon this repeaeted comment from an earlier post but this is important.) is very slow. Hopefuly that means their getting alot of donations.

    Network for Good has a page of donation links to charities (including the Red Cross) mobilizing to help: .

    I just made a Red Cross donation via NetworkForGood’s cart there very easily.

  2. Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell says:

    Let us all remember one thing abou this. God is punishing them for thier decadent lifestyle!

  3. chris says:

    It’s not like New Orleans ever made sense in the first place, an eternally crumbling town built on the edge of apocalypse in a miasma of sweat and disease. By all means rebuild it! The fact that it makes no sense is one of its greatest attractions — and unlike other cities that make absolutely no sense (LA, Phoenix), this one actually has a soul.

  4. Kelsey says:

    Absolutely, it should be re-built. As Chris says above, it has a great big soul. The history, culture, music – alone! that has sprung from that bathtub demands a re-build, and not some sterile, squeaky clean Celebration, FL version two hundred miles upriver, but right there. I think we all need a reminder of our own inherent absurd but beautiful fragility. Yes.

  5. DSmith says:

    Um. no Jeff, it isn’t a question that needs to be asked, at least not while the city is dying before our eyes.

    “Indelicate” isn’t the word. Could we at least wait until the bodies are recovered before playing “I told you so” and worrying about tax dollars?

  6. Jersey Exile says:

    The irony of course is that the one part of the city yet to have been adversely impacted by the flooding is the French Quarter. Back in the days before the Army Corps of Engineers chained the Mississippi River to a fixed course the locals knew damned well not to build anything you’d miss on a floodplain.

    Absolutely N.O. should be rebuilt. If we can spend $200+ billion dollars rebuilding someone else’s nation surely we can do better for one of our own cities.

  7. Jeff Jarvis says:

    chris & kelsey… well said… but let’s use disney’s money to do it.

  8. Ruby says:

    YES it should be re-built. And I don’t say that about all the beach houses on barrier islands that were never meant to be so densely populated. New Orleans is responsible for a disproportionate amount of the soul of our country. We NEED New Orleans to be re-built.

    Hopefully it can be done in a way that better honors its physical environment as well as its human inhabitants.

  9. wag says:

    Better yet, should Iraq be rebuilt? That could be throwing good money after bad as well.

  10. Julio Garcia says:

    I’ll personally wait until the people are rescued/evacuated, the dead are buried, and the water recedes before worrying about the future of New Orleans. That isn’t just because I think we need to respect those that are being and have been affected by this, but because pondering about the future of New Orleans does nothing to improve the current situation.

  11. John Hewitt says:

    I was surprised at how small New orleans Actually is. Less than a half million people? I had simply assumed there were a whole lot more.

    I think the city should rebuild, but very carefully. The slums that Katrina destroyed should stay destroyed. Depression and poverty do not equal soul.

    New Orleans was a geographical time bomb. The potential for this to happen again is very high. Just as Los Angeles builds in anticipation or earthquakes, New Orleans must anticipate flood. It needs to rebuild with a close eye on what is safe, what can be made safe, and what should be abandoned.

  12. Claude LaFrenière says:

    Yes, The City of La Nouvelle Orléans must be rebuild.

    It’s a “Memory Duty” like the rebuild of Varsovia…

    A Nation with no memory is a Nation with no future.

    Building cities for humans is better than making a non-sense War in Irak !

    Have a great day :)

  13. Maybe we watch the flood waters recede and bury the dead before we go meta on this one?

  14. Gunther says:

    I wonder if you’d be so quick to suggest abandonment and relocation of New Orleans if the people affected were predominantly white rather than black?

  15. Frank Martin says:

    Good question, but the wrong time to ask it. The hurricane has passed, but the disaster is only getting started. You dont ask people to pick out new drapes while the fire department is still putting out the fire.

    Sections of Southern Louisiana, Missouri and Alabama will likely be uninhabitable for some time, and its very likely that due to dioxin there may be may parts of these areas that are never going to be re-inhabited.

  16. KirkH says:

    From an eerily prophetic December 2000 article

    ” New Orleans sits on a bed of silt, sand and clay, which historically has been rebuilt with each flooding; new silt and sand are deposited when the river floods. But the levees that protect the city from flooding also prevent the rebuilding of the silt. As a result, New Orleans is sinking at a rate of one-third of an inch per year, which is not good for a city that is already eight feet below sea level. To make matters worse, global warming is causing the sea level to rise.”

    I don’t understand why the people didn’t heed the mandatory evaculation order. Even if I didn’t have a car I would have walked to the SuperDome. The only explanation I can think of is that they weren’t well enough informed which is a failure of their local government.

    Considering it will be impossible to get property insured there in the future and the pollution and bad memories stuck in the mud, it’s fairly safe (and sad) to say that it won’t be rebuilt.

  17. Jersey Exile says:

    I was surprised at how small New orleans Actually is. Less than a half million people? I had simply assumed there were a whole lot more.

    I think it depends on your definition of what New Orleans is. Boston’s only got ~600,000 if you only count who’s in the city proper, yet many of the municipalities in the Greater Metro area that would be included in the population count of most other cities make the total number of people more like 4 million.

    According to the extremely useful website, the N.O./Metairie/Kenner metro area amounts to 1.3 million, making it the 39th largest such region in America.

  18. stephen j friend says:

    Am an artist and have been working on a book for 25 years, I have walked, taking photos of every inch of N.O. over 3000 . THIS TOWN HATES CHANGE I MEAN HATES … Yes the poor need new housing hopefully this is a way to find work . If you take the time to read the history of N.O. this is just a bump in the road,in 1853 more than 40,000 had the yellow fever about 10,000 people died that summer. Those levees were built from the PEOPLE WHO HATE CHANGE , this time next year Mon will be Red Beans & Rice Day …MY HEART IS WITH YOU NEW ORLEANS.

  19. Brett Rogers says:

    Isn’t it up to the people of New Orleans whether to rebuild or not?

  20. db says:

    No, let’s not rebuild New Orleans. Hurricanes are only part of the problem. The city sits on rever delta sediments, which means the street level surface is constantly sinking due to soil compaction. New sediments, rather than being allowed to replenish the land (and the important coastal buffer) are instead flushed out to sea by channelizing the river. As new silt clogs the mouth of the Mississippi, the levees are extended yet farther into the Gulf, which has the effect of flushing sediment yet farther into the sea. Meanwhile, the ancient delta deposits, robbed of fresh sediements, are eroding.

    So not only is the land sinking, but the coast is eroding ever closer. In a few decades, New Orleans will be an isolated bowl/isthmus/ditch set several miles offshore in the Gulf, with sea waves crashing directly against a levee which must be built ever higher as the land sinks ever deeper. Once a century the bowl will be flooded by another Katrina and all will be lost again.

    It’s insane to flush more money into this bowl of futility. Let’s cut our losses and relocate the population, rather than perpetuate the French Folly with limitless tax and disaster subsidies.

  21. Jeff Jarvis says:

    Well, I wouldn’t have written this now except that senators and congressmen were promising to write legislation to this effect tomorrow.

    And if we care about the people who died there, then perhaps we don’t want to subject the survivors to this risk again.

    Gunther: Give me a friggin’ break. The race card has been played so often it’s tattered. And perhaps you could be accused to saying it’s OK to risk people’s lives in this flood bowl just because they are poor and black. Give it up.

  22. Chancy says:


    “It’s insane to flush more money into this bowl of futility. Let’s cut our losses and relocate the population, rather than perpetuate the French Folly with limitless tax and disaster subsidies. ”

    I agree 100%. I assume you are talking about Iraq?

  23. Jim S says:

    I love visiting New Orleans and will probably do it again. It’s still a very valid question because as far as I know there has not been a single viable proposal that will save the city in the long run. Also count me among those who think that the future of hurricanes is much brighter than that of the coastal population centers that they will be visiting thanks to ongoing climatological trends.

  24. al says:


    As a southerner I hate to see old things go away. But for the most part N.O needs to go away. It would be neat to see the city reborn as a small tourist/hi-tech area where most or all residents live in and around downtown and the french quarter…get rid of the sprawl…let the wetlands come back. Stop the never ending sinking problem

  25. Paulo says:

    Me, I think it should be rebuilt, but on thick stilts with deep pilings. Also, no more levees and pumps; perhaps Newer Orleans infrastructure can be at one with Lake Pontchartrain, with canals and gondolas, like Venice or Delft. Wouldn’t that be cool? You’d barely be able to tell where the city ends and the suburban bayous begin. You could call them suburbayous.

  26. db says:

    Let me illustrate with a roughly equivalent proposal how stupid it is to rebuild New Orleans

    (1) Pick an spot between two islands about halfway along the chain of Florida Keys. Draw a rectangle around the spot, maybe thirty miles long by 10 miles wide. The line defing the rectangle will probably be in open water; nonetheless, build a wall from the sea floor to maybe fifteen feet above the surface — a total of maybe 50 feet high.

    (2) Pump out all the water from this huge bathtub.

    (3) Build a city on the dry bathtub floor, and move about a million people in. Wait for the next hurricane to drown them.

    Repeat steps (2) and (3) about once every 100 years.

    THAT is how stupid it is to rebuild New Orleans now, given the effective total destruction of city’s existing real estate.

    Except it’s even stupider, because New Orleans has a huge elevated aqueduct (some call it the Mississippi River) running down the centerline of the bathtub.

  27. owl 1 says:

    Metarie/Kenner/New Orleans….you right Jersey. It all seems one large city but the soul is downtown NO. My favorite food in the south was in a hole-in-the-wall in Kenner. Shame.

    I hate this. And yes, if I could put it all back tomorrow for the people, so be it. I don’t know Jeff, too soon. Just hope they figure a way to get all those people out. That looks to be a major.

  28. RDJP says:

    A couple of days ago, New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. Now it’s just a disaster.

    No, it should not be rebuilt to what it was. We are supposed to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them.

  29. Spiker says:

    Agree with dude who said if we can spend at least $300 billion to fuck up and fail to rebuild Iraq/Afhganistan (not too mention hundred billions more for too many weps to count), then we should be able to rebuild something that keeps Big Easy alive, baby.

    You gotta also agree that you’d have to be a dumbfuck or rich asshole to rebuild below sea-level.

    Again, like the friggin tsunami, and even 9/11, the magnitude of this disaster only grows and feeds a concise armegeddon symbology. Its obvious the end of the world is nigh mothafuckas — unless the HEAD of BIG OIL is ripped off its bootlickn’ lackeys reeducated — “cultural revolution style”. Hardlabor and 24/7 loudspeakers and big screens with “Ellen” and “Rosie”, and Malcom X, Queer Eye,”ACLU All-Stars Lectures, Hosted by Noam Chomsky”, Sri Chimnoy-type muthafuckas, Dixie Chicks, Pygmy shamans, etc., etc. Their labors would be redeeming, so that upon death, their lives will have actually been helpful.

    And of course nonexistant global warming has nothing to do with freak weather (“oh, it goes in cycles and there’s no proof” – these muthafuckas need to be fed to the animals).

    But while everyone’s just taking it up the butt (in a bad way) and whimpering about bargain gas prices (Chris Rock, keen as always, is right on message appealing to dumb, greedy, evil voters by hammering on gas prices)

    But anyway, you just gotta wonder how intelligent it would be to design Newnew Orleans in its present location, when God obviously doesn’t want it there.

    But I really wanna see CNN cover the area of New Orleans where I live. For the past two days I’ve been chillin and blogging from my generator-run survivalist treehouse perched near the zoo. I’ve got my binoculars on a group of people putting little outboard motors on floating coffins and other impromptu rafts who are goin round lootin and shit Road Warrior style. And, of course, the animals in the zoo have escaped their cages and made my neighborhood an all you can eat cajun buffet. Man, this blog writes itself.

    The horror. The horror.

  30. benjaminkwhiskey says:

    We should ask the question now, and the answer is no. New Orleans should not be rebuilt. To address Brett Rodgers, it should be up to everyone, because our tax dollars will be used to rebuild this folly. When the Mississippi River flooded the Midwest about a decade ago, they moved whole towns that were built in the flood plain. That is what should be done with New Orleans. Keep the French Quarter around as a small tourist attraction, and move everything else. The only other option I can think of is to fill in the areas that are under sea level. I don’t know where the dirt would come from, or if this idea is feasible, but rebuilding the whole city again under sea level is a bad idea.

  31. rlw says:

    If the people of New Orleans, and the state of Louisiana want to rebuild, then power to them. But, it’s time for the federa gravy train, for disasters, to stop. Ironically, just after I posted to my own blog on this subject, I read your post. I’m tired of using my tax dollars to pay to rebuild areas that are clearly going to be disaster zones again. Don’t get me wrong, I abhor the loss of life, empathize with those who have lost there life’s work and personal belongings. But, it’s not like they hadn’t been warned. They were living BELOW sea level, on a coast that has been on the receiving end of numerous hurricanes. Why should the rest of the nation pay for their foolishness? Federal flood insurance needs to go away. It just encourages foolish behavior, and hides the true cost of living in certain areas.

  32. Dennis Mosher says:

    New Orleans is one of the United States’ most important sea ports.

    There has to be a city there.

    Chicago was rebuilt after the great fire. San Francisco was rebuilt after the great earthquake.

    The rebuilt New Orleans will be a big improvement over the old version — as were Chicago & SF. Just keep Bourbon St. the way it is.

  33. Sensible Mom says:

    I asked the same thing earlier today on my blog. I think it is something to consider. It might not be what people want to think about, but it is a concern given the city’s unique vulnerabilities. In 1993, these same questions were asked about communities along the Mississippi River when it had a “100-year event” because there were events, albeit not as large, happening quite frequently. Many people were encouraged to relocate.

    New Orleans has been lucky, but it may enter a period of being unlucky. Is that something tax payers want to pay for?

  34. After reading all the comments, one is left to wonder if the better question is whether the businesses which are currently being systematically looted by folks in the Big Easy would ever want to return to reward the generosity of those who chose to disobey mandatory evacuation orders.

    These businesses provide much needed employment and economic life to a city of millions, most of the economically challenged. These businesses are being repaid tonight by being blatently robbed in the presence of police, firemen, other rescue personnel and, not inconsequentially, hundreds of news video cameras.

    Quite stunning how some people are willing to destroy their own communities for the sake of a few pairs of Nike shoes or a 13-inch black and white television lifted from the local Wal-Mart.

    I’m quite struck by the video of the looters.

    They all seem to have something in common.

    And before Gunther goes off on his high horse … the thing the looters seem to have in common is not that they are all black … the thing they seem to have in common is that none of them mind very much whether the crimes they are committing against their own neighbors make the CBS Evening News.

    As someone who was born and raised in Louisiana and watches these scenes of devastation fighting hard to swallow the lump in my throat as I watch my home state drowning … tonight, I am ashamed to say I am from there.

  35. Alan Kellogg says:

    I say rebuild, west of the Mississippi on higher ground.

  36. hey says:

    do not rebuild it

    rebuild the loop

    and the port

    forcibly remove everyone from the coastal areas of louisiana, alabama, and mississippi, and tell everyone that there will be no aid to anyone affected by further weather events. cut your losses on this poor, lawless city.

  37. Rod Amis says:

    I lived in New Orleans up until a few months ago. (NO, I’m not psychic.) I bartended in the French Quarter and at a few places in the adjoining Marigny. I lived there for five years and published my Web magazine from there, of course.

    There will always be a New Orleans, until global warming takes away the rest of the coastal United States, Manhattan *island* (where I also used to live) first. Get over it, folks.

    New Orleans is for us was Beirut was for the Middle East before the 1970s. It’s an adult theme park that America needs to save its consumerist soul. You all go there to do what you’d never do in your own home towns. You collect the Mardi Gras beads like children collecting candy and come back with stories to tell your grandchildren.

    When New Orleans was first built, the architect/engineer in charge told his patron it was madness. The world can use a little more benign madness, don’t you think?

  38. JMD says:

    If New Orleans is to be rebuilt, it should most definitely be rebuilt differently. I think Alan’s comment above is constructive. Some part of the old city can be preserved, but much of the formerly functioning areas of the city should probably never be made functional again.

    On a side note, I think the “if we’re blowing money in Iraq, why can’t we blow money on New Orleans?” arguments have a false premise–namely, that we are accepting that Iraq will require our reconstruction and security resources indefinitely. That’s obviously not the hope of the administration. (The debate over whether those hopes are unfounded or not is another issue all together.)

    We KNOW that New Orleans (as it was) would require continual infusions of massive resources into the indefinite future to continue existing. This might well be justified for some cities (like some in earthquake prone California, for example) that have productive economies. With all due respect and amiability to those that called it home, New Orleans was a poor and, some might argue, municipally dysfunctional city.

    As it appears that we will be rebuilding from almost literally the ground up, if we rebuild, it would be remiss to rebuild New Orleans as it was. It might carry the name, but a practically new city should arise.

  39. What Dennis Mosher said. Surely you’ve noticed the vast amounts of industry around NO by now. If not, pick up your local fishwrap and read the business section. If that’s too much trouble, peek out the window at the gas prices. Good grief. The number of petrochemicals alone make it moot. There’s banking & there’s tourism, too. I can’t believe the question would even be asked. Leave it to a Yankee.

  40. Lou Hebert says:

    Did anyone ask the same question when the cities of Oakland and San Francisco were severely rocked by an earthquake not so many years ago. Will the same question be asked when the San Andreas finallt gives and Los Angeles is destroyed. New Orleans is older than our nation and it is the soul of my home state. I am heading there in one hour along with my bay boat. My brother in law is riding shotgun. This city will be rebuilt. God bless New Orleans and the generous people of the U.S.

  41. Brett Rogers says:

    Responding to Benjamin Whiskey, and nodding in agreement with Lou Herbert, disasters happen. There are plenty of cities that live dangerously, so to speak, not least of which is New York for its financial center and high population. It’s up to the residents of that location whether to rebuild or not. If you don’t like your tax dollars spent on it, fine, write your congressman. But the precedent is there, and it’s assinine to favor one natural disaster with your tax dollars and disregard another. Miami should maybe relocate? Or as Lou suggests, how about LA? New York, for the terrorist target that it is?

    The discussion is a bit ridiculous because few politicians would abandon a city in such great need.

  42. Mike NYC says:

    Oh Jeff, please. Brett’s right. Now’s not the time to ask. And your reasoning — that Congress was ready to write a check tomorrow — isn’t sound. Even if they passed a law tomorrow, who knows if the south would actually see the money. Go back to worrying about the WTC site.

  43. In these times of American hyper-partisanship, even the response to an act of God like hurricane Katrina is revealing.

    For the full story, see:

    “Hurricanes, Divine Retribution and the Right.”

  44. This is not a 100 year event. New Orleans hash survived for 300 years.

    New Orleans will survive, in tact. This is a disgusting, pathetic bit of rhetoric. Someone has been watching too much cable news. Did Wolf Biltzer get your panties in a bunch?

    You’re not going to be able to legislate New Orleans away. It is one of the oldest cities in America. It is older than America, with dedicated citizens, old families, it is a working city. Those are not second homes, those are working homes. These are not vacation condos. The Gulf Coast is a working coast. It is vital to the U.S economy. Oil, refineries, shipping, river transport, drainage.

    Where else are you going to put it? How about we pave over some of Connecticut and build a few refineries?

    We still can’t move the Gulf reserves, though.

    The question is whether or not Louisiana is going to get serious about restoring the costal wetlands that have served to protect New Orleans for all these years. There’s a reason New Orleans has survived for so long, and a reason that it has become vulnerable now. The citizens of Louisiana have been grappling with this issue for a long time, and now, hopefully, the nation will make the investments necessary to protect this vital infrastructure.

    It amazes me how in the midst of disaster such a question can be asked. As if you’ve suddenly become aware of the threats to this region, and oh, I think I’ll have to decide whether or not it lives or dies. Please review these coments, and tell us, Yankee, what fate you’ve chosen for this bothersome bit of news.

  45. Doug Boudreaux says:

    What a ridiculous question. As someone mentioned upthread, would we pick up and leave Los Angeles after a massive ‘quake? Would we deny them Federal Disaster Aid? I mean, they DID choose to build their city on a fault line, after all.

    And St. Louis. Man, the next time they flood because of record snowmelt upriver, let ’em swim for it and abandon the Gateway to the West in place. It’ll only flood again.

    Seattle? Hey – they KNEW there were active volcanos nearby. Why should the federal government pay for the ash cleanup?

    For those who would deny Federal Aid to flood victims…think about who helped to create the problem we’re seeing in New Orleans. By forcing the levees higher and higher along the river to protect commercial shipping and communities near the river, the corps of engineers has helped to create this problem. They petitioned the Bush administration for money last year to help solve it, but were denied because we are currently spending all our money rebuilding Iraq.

    The “looting” loop CNN keeps playing shows blacks leaving a store carrying…

    Diapers. Candybars. Water. More diapers. Yeah, they’re really depraved. Most likely, they are stealing the items they need to survive. What would you do if you were unable to evacuate? I’m really shocked by how many people in the last few days who react like this to massive tragedy.

    Shame on the massively and disproportionately poor in New Orleans for not having enough money to afford a car like everyone else – a car they could fill for a hundred bucks, and drive to Houston to stay in a $90/night hotel for four weeks.

    And shame on the people in this thread who think we should abandon the most historically rich city in the United States, cut off federal aid to flood victims, and convict some of the poorest people in the nation because they broke into a drugstore and stole a package of pampers.

  46. Eileen says:

    Well. First, it Is too soon to ask.

    Second, the question itself may be a moot point. I’m sorry to ask another pesky question, but will it even be possible to rebuild? Efforts to plug the dyke have failed and have been abandoned at last report. When the pumps fail, it’s reported that 9 more feet of water will fill the tub. According to the lengthy article cited by Jeff a few days ago (it seems like years now), science says the only realistic way to drain the tub is to dynamite 1/2 mile of the levees. That’s doable, obviously. But I don’t know the area well enough to know where the water would drain To at that point – back into the same lakes or river the levees were supposed to keep out? Pumping (alone) apparently would take eons. Maybe it’s all pretty easy and ‘doable’? If so, please disregard my question..

    My main concern Now (aside from little matters like destroyed lives, including immediate family members) is how the rest of those there are going to be evacuated, with only one egress point available, with no way to even communicate to them (bullhorns from boats and helicopters?) the status of the failed levees or the Newest order to evacuate. And there’s that matter of those 10,000 in the dome surrounded by a rising moat. Better bring in the amphibious vehicles and boats. How many can they carry at a time? What about the other 10’s of thousands with no way out? Will there EVER be a body count for this tragedy?

    Talk about ghosts from above ground crypts in NOLA…they now have much more company.

    A three foot shark has been spotted, as were cops stealing shoes at Walmart without batting an eyelash. And then there’s the celebrated-with-fanfare, multi-million dollar, newly-built levee which ended up failing and drowning the city (correct me if it’s not the same levee section)…. O the memories of all stripes many of us will always carry for magical NO.

    Emeril was no dummy to ‘expand’ to Vegas. Fact is, NOLA is ALREADY a distributed city. From the million or so who already evacuated and lost their homes, livelihoods and all earthly possessions, to the patients being ferried to hospitals all over the state, to those walking out on foot to who knows where…. By the time it’s drained and fit for rebuilding/habitation, the distributed will have already rebuilt their lives somewhere else.

    Perhaps a french quarter reunion some day would be nice. Muddy glass bottom boat tours, complete with alligators and crawfish feasts.

    Who can even bear the thought of no more NO? I cannot. But it may not [ultimately] even be feasible to resurrect this particular piece of our heart.

    …I need to find some wedding pictures and pics of my three neices for my sister and her husband, who just lost too many layers and pieces of their lives to count. But memories of the heart are the most precious of all. And if that’s where NOLA ends up, one way or the other she and her ghosts will live on.

    Oh God. A prison uprising now…people carrying rifles in the streets…fires. It ain’t so easy in the big easy any more.

  47. will it even be possible to rebuild?

    Good gawd…it’s been THIRTY SIX HOURS.

    Yeah, sure — I say we go ahead and dynamite all the levees and just inundate a 300 year old city, seeing as how we haven’t been able to bring the psychos to heel AND dry everything out in time for the Labor Day revellers.

    Christ, people make me tired sometimes.

  48. Barry Dauphin says:


    Since you’ve been to New Orleans so often, I’m surprised you forgot to mention the port. There will be a port somewhere near the mouth of the Mississippi for reasons that should be obvious. If there is a port of this size, there will inevitably be a city around it. Does a port have to be literally in the exact same location? Perhaps not, but who’s gonna move it and why? Also there is much other commerce in New Orleans with the oil and gas industry. The city itself has been rife with corruption and has chronic economic problems, but it is ignorant to speak of only the city and not the metro area which is not as economically bad off but wouldn’t exist without the city.

    The question is really the planning that should go into the reconstruction. That is unclear and is too soon to know. Yes, New Orleans has many problems, but to simply say it’s federal money down the drain and I’m not spending my tax dollars for this is silliness. I’m a small government advocate, but if government doesn’t exist for these kinds of efforts, then what is it existing for? Repeal the pork barrel highway bill and divert it to this effort. Or better yet, declare a moritorium on allowing Robert Byrd to spend anything. Soon there’ll be plenty of money for New Orleans.

    New Orleans (or some substitute) is vital to the economy of the country. Sure you can bulldoze the city and tell everyone to go live someplace else or tell them to go to hell-as some in the comments are implying. But there will be a port somewhere in that area. A large port will create a substantial city. So call it whatever you like, but there will be a New Orleans.

  49. Eileen says:

    Scott, please. Read the lengthy article Jeff originally provided re what would be feasible alternatives if the basin filled. Too tired to find and quote sections to you now.

    I’m on your side as I think she MUST be rebuilt if at all possible.

    Peace. Prayers.

  50. Eileen says:

    Oh God, again and again into infinity. I agree with RightofCenter in an earlier comment in which he/she said we’re getting (something to the effect of) staged or sugar coated news. I had thought the same..

    I just saw pictures of the state of I 10 outside NO on Nightline. Hence the ‘only one way in/out access’ at this point…

    God please help the current survivors of Katrina.

  51. Before talking about rebuilding, first someone needs to get the Mayor to find a way to evacuate the people who can’t drive. I have not seen a single announcment on how they are going to get them out – or what people should do it they don’t have a car and want to leave.

    Why weren’t buses and trucks commandered before the streets were flooded out today? Why were’t pick-up places arragned tonight for trucks and buses to get people out before even more streets are closed?

    And why did Nagin say again tonight that if it wasn’t for last night’s breaks – all utilities would have been restored in one to two weeks?

  52. Brady – The streets are closed. There is no way out of New Orleans right now except for helicopter. (I’m watching the feed off of WDSU.) People are being told to seek higher ground, or to stay put, if they are high enough above sea-level. The best coverage I’ve found is at, the have a streaming news broadcast, and the coverage is measured, responsible. Interviews are long and detailed, I heard Nagan’s entire interview from last night, for example. He, Nagan, reported that no actual work was done on the levee yesterday. Someone redirected the helicopter that was going to drop the 3,000 lb. sandbags.

  53. Valeforn says:

    for Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell.
    oh my God… New Orleans like Sodoma and Gomorra?? …what means decadent lifestyle?

    I think that the spirit who live into tha american people help to rebuilt the beautiful New Orleans.
    (sorry for my bad english)
    Valeforn (from Italy)

  54. Ruth says:

    Do you know, I seriously doubt that the native Orleanaise are going to ask anyone’s opinion about whether they rebuild or not. As one who accepts the good the bad and the ugly of her hometown and lives there anyway, don’t I just expect they’re going to come back and maybe build a little sounder homes. In some countries, houses are built on tall piers – like in the bayous. Good planning.

  55. Simona says:

    Of course New Orleans will be rebuilt and it will be even better than before. Its in the human kind, in human nature to rebuilt that city…
    Can anyone imagine by the time the next earthquake hits San Francisco, what everybody knows but when, we would tell those people they have to relocate? 10 million people from California? And then 15 million people from L.A. to, because it could happen there to? No way.
    To give up is not the american spirit or the american dream.
    Greetings from Germany, love to all of you, sorry that I can’t be there to help, Simona

  56. marym says:

    What about sending in all those riverboats that are running gambling operations, to pick up and ‘evactuate’ the stranded people in NO?

    Maybe even some television ‘preachers’ would relent.

  57. Rod Amis says:

    This is what I love about the Internet, people can seriously have a non-debate. It shows how much time we Americans actually have on our hands.

    New Orleans will be there 300 years from now, too. There’s a lot of love in and for the Crescent City. Folly sure. Love is full of folly. We need, as I said earlier in this thread, a little more benigh madness in this world. That other kind of madness led to the Corps of Engineers not being able to get funded to complete their work on the levees to begin with. The money was needed to rebuild Iraq, instead, some of us thought at the time.

  58. owl 1 says:

    “The Gulf Coast is a working coast. It is vital to the U.S economy. Oil, refineries, shipping, river transport, drainage.

    Where else are you going to put it? How about we pave over some of Connecticut and build a few refineries?”

    Alan, I particularly loved that sentence about paving over. Too true. All these nasty ole refineries and rigs can’t ruin the landscape for the loudest shouters about the “price of oil”. They sure a lot uglier than those offensive windmills. Don’t build a refinery around us and polute the air!! Don’t ruin Alaska with them. Don’t go nuke. On and on but we want cheap oil. Yep, I suspect we will do NO a grand favor and rebuild.

  59. I’m sorry, Eileen…I didn’t mean to pick on you. It’s just WAY too early for punditing about how/why/when to rebuild. This kind of knee-jerk talk results in rushed decisions, made with incomplete information.

  60. Richard Blaine says:

    So where in the country… in the WORLD… are you gonna live? Tsunamis. Hurricanes. Tornados. Floods. Droughts. Earthquakes. Mud slides. Dust storms. Blizzards. Wildfire. Extreme heat. Extreme cold. I defy you to name ANY location that is not susceptible to a hundred year, or even a ten year event.

    Before we abandon New Orleans, we should seriously consider whether the cities Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago should be allowed to exist. All three are foul holes prone to both natural and man-made disasters, and by ANY standard merit the bulldozer.

  61. Gordon says:

    As a horse racing professional and fan, yes rebuild New Orleans.

    But beyond that petty reason, I still think it should be rebuilt. Like many people said before, if we are going to dump money into Iraq, Florida, New York City, Israel, and the entire coast of North Carolina, we can rebuild people’s homes in the Big Easy.

    And oh where are the Lousiana and Mississippi National Guardsmen? 50% of them are in Iraq rebuilding their cities (per

  62. Kartasik says:

    It makes no difference about whether New Orleans should be rebuilt. It will be. It was not just a pointless town. It was a major US sea port. It has one of the only harbors to allow the giant super tankers (idiot). Those who think New Orleans was just a tourist trap are ignorant idiots indeed. Wait till the full impact reaches you in your landlocked hill countries. 25% or more of US trade passed through that spot. The other ports are already backed up with shipping that has to wait in long lines.

  63. Larry Watson says:

    New Orleans should be abandoned and perhaps turned into some sort of ‘Atlantis’ theme park. Actually half the city should be dredged up to fill in the other half to where it is above sea level – then the newly created hole should become part of a new harbor. But hey, while we are at it – using logic, why is it everyday millions of Americans drive past millions of other Americans driving the opposite way going to work? Why not pass a law penalizing businesses that hire employees who live more than 20 miles from their location? In short order the population would shift to match the correct fit, and the USA could save billions of barrels of oil every year. Ah, but logic has never played a role in civilization since the fall of the Peruvian Empire.

  64. Look on the bright side, this destruction will create 10 to 15 years of construction jobs on a massive scale. It will serve as a magnet for every hammer swinger and saw-man from coast to coast. In short order you will see the illegal immigration drop off in your area as Mexicans head south to where the work is. And better yet, many of the banjo-strumming white-trash that populates your areas will likewise march toward the sound of the air-hammers thundering in New Orleans.

  65. John Hewitt says:

    Just to throw more gas on the flame. I wonder how much better the situation would have been if our Army reservists had been available to help instead of off fighting a war against the people we were “liberating”.

  66. Catherine says:

    I agree with Dennis. It’s hard to believe that all of you who want New Orleans to cease to exist because of the monetary cost to the country forget that it’s one of the most important ports in the country and is home to a large portion of the domestic oil industry.

    If Boston could fill in the Back Bay in the 1800’s then New Orleans can fill in as well and rebuild on top. Just leave the French Quarter alone. It seems to be doing fine as it is.

    Also, this rebuilding could be a blessing in disguise. You could argue that one of the reasons there’s so much crime in N.O. is because of the Broken Window theory (see: The Tipping Point). If it’s all rebuilt and pretty and smelling good, maybe crime will drop. And the rebuilding jobs will give people something to do and a way to make money.

  67. Richard Blaine says:

    “Why not pass a law penalizing businesses that hire employees who live more than 20 miles from their location?’

    Because we’re not a totalitarian state? Some of us actually believe in freedom!

  68. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Look on the bright side: at least the streets don’t smell like piss now.

  69. Mike in Colorado says:

    Interesting comments, but they really don’t matter. New Orleans is going to be rebuilt, just like all those houses on the Florida barrier islands. People aren’t rational about things like this; never have been, never will be. Might as well get used to it.

  70. JennyD says:

    How about we rebuild Detroit instead? Detroit is now the nation’s most impoverished city, beating Newark, El Paso, Atlanta, Miami, and Long Beach. If we rebuild it, I promise it won’t be destroyed in a hurricane.

  71. mrbill says:

    Why not finish draining Lake P. and then move the city UP above the lake this time. You always want the water bodies BELOW where you live.

    Or with the new eminent domain take in a few square miles and build it right this time. Just move it up a bit. Galveston rebuilt the entire island up 17 Feet after the 1903 ‘cain.

    With the 26 Billion coming from Insurance that would be a start and require everyone to build in the new city North and away from the coaset. Taxpayers are starting to catch on to this scam. And it becoming tiresome.

  72. I’m with you on this one, Jeff. And now is precisely the time to be discussing this, while the nation’s attention is fixed upon it. If we wait a few weeks, until everybody is resettled and there has been time to bring back sentimentality over every brick, the talk will become less about public safety and more about taxpayers’ burdens.

    I like the idea of turning it into a touristy (Vegas style) city. I wonder if anybody would consider, though, allowing the water to run through it, as an American Venice? That could solve the flooding concerns, and at the same time, control growth and its accompanying environmental problems. They could build a tighter, smaller levee around the old French Quarter, if necessary, and let the rest of the city flow.

  73. Sean says:

    If they are going to rebuild this city, then they should raise the ground level by 12 feet. It’s not a smart idea to be stuck at sea level between the gulf and a giant lake. Every historical landmark and building could easily be jacked up to the new city level. Most everything else should be used as land fill.

  74. Explain how to “rebuild” Detroit, please. If you’ve got an answer for that one, I’d love to hear it.

  75. peggy says:

    I’m for the middle road here.

    By all means rebuild it. I can’t imagine our nation without NO. Its simply unimaginable. God what a loss for us if so.

    Just build it better. Abandon the low ground whereever possible. rebuild on higher ground.

    Itmay not be an informed opinion but I am in the camp with those who realize the importance of the soul that NO has and that soul emanates from it precisely because it isnt plastic and masterplanned etc.

    Dublin Ireland was once a filthy mess but it was one of the most wonderful and fun places I have ever been. I liked how mucky it was. It was genuine at the very least. Now its all gleaming and clean. You can breath clean air in the pubs. The magic has mostly fled. It breaks my heart to even think of NO rebuilt as some kind of Disneyfied resort. Rebuild it folks. I’m willing to pay for it as long as its rebuilt smart.

  76. peggy says:


    I glad that new low income housing for the poor folks of the city will be have to be built. If there is any silver lining to this and if it isnt crass to suggest it, this would be it. Would to God that a storm like this wasnt necessary for this to happen.

  77. New Englander says:

    First, I’d like to say that my heart and soul goes out to all the people who are suffering in the great city of New Orleans.

    I’ve never been to New Orleans, but like many people around the US, I enjoy the food, music/culture, and know a little about the history of New Orleans.

    I agree with the people who have said that it’s important to rebuild the city of New Orleans.

    I don’t think its a question of if the city will be rebuilt, it’s probably a question of how it can be done. Even if this means that just the French Quarter and a couple of other areas survive and nature takes back the rest. We’ve go to let go if we have to (of course that’s a hell of a lot easier for me to say several hundred feet above sea level).

  78. fred lapides says:

    The city will be be rebuilt and what you think or say about how, why, where etc will be of little of no interest to those politicians who will get big tax bucks to doi the rebuilding. I would suggest putting Haliburton in charge of it. They seem central to any financing and rebvuilding that takes place.

  79. John Hewitt says:

    Chances are, the “new” New Orleans will look an awful lot like the rest of America. If you think people are going to rebuild creaky mansions, forget it. It is lucky that the French Quarter survived, because that is going to be the only place left that looks distict. Lets hope the “spirit” of New Orleans lies in its people, because the buildings are going to start to look like everywhere else.

  80. John says:

    But… Having visited the city often in my last job, I was always struck by its poverty and its lack of a workable economy. Tourism is pretty much the only industry. The food is great. The attitude is fun. But big companies had left.

    What does any of this have to do with Katrina? I suspect a large part of No’s economic issues are rooted in La adherence to Napoleonic code instead of British common law.

  81. Jim Jones says:

    I don’t think it makes any econonmic, logical, safety sense to rebuild New Orleans. The next hurricane that levels it could be 100 years away or just next summer. There has to be a safe place in Louisianna that the people of New Orleans can be relocated to.

  82. Ruth says:

    Not Venice, San Antonio. Jeff, what would you think of letting canals run Thru It in NO. Sounds like a good plan. And a good use of the victims, to let them sign up to put in canals, as the CCC did for San Antonio.

    Of course, I also like the concept of sending the riverboats that now house gambling operations in to pick up victims.

  83. john hogarth says:

    What we should do is bomb the levees, let the water find its natural level, then rebuild. But we won’t.

  84. How many years have people been aware of the potential of a levee break? Bush Co. cut off funding for the levee to help pay for the bombing of Iraq, where will they yank the $$ from this time to pay for this relief effort? These guys are penny-wise and pound-foolish. It’s gonna cost 100x as much as building proper levee’s now.

    “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men.” – B.O.C.

    Go Go Godzilla indeed.

  85. Elmer says:

    Gunther said: “I wonder if you’d be so quick to suggest abandonment and relocation of New Orleans if the people affected were predominantly white rather than black?”

    So, because most of these people are black, they should be condemned to live in a below sea level, flood prone area which has no industry (jobs) except tourism, subject in future years further cataclysm?

    The historic area has fared relatively well. It sits high enough that it could be protected from future clamity. Rebuild it. The rest of the city was mostly a poverty stricken slum, prone to disaster. Let nature have it back. Rebuild the rest of the city in a location less prone to natural disaster, more prone to viable industry, and the poor blacks won’t be so poor.

    If we are going to spend billions of dollars to rebuild (we will, and rightly so), why not do it right? Relocate.

  86. JennyD says:

    Alan G., I agree. How on earth would one rebuild Detroit? Let me ask the question another way, if we could only rebuild one city, which should it be: New Orleans, which will surely flood again, or Detroit, which will continue to drain the taxpayer dollars in welfare and other ways if it goes on as is?

    It’s a thought experiment, not a real question.

  87. Aldo says:

    Why on earth would anyone want to rebuild New Orleans? I’m tired of subsidizing all these idiots that live in disaster prone areas. We’ve spent 12 Trillion dollars rebuilding disaster areas over the years… and for what? We understand that with oceans becoming warmer that these areas are just going to be pleted harder and more regularly every season.

    The risk equation is changing, and it will cost more to rebuild New Orleans and make it safe than it would probably cost to house twice the popluation elsewhere.

  88. Porkopolis says:

    I’m maintaining a blog list of bloggers asking the tough questions regarding the rebuilding of New Orleans. There’s precedence for relocations established during the 1993 Mississippi floods.

    Bloggers on the list are advocating a humanitarian, yet responsible discussion on the future of New Orleans.

    [And no it’s not to early to be discussing this when politicians might succumb to the emotions of the moment and start making all types of promises to rebuild a city located in a floodplain]

    Db’s sentiments above ( just about hit the mark dead on on the arguments against rebuilding.

    Please point any like-minded bloggers that would like to be added to the list over my way at:

    Part of what has to be done is contact Senators and Congressman to let them know there’s another way to help those in need.


  89. Phil says:

    I feel very fortunate that I was able to visit NO twice in a six-month span a few years ago (and once as a child with my parents, not as fun that time). It was one of the most enjoyable times I have ever spent visiting another city. The last time I was there we got to go to a huge warehouse where many of the Mardi Gras floats are kept, I can only imagine they haven’t held up very well.

    So while I feel great sorrow and sadness for the people and city of NO I couldn’t help thinking about what they should do. I can’t fathom the complexity of pumping the water out, rebuilding the levees, rebuilding the city. I live near Grand Forks, ND that experience something similar but on a much smaller scale a few years back. They’re still rebuilding and they had the fortune of having the water leave on it’s own. How the hell do you pump all that water out?

    Anyway. My first thought was just leave it, let it flood but at the same time let people move there if they want, offer no gov’t help, nothing…let it turn into some crazy Waterworld/Mad Max/Escape From New York society. A couple decades from now we’d have one of the craziest cities in the world. But I came to my senses and realized that wouldn’t be the safest or sanest thing.

    That’s when I, like a few earlier posts suggested, thought of turning it into an American version of Venice. Don’t try to beat nature, take what it gives you and work with it. If you insist on building your city in a hole surrounded by water, embrace it and build on stilts.

    So even with saying that I’d have to say it may have been a tad early to start talking about this…but what are you gonna do?

  90. Amir Meshkin says:

    Not only should it be rebuilt, but it should be made better. Thats like asking if the twin towers should be rebuilt. Of course they should, taller and stronger than before. The same can be done for New Orleans…

  91. Put me in the “No” column on the question. It’s folly to treat Mother Earth with such hubris and contempt.

  92. JennyD says:

    Oh Lord, lose the black-white racial argument. This country abandoned poor blacks decades ago. The question is: can NO be abandoned without rich whites losing their minds?

    Rich whites left Newark, Detroit, El Paso, Atlanta a long time ago and nobody cared one whit.

  93. Mugsiewugsie says:

    Please, people. Let’s not let our romantic notions get in the way of reality. It’s great that we have wonderful memories of New Orleans…but it’s gone! To equate the rebuilding of New Orleans wth reconstruction of something at the site of the the twin towers (two buildings) is ludicrous. Our lack of education, common sense, and grasp of economics is showing. Rebuild it somewhere above sea level, for God’s sake. Otherwise, this will happen again at some point, folks. This was predicatable — and predicted — by people with a brain and knowledge of basic science. Get a grip and move forward. Let’s not wallow in our horrible errors in judgment. And by the way, to place this at the door of our dear leader Bush is to again show the limitlessness of ignorance and political partisanship (please note, I’m a life-long Democrat). The potential for this very catastrophe has been known for decades — through administrations of both parties — and absolutely nothing has been done by any of them. So get your head out of your hind-quarters. Excessive partisanship is what will sink us all if we’re not careful.

  94. Ravo says:

    Right on, Mugsiewugsie!

  95. Ranger Bob says:

    Because people are still being rescued and the dead have not yet been picked up, I would suggest that this topic be shelved for a while.

    There are questions that need to be asked and addressed. Now is not the time.

  96. marly says:

    I have this feeling…..most of the people who post here, voicing their opinion that NO should not be rebuilt do not live in Louisiana or any southern state, for that matter. Are you not familiar with our undying affection for lost causes?
    Furthermore, it’s necessary that a city should stand at the mouth of the Mississippi River. How it’ll be rebuilt – that’s another matter. Even the people that’ll cry for New Orleans may not want to see it in the same form, or when it is rebuilt (undoubtedly to be much uglier and more modern) will not visit it. New Orleans is over as we know it – however, every liberal, northerner, “rational” poster on here should know the people of Louisiana (or the south) will not give a flying sh** about rationalizations and all this tax-related selfishness…..we’ll build it back if every body has to come out with his/her hammer and piece of plywood, on our own dollar.
    that is the meaning of loyalty. we’re a people with a past, not rootless chaff floating around, feeding off new environments like parasites without leaving anything valuable there. Preserving the past is the responsibility of the current generation.

  97. Rod Amis says:

    Well, you made me do it. I had to write an requiem from New Orleans, since so many of you want to see it gone. Then I got angry. (oops!) Didn’t mean to, but I started thinking about some of the things I read here about that city and the next thing I knew —

    You can read it here if you wish.

  98. Eileen says:

    Right on, RB,

    It’s just too soon. First things first!

    I wish your post, Jeff, had been titled How Do We Save the Living? As always, I respect your blog and what you choose to post, but come on……! How about all the issues this spawns regarding Automatic Mobilization in any region of the country related to natural disasters or other crises? What about Automatic provisions for providing food and water – without waiting for the Salvation Army or Red Cross to somehow get their lunch wagons through rubble or God knows what – which should be actuated within 12 hours by land, air or water? I see a lot of ‘lessons’ to be learned here, long before we focus on questions of rebuilding.

    How about a master plan regarding how we deal with looters and other predictable results of people in trauma without resources?

    Why not put the brains in this forum to work on saving what’s left of the poor souls in NO before we focus on questions of resurrection.

  99. James says:

    Just let it die. New Orleans is sinking more and more each decade, and this will happen again. Condem the whole thing, plow it under, and rebuild somewhere higher. I understand the history, the culture and attachment that people have to the city, but if it were moved to higher ground and a planned city with a better and more organized infrastructure could be built , the business and employment would return.

  100. g52ultra says:

    Sure, go ahead an rebuild it. But not with taxpayers money. I don’t think the insurance companies should have to insure them- why should ever US homeowner who pays insurance have to suffer because people choose to live in an environmentally unsuitable place that offers no productivity to the US economy!

  101. E Eggs says:

    I think that db (August 30th, 2005 at 9:12 pm ) said it best – effectively that no matter the glorious historical significance, New Orleans was built in an extremely unfortunate (unworkable, dumb) location. This neo-con (me) is forced to side with the “don’t build major urban centers in swamps” crowd (especially if you are going to put them under sea level).

    I sense that we’re going to be getting into the half-trillion plus dollar range either way (cleaing up and rebuilding in place VS. cleaning up and rebuilding above sea level), and I can’t see investing this much dough in a losing proposition.

    Fate may have put NO there the first time, but I sure hope we’re not foolish enough to put it back below sea level the second time.

  102. rxwhite says:

    Over the past three days, I have watched floodwaters destroy my home. We have not buried our dead, and the ghouls already want to abandon New Orleans.

    I will not have a home for the next three months; if we don’t rebuild New Orleans, then can I and 1.2 million of my neighbors come live with you? Can we relocate our refining capacity and petrochemical facilities in your backyard?

    I am tired and frustrated, so I really don’t want to talk about logic; I want to scream and curse at those who don’t want to rebuild my city. Do you think you’re immune to natural disaster? Are you so blessed that earthquakes, flood, terrorist attacks, blizzards, and tornadoes avoid you like the plague?

    But let’s be logical for a moment: The U.S. needs a port in south Louisiana, unless you forget about using the Mississippi River. For those of you who only want to rebuild the port above sea level, then we’ll build a second port north of the Port of Baton Rouge. I hate to remind you, but most of the Gulf Coast is under sea level.

    For those of you who want to plow New Orleans under and salt the ground, how much of opinion is based upon your knowledge of the city (and its economy–oh yes, one of the largest ports in the world provides no economic benefit to the United States) and how much is based upon seeing the looters on rampage around Canal Street? The dark part of my heart wants your home to suffer the disaster specific to your region so that heart-ache replaces your fat smugness; instead, I hope and pray that you will never have to go through what I am going through.

  103. Jeff says:

    RXWhite: My heart goes out to you and I’m sorry that I have nothing more to offer than those empty words.
    I’m not sayiing that New Orleans should be abandoned. But I am asking whether rebuilding it as was is the best solution and whether it is responsible to put people at this risk again. So I’m asking how it should be rebuilt.

  104. Deeply Concerned says:

    First, let me say to rxwhite and every other person directly affected by this disaster how very sad and concerned I am at the dangerous predicament in which they find themselves, not to mention the horrific loss they have suffered. I have watched the news constantly with tears in my eyes, and yes, I immediately made a substantial donation to disaster relief.

    I will state unequivocally that these people need immediate and long term solutions to the difficult problems that they face.

    That said, here is my question. And to repeat myself, I can well understand and appreciate the desparate circumstances faced by those affected and this is not meant to seem at all insensitive to their needs and desire to get back to their homes and neighborhoods just as soon as possible.

    There are tens and hundreds of thousands of displaced people. It will cost billions and take years to rebuild the homes directly in danger of a repeat disaster (living 20 feet under sea level, one can never feel comfortable that it will not happen again in our lifetime). There is the immediate need to house all of these people, provide them with food and the means to survive and thrive. Just dealing with the evacuees/refugees or whatever the latest politically correct term is to describe the victims will cost more billions. And for how long? I doubt that there will be anything like normalcy for a very long time. When faced with the magnitude of the problem, the facts are sobering. Just safely restoring power to the neighborhoods will take months and millions of dollars.

    There is existing housing stock throughout the US that is vacant and otherwise for sale. These are great homes in wonderful communities that can immediately accommodate these folks. Rather than putting an unprecedented strain on Houston, Tennessee and other adjacent areas and their school and public welfare systems, each of these areas around the country could absorb the handful of students and families without much of an effect on their local economies.

    From a cost and efficiency standpoint, does it make sense to spend the restoration money instead on the immediate relocation of these folks to areas where they can quickly get on with their lives, rather than placing them in what will certainly be intolerable conditions for months until who knows what happens with their homes? Remember also all the businesses that were closed and will never re-open, so the local economy will be in a state of ruin for ages. Tourism, the largest or second largest industry in the area will likely not rebound for years.

    How long will it take for the neighborhood that needs to be rebuilt to also have the new grocery stores, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure needed to sustain those homes?

    This disaster creates a terrific dilemma for our citizens, lawmakers, those affected and those far away — what is the best solution for everyone, not just those directly affected, but as well those who will pay the price in economic terms as well? It is very hard to find the correct balance between bringing people back to their homes and the costs. I do not envy the task of those who must make these very difficult decisions.

  105. Aldo says:

    “Preserving the past is the responsibility of the current generation.”

    No wonder the south is so backward… it’s one thing to be a keeper of history, and a completely other thing to be so disgustingly sentimental, it eclipses your ability to be reasonable. When people are calling to rebuild before they’ve even done the math, that’s just stupidity.

  106. Bernard says:

    On Chrismas Day 1974 the northern Australian city of Darwin was hit by Cyclone “Tracy” The city was flattened and the population had to be evacuated to cities to the south of Australia. An ex Australian army general was called in to administer the city under almost martial law. The city was rebuilt with Austrlalian taxpayers money and today has a population about three times it was in 1974.The buildings there are built to resist cyclone damage and the city of Darwin is now a thriving and vibrant place. In 1963 the US Navy established a submarine communications base at Exmouth in Western Australia and all the accomodation unuts were cyclone resitant Early tis century a cyclone went very close to Exmouth and none of the houses were damaged.
    It would be a a shame that your country with all its weathly and “yankee” ingenuity were to desert and abandon Nouvelle Orleans

  107. WordWizard says:

    New Orleans definitely needs to be rebuilt if for no other reason than Houston doesn’t want to keep the gang bangers that are currently coming here with the storm refugees. Selfish or not, this Houstonian wants them to be able to go back as soon as possible.

  108. The Hammer says:

    What a BRILLIANT(!) idea. Let’s spend a trillion dollars to rebuild a city on the Gulf Coast BELOW sea level. As Forrest Gump’s mama used to say, “Stupid is, as stupid does.”

    Just declare the New Orleans bowl Lake New Orleans and make it a monument to American stupidity. Rebuild on high ground.

  109. Hobars says:

    I think that “benjaminkwhiskey” had it right. We need to rebuild around the French quater and what little of New Orlean’s is above sea level. Try to preserve what history we can, but to expect it to be anything like before is just stupid.

    I have been to New Orleans several times and loved every bit of it, but it is a place not meant to exist. With most of the city lying below sea level you would just be asking for death and destruction to come again were you to rebuild in those areas.

    This is nothing like the Chicago Fire or this Australian city and its Cyclone. Those are isolated incidences not likely to happen again. The pleople of New Orleans have known that their city lies in an area bombarded by hurricanes every year. They knew eventually “the big one” would come allong and take the city with it. Why would you rebuild knowning it would happen again?

    You want to spend billions of dollars and give people homes in the city again. Then their deaths when this happens again (even if it is another 50 years) will be on your head. Yes, not rebuilding is partely about money, but it is also about saving lives.

    The weather world wide has been “over active” in recent years. Our world is going through some changes and I believe we will see more drastic weather like this. I wish New Orleans still stood. I was relieved when it seemed they had been spared. But then the worst happened and we can not change that sad fact.

    Would you let your government try to make money by playing russian roulette? That is what we’ll be doing if we rebuild New Orleans.

    Be realistic about this. Sentiment won’t save lives.

  110. James says:

    If we rebuild New Orleans, I will be convinced that humans are a terminal species.

    “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

    “Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.” Lincoln

    We must (in the present and in the future):

    1. Stop trying to play God and beat Nature
    a. I don’t care how charming it is, you don’t build a major city in a hurricane-prone, silt-fed delta and expect it to flourish. Last time I checked, sea levels were rising, hurricanes were stronger and more frequent, and New Orleans was SINKING.


    2. Refuse to allow emotions dictate our decisions and instead rely on pure, natural reason.
    a. I understand it’s a difficult thing to do, especially in this day in age. But above all, people need to stop, reflect, and act out of reason. We need to think with our minds and not with our hearts. Our minds cannot falter but our hearts can lead us astray. If you disagree and think we should rebuild New Orleans, think of the millions of people that will be hurt and disappointed the next time this happens. And it will be YOUR fault.

    Of course, I think we’ll rebuild New Orleans because we’ll build those damn levees higher, pray for clear skies, and tell God to go screw himself because us humans are the best damn thing this Earth has ever known and all the natural laws that He’s created are bullshit compared to our destiny…

  111. Tycho Brahe says:

    Now I love Amos Moses and his allogator hunting ways… but I’m not going to pay him to lose his other arm out in the Bayou so I have to feed him his weight in groceries for the rest of his life.

  112. Gray says:

    Imho this is the most ridiculous question to be asked in this time of emergency matters. Normally, only a real troll would post that kind of stuff. But ok, I’m a fan uf NuAwlins, let’s do it.

    Firstly, ‘Is that the best use of our tax and insurance dollars?’. Well, let’s see if YOUR dollars are needed, Jeff, or if La could handle it alone.

    ‘The total gross state product in 2003 for Louisiana was $140 billion’ (wiki). The MSM quotes damages of about 25 billion dollars. Regarding this numbers (damages 18% of gsp), I guess that it should be possible for La to finance the reconstruction, if they wouldn’t have to send the taxes to Washington. Then it would be up to the people of Big Easy and the parishes to decide if the want to use THEIR money to rebuild, ok?

    Secondly, I assume that you are living in NY now. Did you ask this question in regard to ground zero after 911? You seem to have lived in SanFrancisco, too. Did you engage in a discussion if it was right for the 1906 californians to rebuild the city in the same earthquake zone?

    Thirdly, maybe you should concentrate on the question why the Bush administration prevented the people of Louisisiana from using more of THEIR tax dollars for flood prevention. It seems, repubs thought they have a better use for that money.

  113. clevelander says:

    Everyone’s right – and wrong.

    First, I need to say how hurt I feel just looking at the pictures. The ruination is unfathomable. People will have strange thoughts, & being a musician, a bass player, I wondered how many basses were lost in this. It’s not trivial – sometimes a detail you care about brings the tragedy close to home.

    The key is to look at this tragic disaster as both a regional & a national prooblem, because it is both. Of course, we need a port city at the Mississippi, & of course it is insane to build below sea level. A smaller, smarter New Orleans needs to be planned for. So does relocation.

    Anyway, I identified myself as Clevelander to invite everyone to consider the Great Lakes. We are seismically sound, we are the greatest fresh water supply in the world, and our climate is temperate, though winter takes some getting used to. Here in Cleveland, housing is affordable & we are home to one of the world’s great orchestras & art museums. We have bautiful parks. When the southeast floods over & the southwest is parched to ruin, we’ll still be here.

    Lastly, for people to be relocated, jobs need to be relocated. I have complete faith that ingenuity & unselfishness will rule, or do I? – these two things being in short supply in our nation’s capital.

  114. Deeply Concerned says:

    Interesting point of note, in the several press conferences I have heard given by the Federal officials responding to the disaster, including that of our Commander in Chief, not one of them has talked about rebuilding. Every word spoken is limited to rescue, recovery and providing relief.

  115. JoshuaBrownell says:

    I think we should rebuid the city with gondolas and make it like Las Vegas to repay the other states that helped rebuild it.

  116. ricky says:

    To some of you people that think we can “just raise it up a few feet” where are we going to get all of that dirt from? I agree with the people that say it is a good idea to rebuild it in the same place and build the buildings strong enough to withstand a category 5 hurricane.

  117. ricky says:

    yes it should

  118. ricky says:

    west side locos

  119. andrew sure says:

    (1) Pick an spot between two islands about halfway along the chain of Florida Keys. Draw a rectangle around the spot, maybe thirty miles long by 10 miles wide. The line defing the rectangle will probably be in open water; nonetheless, build a wall from the sea floor to maybe fifteen feet above the surface — a total of maybe 50 feet high.

    (2) Pump out all the water from this huge bathtub.
    Just let it die. New Orleans is sinking more and more each decade, and this will happen again. Condem the whole thing, plow it under, and rebuild somewhere higher. I understand the history, the culture and attachment that people have to the city, but if it were moved to higher ground and a planned city with a better and more organized infrastructure could be built , the business and employment would return
    (3) Build a city on the dry bathtub floor, and move about a million people in. Wait for the next hurricane to drown them.

    Repeat steps (2) and (3) about once every 100 years.
    THAT is how stupid it is to rebuild New Orleans now, given the effective total destruction of city’s existing real estate.
    Except it’s even stupider, because New Orleans has a huge elevated aqueduct (some call it the Mississippi River) running down the centerline of the bathtub. You gotta also agree that you’d have to be a dumbfuck or rich asshole to rebuild below sea-level. And of course nonexistant global warming has nothing to do with freak weather (”oh, it goes in cycles and there’s no proof” – these muthafuckas need to be fed to the animals).

    But while everyone’s just taking it up the butt (in a bad way) and whimpering about bargain gas prices (Chris Rock, keen as always, is right on message appealing to dumb, greedy, evil voters by hammering on gas prices)

    But anyway, you just gotta wonder how intelligent it would be to design Newnew Orleans in its present location, when God obviously doesn’t want it there.Before talking about rebuilding, first someone needs to get the Mayor to find a way to evacuate the people who can’t drive. I have not seen a single announcment on how they are going to get them out – or what people should do it they don’t have a car and want to leave.

    Why weren’t buses and trucks commandered before the streets were flooded out today? Why were’t pick-up places arragned tonight for trucks and buses to get people out before even more streets are closed?

    And why did Nagin say again tonight that if it wasn’t for last night’s breaks – all utilities would have been restored in one to two weeks?

    Like many people said before, if we are going to dump money into Iraq, Florida, New York City, Israel, and the entire coast of North Carolina, we can rebuild people’s homes in the Big Easy.

    And oh where are the Lousiana and Mississippi National Guardsmen? 50% of them are in Iraq rebuilding their cities.
    Let’s use disney’s money to do it.

    Just let it die. New Orleans is sinking more and more each decade, and this will happen again. Condem the whole thing, plow it under, and rebuild somewhere higher. I understand the history, the culture and attachment that people have to the city, but if it were moved to higher ground and a planned city with a better and more organized infrastructure could be built , the business and employment would return
    And i also think that the government needs to get off there ass and help there people out not saying in just New Orleans im saying across the United States in general.Yeah NewOrleans just got hit pretty hard and im sorry for there loss but they gotta move on the best that they can even if they did loose there house and car and all there personal belongings and move to a different state.But if it was vise versa and i was in this situation id want the government to help me get my home rebuilt and help me threw everything.But personally it isnt my problem so im not gonna stress it or get all worked up for it there is nothing i can do as a citezen of the U.S i have no say so in the matter and im not fased in any way by Katrina so like i said i really dont care no one i know lives there so it doesnt botther me but i gotta feel for the people and there familys and friends and kids all homeless and have no supplies.I mean everyones gotta feel for them at least a little bit i mean everyone gotta start all over from nothing and thats really hard so i dont know its pointless to spend billions to rebuild it if its just gonna happen again and again and keep spe

  120. Off Shore Pundit says:

    Maybe just maybe they won’t be able to rebuild New Orleans. It’s in a vulnerable location and there is nothing but mothing to stop a big storm coming in to the same area next month, next year – every year for the next ten years.

    The big re-insurers are going to be looking at this very hard. The biggest, Munich Re, has been talking about not re-insuring risks in unstable climate areas for some time.

    Without re-insurance, primary insurance doesn’t get written. Without primary insurance banks don’t lend for construction.

    Looking at TV news on CNN, Fox etc out heart goes out to the victims. But the sight of grossly overweight people huffing and puffing out of their SUVs at gas stations in unaffected areas and bitching about gas prices is not edifying. You Americanos are going to have to undergo a paradigm shift. How are you going to pay for reconstruction whilst waging war on the peoples of the ME? How are you going to pay without raising taxes.

    You have around a million people without homes, business and infrastructure. This is serious.

    You have a President who cannot even read a speech about the disaster without stumbling. You have got problems.

  121. DEATH18777 says:

    Some one has got to explain to me why we as the citizens of this great land have to rebuild the corupt & decidedly worst designed city in the world next to the Neterlands.
    To Build a city below sea level is not wise let alone profitable.
    If we the citizens of the United States are taxed to rebuild New Oleanes than I say move it to higher ground or build a sea wall that can withsand a catigory (5) storm.
    To Rebuild in the same place is asking us all to render un to Cesar for the folly of Rome.
    If money is to be spent it should be to relocate the inhabitants to higher ground & move the City else where.
    This port is not feasable the way it is; Time to move on!
    After all the French built it where it is how smart could it be to keep it there!

  122. Ann says:

    These same questions will be asked when Las Vegas runs out of water or when the New Madras fault–potentially worse than the San Andreas–devatates cities up and down Middle America. Will our answer be the same?

  123. John Hewitt says:

    The point is simple. You can rebuild all you want, but it will not be New Orleans. It may have the name, but this high-quality cyclone-proof housing being discussed cannot possibly be paid for by the residents of the slums that were destroyed. These people cannot possibly pay for this type of housing, and if you think anyone is going to provide it to them gratis, you are mistaken. Even if they did, this would not create a New Orleans even remotely like the one that was before it. You would be building an entirely different city that would not welcome many of it’s poorer residents back.

  124. Off Shore Pundit says:

    People are already wondering what effect Hurricane Katrina will have on the US economy. So far, most of the discussion I’ve seen has focused on very simplified Keynesian or GDP-based views of the economy, in which the resources that go into rebuilding New Orleans and the surrounding regions count as a net addition to economic activity.

    As far as the national accounts go, this may be right. As the name says, GDP is a gross measure, which means it takes no account of depreciation, including the massive destruction caused by events like hurricanes. Depending on how things like insurance payouts are counted, there could easily be an increase in measured GDP. The main lesson from this is that, if you’re interested in economic welfare, don’t look at GDP.

    But I don’t think the old-style Keynesian story, in which a reconstruction effort brings unused resources into use and thereby stimulates more economic activity, is likely to be applicable. I assume any injection of funds will come primarily from the national government, which is already running massive deficits, to the point where its capacity for fiscal stimulus is pretty much exhausted. The impact of any further expenditure will almost certainly offset, in part by cuts to other areas, but even more by tighter monetary policy and upward market pressure on interest rates.

    The immediate reaction of oil prices shows how tightly stretched the entire market has become, but I don’t think the effect on supplies will be great enough to have much effect in the medium term (say in six months time). However, that’s just a guess.

    The real problem I haven’t seen discussed much so far is what will happen if, as is now predicted, it takes three to six months to pump all the water out of the city of New Orleans. In the absence of well-designed and large-scale intervention, that would imply bankruptcy for the vast majority of private businesses based in the city. This in turn would imply unemployment for many people who might otherwise return, and a whole lot of second-round effects working through supply chains. It’s unclear what kind of economic activity will survive, beyond a tourist market centred on the French Quarter (apparently relatively undamaged).

    Even in the best of all possible worlds it would be hard to design a policy response to a disaster of this magnitude and duration. In practice, based on recent past experience, I think we’re likely to see some impressive rhetoric, a lot of gigantic boondoggles as favoured interests cash in on the reconstruction program, but not much effective alleviation of hardship or coherent thinking about sustainable economic recovery.

  125. Gray says:

    And the question is totally baseless. The Vieux Careé, or French Quarter, the motor for tourism in NO, isn’t seriously devastated. The Michoud works (space technology) is ok. I guess the same is true for many other job engines – except the casinos. Part of the damage will be covered by the insurances (and, Jeff, it’s the job of the insurance cos to calculate the risk and the premiums, if you don’t want your dollars to be used for NO, cancel your insurance).

    I guess that many citzens won’t return after this experience. though, so NewAwlins will automatically be smaller. Not to mention the people who died in this preventable disaster.
    But for the courageous citizen who will return and rebuild or stayed and struggle to get their business through the catastrophe (like the incredible team of DirectNIC), who is this Jeff Jarvis to deny them their right?

  126. Concerned says:

    I keep reading a recurring statement on this board. Arguments for not rebuilding NO and then the people that say we shouldn’t build any city that gets hit by a natural disater (flood, fire, earthquake). Here is my take on why NO doesn’t need to be rebuilt.
    In most of the above scenarios, the locations where these disasters occur can start a rebuilding and recovery effort practically the next day. NO is still evacuating as we speak after 4 days. After other hurricanes, bulldozers, insurance agents, utility companies, and chainsaws are starting to do their job. After 4 days, south Florida (also hit by Katrina) has dried out and their residents are getting the help they need. They aren’t having to wait for 9 weeks for their area to be drained and for the Army Corp of Engineers to evaluate levees or health officials to determine that it’s safe to return. The same day that the San Francisco earthquake occurred, they were jackhammering the bridges and moving the rubble away. I don’t see that happening in NO.
    NO’s location is a mistake. We all make them and sometimes they get us into trouble. Trying to justify rebuilding by saying it’s survived 300 years of existence doesn’t mean we should rebuild there again and perpetuate the mistake. NO’s location compounds the problem with a hurricane, nowhere else can that case be made.

  127. Gray says:

    Clevelander, really a gr8 country where you live. Oly thing that seems to be improvable is the lection management. Don’t your countrymen just have some old coins to spare for people in need?

  128. Gray says:

    Concerned, just think about that NO would be ok if the repubs hadn’t slashed the funds for flood prevention, ok?

  129. Leslie says:

    Should N.O. be re-built: NO.

    Instead of pumping Federal dollars into re-building a city, (which will have to re-built again & again) money should be pumped into our school system and programs to help the poor. Get them food, jobs, good education, etc. Where will this $ come from?

    Should our troops be pulled out of Iraq: YES! That will bring home lots of Federal dollars!

  130. Gray says:

    Concerned, you miss the point. NO would be mostly ok now if the repubs hadn’t slashed the funds for flood prevention, ok?

  131. Catherine says:

    I really hope the people who are writing about how stupid it is to rebuild New Orleans because the geography isn’t sustainable aren’t writing from anywhere in California, anywhere in the desert, anywhere in Florida, or anywhere in Tornado Alley. Oh wait, that doesn’t leave anything left except possibly the Northeast and the Rockies. Since we’re discussing stupid places to build a city, how about Las Vegas? Or Phoenix? Can someone tell me one redeeming reason to live in Phoenix? At least New Orleans has some usefulness. Would it really be that hard to fill in 12 feet of dirt before we build? If Bostonians could do it in the 1800’s I really don’t see why we can’t figure it out in 2005.

    Whether or not we should rebuild New Orleans seems like such an asinine question. Of course we should. You people act like it hasn’t been standing for 300 years. You act like it gets hit by a hurricane every year. San Francisco and LA face the same threat level as far as destruction capability goes. I don’t hear anyone saying we should bulldoze those cities. Can we stop having this discussion now? It’s completely stupid to even talk about. There’s no question it’ll be rebuilt. And while we’re doing it, maybe we’ll give the wetlands back which have been New Orleans natural hurricane buffer from day one.

  132. Gray says:

    Concerned, just think about that NO would be ok if the repubs hadn’t slashed the funds for flood prevention, ok?

    Catherine, the best post yet! Thx

    Leslie, gr8 that your care for the poor. It’s the poor that are suffering most from Katrina. What’s your idea where to settle them? Alaska? I guess there are no hurricanes there.

  133. Off Shore Pundit says:

    Michoud= 2,000 employees – in the scheme of things – nothing

  134. Gray says:

    Off Shore Pundit, you make some good points. Eventually, the market will answer Jeff’s question. Insurance premiums for buildings and assets that aren’t secure from hurricanes and floods will go up. Some already pressed businesses will compare the costs associated with the risk against the cost transferring their business and costs and opportunities at other locations. Of course, some will decide for transferrig. The inhabitants will make their decisions, 2, especially the poor folk who won’t be able to afford the premiums and ace the risk of losing all their belongings every few years.

    I respectfully protest your conclusion that the nation’s too hard pressed to support the desaster recovery. It could be accomplished by a simple shift of assets currently dedicated to much less urgent tasks, like building monster bridges in Alaska for populations of a few hundred, who even bemoan the consequences of the pork project on their community.

    As for the readers who don’t want to support the hurricane victims if they chose to stay in NO, Biloxi, Gulfport etc: Isn’t it contradictory to complain about high gas prices and at the same time deny help to the states where the ‘missing’ oil and fuel came from, so they can get their act together again asap?

  135. Concerned says:

    Gray, is that the same funds that built the new levee that failed?? Flood prevention is not the same as flood elimination.
    Catherine, in the past 100 years, how many times has there been a need for federal disaster money for Phoenix, Las Vegas, LA, San Fran to rebuild? NO is hit/brushed by a hurricane every 4 years (on average) and can expect a direct hit every 13 years. What natural disaster is expected as often as that for any other US city?? FYI:
    The $26 billion estimate is for the “insured” claims. The government is estimating over $100 billion for uninsured and infrastructure expenses.
    Earthquakes, while devestating, doesn’t do the mass range of damage that a hurricane does. After getting a few miles away from the epicenter of a quake, the worst that can happen is your stuff can shake off the walls. So for an LA earthquake to have the financial impact that Katrina has had on NO, it would have to occur right under the city’s center (on average of every 13 years!).

  136. Concerned says:

    Michoud = builds tank that loses foam and dooms shuttles for NASA.

  137. Gray says:

    Concerned, ack, the shuttle tank really isn’t a product to be proud of. But it’s not their sole line of services.

    As for flood prevention , I read several accounts that the levee was bound to be reinforced, but work couldn’t be done because of an unprecedent slashing of the engineer corps budget. I’ll post a link as fast as I can google that. Maybe there’s a lil delay, buzzmachines spam filter doesn’t like my comments (?).

    ‘Earthquakes, while devestating, doesn’t do the mass range of damage that a hurricane does.’ The earthquake of SF 1906 cost $400 million damage and countless lives. Dunno how much the dmg is in nowadays dollars, and not sure if life is cheaper today. The impact range may be several hundred miles of coastline, if an earthquake sparks a tsunami, haven’t we learned that recently?

  138. Gray says:

    Same article, an even more telling quote:
    ‘One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday. ‘

  139. Nahanni says:


    I hope you are aware of the fact that hurricanes can hit New York, too.

    Depending on how one hits it would drive a 20+foot storm surge over Manhattan flooding the entire island. It would flood the subway system, play havoc with water/sewer/elecric/telecommunications systems. It would ruin just about everything on the first and second floors of every building on the island.

    Long Island is right up there with NOLA, Galveston and Wilmington Delaware as one of the most “endangered” areas in the US. A direct hit from a Hurricane could rip the island in two, wipe out Fire Island and level thousands of very expensive homes of the elites.

    You are also aware of the fact that the Hudson river valley is actually a semi dormant fault. It, like it’s relative near New Madrid, doesn’t go “off” often, but when it does it goes with a big bang.

    Now the question is….

    Do we rebuild Manhattan?

  140. DEATH18777 says:

    To All of you out there who are condeming the west coast for earthquakes I would like to remind you that an earth quake can cause massive damage to buildings not built to with stand the force put on it.
    A storm surge from the gulf coast can cuse severe damage even to a well built building.
    For all of you out there who say fill it in, Whats 12′ of dirt? well if you try to do that be prepired for every member of the siera culb to be laying infront of the bulldozers ready to protest.
    Face it folks it time to cut our losses & make the area a real nice wet land area & let the storms come in & do damage to swamp land, instead of multi million dollar ifastructure that will never be able to withstand mothernature’s furry.
    P.S. this storm was not part of “Global Warming” to think that man can cause an effect on this planet with burinig fossil fuel is ludicris.
    (1) one just one volcano blowing off puts out more green house gas than every drop of oil products burnt since the invention of the gas engin.
    This was a bad storm just like the ones that happened back when the spanish concored south america & lost so many spanish Ships off the coast of florida & the bahamas.
    Wake up people its’ time to move ON.

  141. Deshe says:

    Or we could build another city at a better location, and call it “New New Orleans”?

  142. Sad_Observer says:

    If they rebuild, they need to follow the advice of the engineers — raise the level of the land.

  143. Common Sense says:

    I am a traditionalist and really like preserving history, but let’s be realistic here. New Orleans should never have been built there in the first place. It was a disaster waiting to happen, and untold millions of tax dollars were wasted with all the levees and pumps, obviously. Let’s call it quits and bulldoze and build the city in a better location. Rebuilding will only spend us all to the poor house, and in the future put thousands of more people in danger when the next “big one” hits. Let’s spend the money instead on relocating the poor and giving them decent living conditions.

  144. DCM says:

    New Orleans should not be rebuilt – at least not where is presently located – which is underwater (before Katrina). If a developer proposed building a new city today where New Orleans is located, provided the developer could get billions of dollars of government subsidies (no one could ever do it with private funds), no one would even begin to support that proposal or even give it any serious thought. Everyone from the free marketers to the environmentalists would oppose the idea as insane. Even if the developer could find private funds, the developer could never get the permits and insurance to do the project. New Orleans needs to be “rebuilt” on higher ground further inland or the taxpayers will be spending billions of dollars rebuilding the modern day Atlantis waiting for the day mother nature reclaims. As noble as it sounds for politicians to claim “ We will rebuild it”, common sense (I guess that’s the problem – politicians and common sense in one sentence) says to relocate the New New Olreans above water.

  145. Dennis Barnhart says:

    Rebuilding will be the call of noone else but captalist that can make sense of it.

  146. Linda says:

    Why not allow Lake Ponchatrain to drain into the “bowl” also known as NO and rebuild it where the lake is now?

  147. GR4Y says:

    All of you who are speaking against rebuiulding NO: If it’s properly secured, NO can last even thru a class 5 hurricane. Most of the Netherlands are below sea lvl, and they still exist. And if you think, the northern sea is a sunshine coast compared to the gulf of mexico, you haven’t been there. Somewhere an official stated that complete class 5 levees would cost about 2 billion. That’s just a percentage of the actual damages and could easily be accomplished by cutting the pork out of the energy bill. I guess flood protection is a bit more urgent than some monster bridges in Alaska that even the locals don’t want.

    Besides, how much would it cost to transfer all the endangered buildings and infrastructure that survived Katrina to a ‘secure’ place? You did propose this, now give us the numbers. Just one hint: NO’s harbor is important for the nation, it would hinder sea trafic somewhat if it was transferred some 100 miles inland.

    I want to add an ethic argument, too. It is perfectly possible that NO could have survived mostly undamaged, if the repubs hadn’t slashed the funding for levee works at Lake Pontchartrain – the very same place where the levee did breach: ‘One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.’
    You want to virtually add insult to injury by punishing the citizen of New Orleans for the criminal neglect of the Bush administration and the GOP controlled house? You ought to be ashamed.

  148. lamont says:

    Could it be that GOD is punishing those who refuse to keep his commandment.t We all know that some states hit by the hurrricane practice acts of proversion daily. Is it not ironic that this weekend in New Orleans homosexuality fornication and other proverted acts of sexual conduct would have been taken place. Maybe just maybe GOD is tired of disobeidence. Remember there was another flood that wiped out a nation of people because of thier refusal to live holy.

  149. Will says:

    Im from Louisiana and I love New Orleans. I grew up loving the city and It breaks my heart to see this happen to the crown jewel of the state. I believe it should be rebuilt but it should built with absolute consideration of the area surrounding it. This can be done and should be. With time and money New Orleans can be made whole again. Granted it will never be the size it once was and probably never should be.

    You people who argue against rebuilding have no basis for saying it should not be rebuilt simply because another disaster could happen again. Maybe next time San Francisco falls victim to an earthquake, we shouldn’t rebuild that city either. Maybe the residents of Kobe, Japan shouldnt have rebuilt that city after the 1995 quake. I know a great plan is needed to restore New Orleans but this is the greatest country the Planet. We should protect our history at all costs.

  150. GR4Y says:

    All of you who are speaking against rebuilding NO: If it’s properly secured, NO can last even thru a class 5 hurricane. Most of the Netherlands are below sea lvl, and they still exist. And if you think, the northern sea is a sunshine coast compared to the gulf of mexico, you haven’t been there. Somewhere an official stated that complete class 5 levees would cost about 2 billion. That’s just a percentage of the actual damages and could easily be accomplished by cutting the pork out of the energy bill. I guess flood protection is a bit more urgent than some monster bridges in Alaska that even the Alaskans don’t want.

    Besides, how much would it cost to transfer all the endangered buildings and infrastructure that survived Katrina to a ‘secure’ place? You did propose this, now give us the numbers. Just one hint: NO’s harbor is important for the nation, it would hinder sea traffic somewhat if it was transferred some 100 miles inland.

    I want to add an ethic argument, too. It is perfectly possible that NO could have survived mostly undamaged, if the repubs hadn’t slashed the funding for levee works at Lake Pontchartrain – the very same place where the levee did breach: ‘One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.’
    You want to virtually add insult to injury by punishing the citizen of New Orleans for the criminal neglect of the Bush administration and the GOP controlled house? You ought to be ashamed.

  151. Harry says:

    Wow… what is wrong with you people?? New Orleans was destroyed because they have gay people there??? That is by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard… Never mind all the innocent people that you see dying on the street, or the thousands of people starving and homeless… lets focus on the gay people because it’s their fault?? I seriously hope a hurricane comes and takes you out if you feel that way. GROW UP!

  152. reblev says:

    Interesting comments, all. To Aldo & others, as a native Floridian, I can say this: N.O. is NOT the only city in the US built in a mosquito-infested, near or below sea level, hurricane-prone swamp. In fact, nearly ALL of FL fits this description. AND the southern & central parts especially, were developed by Northerners, so should we say that “Northerners are backward”, like you are saying about Southerners? Really, what a prick.

  153. Jimmy Moses says:

    I do not think the question is IF New Orleans should be rebuilt, but CAN it be rebuilt.

    IF they can drain the city (assuming it does not rain) then they will be left with a chemo/bio hazzard. HOW do you clean that up?

    HOW do your tear down 60,000 homes and rebuild them when no one has a economic reason to move to New Orleans?

    Maybe I am wrong, however the winners will be the residents that are first to realize that their NO homes and lives are gone and begine anew in a different region.

    Let nature reclaim her….New Orleans RIP!

  154. nekretaal says:

    I don’t think that it is foolish to live in San Francisco or Miami, because 90% of windstorm damage and earthquake damage can be defeated with good engineering and tough building codes.

    But, it’s folly to think that humanity can or should “freeze” the current position of a river as mighty as the mississippi into one current place for all of eternity with a system of pumps and levees.

    Rivers change position, and that’s a fact that New Orleans residents were well aware of, before the pumps and levees were built in 1960. Obviously 1960’s engineering was not up to the task of its lofty goals, and the city is worse off today for the attempt. So, I’ll restate the question is more friendly terms:

    Should the “bowl” of levees and pumps be rebuilt, or should “New” New Orleans exist the same way that “Old” New Orleans did?

  155. Nate says:

    It should be rebuilt, but more so, it should be replanned. Dirt needs to be brought in and areas FILLED to above sea level, just like Boston’s Back Bay, which didn’t exist until it was filled in. In the places with the worst flooding, 20 ft, I don’t think that many houses will be structurally sound once the place is dry, so bulldoze or move those structures, and rebuild with quality urban planning.

  156. Deeply Concerned says:


    The city actually withstood the hurricane. It was the rising flood waters and breach of the levee that caused the problem. You may recall that the morning after, everyone was breathing a huge sigh of relief that there had been relatively limited damage to the city. Matt and Katie even said this morning how ironic it was that they had said those things, not knowing that the real damage was yet to come.

    # ricky Says:
    September 1st, 2005 at 10:20 am

    To some of you people that think we can “just raise it up a few feet” where are we going to get all of that dirt from? I agree with the people that say it is a good idea to rebuild it in the same place and build the buildings strong enough to withstand a category 5 hurricane.

  157. Deeply Concerned says:

    To follow on Nekretaal’s point, take a look at the huge hydro dams and how they are constantly being monitored for leaks and breaches — the engineers will tell you that it is only a matter of time. There just ain’t no way to hold back all of that water forever.

  158. Jesse says:

    New Orleans is a city of soul, and a major seaport. A MAJOR influx of commerce comes both in and out the mouth of the Mississippi. That said, SOMETHING should be in or around that area. However, it will never be the same. How could it be? Why would you want it to be? Louisiana is a swamp, it just is. Come to terms with it. There are many cities in the world build on marshland and wetland. but they dont build RIGHT ON TOP. You’ll find them suspended on pilings, or in the trees, or floating. Go ahead and rebuild New Orleans, but consider building it as a floating city, able to quickly adapt to the changing water around it. Put houses on pontoons, businesses on stilts, whatever. Let’s try a new approach to simply building on dry land. Swamp is never dry land. Instead of cars, use boats. And I’m sure utilities can somehow be adapted to fit the situation. This will not only draw tourism to all the old venues, but create new attractions, much like the canals of venice. Don’t fight the bayou, use it.

  159. I think it would be great to see NO rebuilt. But who is going to foot the bill? If all the money spent on keeping the place afloat over the years had been spent on relocating there would be a lot fewer bodies and a lot less damage. And it’s not like nobody knew this could happen. Come on, levees and dikes to keep out the force of mother nature? Who are they trying to kid? Take this catastrophe as a message. Rebuild the areas that make sense are are above sea level. Relocte the rest.

  160. DRad says:

    You go Jesse. A Floating City in America would be fun!

  161. crazyworld says:

    Should we rebuild a city where people turn against people and locals cannot do something as simple as drop leaflets to alert people as what the plan is so that they know they are going to receive help? The civil disorder and violence is due to the disorganization and lack of information to the evacuees… we distributed leaflets to the Iraqi people before bombing… why are officials not dropping leaflets from the helicopters to peoples in the superdome on the bridges letting them know exactly what the plan is to evacuate and provide them the aid they need. Billions of dollars spent since 9-11 on FEMA first responder communications—where is it… this is foretelling of how the government is truly ill-prepared to deal with crisis… not to mention the clear message to terrorists – the US is vulnerable and cannot respond to crisis within its own borders.
    93% of the people who are donating earn less than $60k, where is the money from the Basketball players, entertainment industry … they can spend tens of thousands on things that are unnecessary.. why arene’t these entertainment people’s donating a couple of hundred thousand personally to support these people in need.. who for years have spent their money to support them.

  162. Bonnie says:

    Has it occurred to anyone that this was an act of terrorism? N.O. survived Katrina. I suspect Al Quaeda operatives sabotaged the levees.

  163. Deeply Concerned says:

    Oh, and that’s another thing that someone else pointed out to me as being very peculiar — given that the city is located 20 feet under sea level, and given the very real possibility that at some point the levee may breach, either during a hurricane, terrorist attack or some other means, and given the potential consequences of such a breach, did the City, State, Feds not have a disaster plan in place long before the hurricane was even a blip on the weather radar?

  164. Deeply Concerned says:

    crazyworld —

    I believe that there are several prominent entertainers who are going to bat this weekend in a three day music marathon on MTV, VH-1, etc. I am assuming that they are all personally putting in money, their time, etc.

  165. John Hewitt says:

    Bush has given his opinion on rebuilding.

    From an AP wire story

    “You know,” he said, “we would love help, but we’re going to take care of our own business as well, and there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll succeed. And there’s no doubt in my mind, as I sit here talking to you, that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city.”

  166. Hurricane Scain says:

    I am angry.

    Look, I’m glad some people are thinking ahead. There are plenty of people praying and not enough THINKING. New Orleans will exist. Will New Orleans’ citizens? That’s a good question.
    Why live in a sinkhole? Why live on a swamp? Money? Heritage? Oil? Love? Food? People livED in that city. I must emphasize the past tense. THAT… we know for certain. What we knew is out the window, floating down the street The math, the english, the french, whatever- it’s out the window. New Orleans as we know it is GONE. But…I believe in a New(ER) Orleans. Learn from the problems of the past, don’t leave ignore it.
    I fear the city will become a poverty haven in the future, after a rebuilding process, where the poorest of the poor will congregate with implicit acceptance by a majority of people. Look, for all the greatness and rich cultureof that city, it has more than it’s fair share of indigence. As is, New Orleans’ future can go uphill…or down. We know the effects of the latter. WE KNOW THE EFFECTS.
    The geography, the history…move the damn city a few miles on higher ground. Don’t tear down anything unnecessarily, and I DO mean tear down that which is unfit. Rebuilding the city proper is foolish. Yes, the historic French quarter survived…It is also above the water line…THIS IS BASIC CRAP. DON’T TOUCH THAT WHICH IS FINE. TEAR DOWN THAT WHICH IS NOT. If that means radically altering a city’s apperance, great. Change is good.
    The unfit conditions of the people must be eliminated in any city. No one should be in poverty and be forced to live on UNFIT land (call this land habitable, I DARE YOU), but…look at the facts, look at the truth. POOR PEOPLE’s houses are underwater. Or, if they had houses…No one should be ignorant of the fact many poor people STILL TRAPPED IN THE CITY are in APARTMENTS. That is UNACCEPTABLE. As for the port? The port will exist, BUT YOU DON’T BUILD PORTS ON SWAMP. Most likely a few miles upstream. where the people will start over.
    It angers me that people resist the idea that change is impossible, that change is even stupid or “unthinkable” Like this disaster was “unthinkable.” If a DIME of my money is invovled (of course it is, unless you were born…last neversday) I expect 10 says. A penny for each thought. By the way, I’m poor (I’M POOR, hater!), and I FEEL for those people. Pumps that don’t work…levies that fail…bridges that collapes…

    We can do better. We must. Rebuild, and upgrade. Forgive the past, but NEVER forget the future!
    I am SO angry!

  167. Hurricane Scain says:

    what about planes with flying banners? bullhorns? there are too many ways to communicate without electricity

  168. Leslie says:

    As to where the people of N.O. should be re-located; I can’t say for sure. But I think, definetly to higher ground, away from a big body of water. Maybe Baton Rouge or further north. It scares me when I walk around the Back Bay in Boston, I could never live that close to lots of water!

  169. Steve G says:

    No, no, no, no, a million times no. Why the hell would anyone in their right mind want to rebuild in a muddy bathtub that’s below sea level? If you want to visit Bourbon Street, either get your diver’s certificate or a glass bottom boat. If we must rebuild, do it 75 miles upriver and leave the delta to nature.

  170. Oleg M says:

    New Orleans: bye-bye!
    Bye, a city of pick-pockets, prostitutes and bell-hops. I ain’t gonna miss you. And it is only too obvious that you will never be back: you are not a Berlin or Nagasaki or Dresden to lift yourself up by the bootstraps. Your men are lazy and your womanfolk is not of the Truemmerfrau material either. Your history may have been picturesque, but it is too distant to stir anybody living. Rest in Peace

  171. Monique says:


    I was HURT when I first heard that question. I don’t feel like now is the time to be asking.

    I’m from New Orleans – but have lived in Seattle the past 20 years… and I feel like my hands are tied… like I’m being ripped off and can’t do anything about it… it pains me to see that city in such distress.

    We all knew the city was below sea level – I remember asking, as a child – why were there sea shells in the street… mixed in with the gravel. The thing is… everybody knew there would be floods, but noone expected it to get this bad – I KNOW… but it’s the truth! You know how people are… I mean look,

    In Washington… we have an active Volcano… Mt. St. Helens… you would think that stops people from building houses near it – but it doesn’t. AND Seattle is built on a fault line. Every time we get an earthquake… everyone worries – could this be the big one they warned us about?

    Someone mentioned Global warming on this forum… GOOD POINT… we KNOW it’s happening… but, are we really REALLY doing anything about it – to prevent it, or at least reduce the effects? Doubt it.

    San Francisco might fall into the Pacific Ocean at any moment – people are still living there though – aren’t they?

    So knowing all this… how can people really sit there and point a finger at New Orleanians and say… ya shoulda coulda woulda?? Puhleeze… if you do.. you’re a hypocrite.

    AND, don’t forget… that much water shouldn’t have got into the city in the first place! Much of that was due to human error… err umm.. neglect. Not to mention… someone forgot to comply with an order to drop sandbags to plug one of the breaches – so it got worse. If those levee’s wouldn’t have broke… it wouldn’t be that bad. Not only that -but why couldn’t we have built higher levee’s anyway?

    New Orleans needs to be rebuilt… there is wayyyy too much history and culture there for us to go letting it drown…

    Sorry for the long post. Some said i better than me in fewer words…
    >=o( I can’t help it tho – I’m a little flustered.

  172. cjbphoto says:

    From the looks of things right this moment, you may question if they should rebuild New Orleans for these people. Rape, Murder, Looting. Humanity at its best!

    It is true that New Orleans was beautiful… but now it looks dead. And the few glimmers of life that remain are being snuffed out by criminals in the streets.

  173. Monique says:

    …. Just re – read my post, and saw some more of these awful comments people are making… and I am truly sick to my stomach.

    Some of you guys are just plain evil and unfeeling… HOW UGLY! Sheesh… do u like… start burning when you walk past a church? Do several voices come out of your mouth at once when you speak? Green ooze drip out the side of your mouth by any chance??

    I dunno… I kinda feel sorry for u- that’s really too bad.

  174. Predictable Response says:

    Hmm… I wonder if a hundred thousand white people were trapped without food or water would the Federal Government start a massive military rescue mission… probably so. The Federal Government’s response or lack thereof to this is criminal. No, New Orleans should not be rebuilt in the same location. Find a small town with all the right attributes (nearness to interstates, trains, etc. Create a long range plan and develop it into the New New Orleans. If Brazil can create a capital city out of the jungle, surely we can recreate New Orleans in a better location.

  175. Asking the same question says:

    I agree there needs to be a serious financial and emotional analysis as to whether New Orleans should be rebuilt in its current location. These people are just being set up for another disaster and unimaginable psychological trauma. Why not use some of that money to build an economically viable city on higher ground and let that area remain swampland and a tribute to all those that perished. I know it is not the kindest discussion to have right now, but it needs to seriously be discussed or else the whole region, if not much of the country could end up in a situation as bad or worse than the Great Depression. Mother Nature has already made this decision, let’s stop fighting her!

  176. Bonnie says:

    Would the Federal Government start a massive military rescue mission for a hundred thousand white people? I would certainly hope so. They are doing it for the blacks (and whites and Asian and Hispanics) now. Why has it taken so long? You underestimate the scale of this disaster caused by the Muslim extremist attacks on the N.O. levee system. Then when help does arrive, some whackos start shooting at them.

  177. irritating comments says:

    Hmm… I wonder if a hundred thousand white people were trapped without food or water would the Federal Government start a massive military rescue mission… probably so.

    Whatever the case, there would be a black man sitting in a lawn chair complaining about it until the 3rd rolls around.

    I think the white cop tried helping, and he changed his mind after the black looter shot him in the head, while robbing the asian owned store.

    Speaking of building a city in the jungle, you may be able to solve all our problems if that had been true 200 years ago.

  178. Deloucous Hicks says:

    So, we should abandon the Big Easy because of flood history?

    By that logic, Japan should simply pack up and leave, since Earthquakes wrecked havoc there for thousands of years.

    Because of the Great Fire, the Illinoisans of 1888 shouda just packed up and left, forgetting about the whole Chicago thing,right?

    Indonesia should simply move to Austrailia, since another Tsunami will simply wash it all away…

    See, walking away doesn’t solve your problems…….

    Instead of looking at the Katrina disaster as an end of the city,look at it as a “clean sheet” . Keep in mind in the 1880’s Chicago was TOTALLY destroyed, yet still, they learned the lessons of bad construction, and here stands Chicago today, a proud, gleaming city of millions.

    This can be the NEW New Orleans,a new opprotunity to build a new, rebuilt, stronger, tougher, better, cooler city …….WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!

  179. Deloucous Hicks says:

    So, we should abandon the Big Easy because of flood history?


    By that logic, Japan should simply pack up and leave, since Earthquakes wrecked havoc there for thousands of years.

    Because of the Great Fire, the Illinoisans of 1888 shouda just packed up and left, forgetting about the whole Chicago thing,right?

    Indonesia should simply move to Austrailia, since another Tsunami will simply wash it all away…

    See, walking away doesn’t solve your problems…….

    Instead of looking at the Katrina disaster as an end of the city,look at it as a “clean sheet” . Keep in mind in the 1880’s Chicago was TOTALLY destroyed, yet still, they learned the lessons of bad construction, and here stands Chicago today, a proud, gleaming city of millions.

    This can be the NEW New Orleans,a new opprotunity to build a new, rebuilt, stronger, tougher, better, cooler city …….WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY!

  180. Not real sure what to do says:

    I found this and thought it might help the discussion.

    Currently, 40% of all coastal wetlands in the United States are located in Louisiana, and 80% of all wetland loss in our nation occurs in Louisiana. From 1930-1990, the Mississippi River Delta lost more than 1,000 square miles of land, approximately the size of New Jersey.

  181. Not real sure what to do says:

    There are a couple of pretty creepy maps showing the amout of wetland loss on this site:

    And about that tall, well built levee system…..

    “Over time, delta settlements have grown and expanded, and levee systems have been built, repaired, and then built even higher around the Mississippi River and elsewhere to protect them from flooding.

    While increasingly necessary for flood protection, the levee system has, as an unfortunate consequence, also disrupted the geology and hydrology of the Mississippi River deltaic system and other tributaries. Levees have cut off the normal overflow of sediment from the Mississippi River which would otherwise gradually rebuild the coast.”

  182. realist says:

    Does the black man and woman wonder why they don’t have much opportunity? Look at all of the looters and rapists and gunmen, THEY ARE ALL BLACK! When will these dumb sunsabitches quit acting like animals? They should shoot everyone of the looting, low life folks of any color that are not helping.

  183. JH says:

    Only the sentimental and just plain ignorant would call for NOLA’s rebuilding. Come on? Even given a complete rebuild with the most advanced engineering used in construction will not remove the risk of this happening again a year from now,,,,or next month. I love NOLA but we must be rational and realistic.

  184. realist says:

    Does anybody think it will be any different at the new HOUSTON AFRODOME?

  185. realist says:

    Is it our responsibility to take care of all of these looting dead beats?
    Ship them back where they came from.

  186. Shawn says:

    New Orleans should be rebuilt.

    Lets use more sophisticated pump systems unlike antiquated things down there now and lets raise the levee fifteen feet.

    Global warming is junk science.

  187. Amanda says:

    I think that New Orleans should not be rebuilt. It is sitting in a trap of being destroyed again!!! Yes there is history, but the history is gone now, its still there but a memory, you can’t rebuild historic landmarks!

  188. GR4Y says:

    The historic core of NO is the Vieux Carée or French Quarter, Amanda. It seems not to be flooded yet and has minor damage so far. That’s from the Times-Picayune, NOs newspaper.

  189. Manoa Kahuna says:

    Why New Orleans must be rebuilt

    New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize
    By George Friedman

    The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

    But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography — the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one — the Mississippi — and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

    For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn’t have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers – which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

    During the Cold War, a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans. If the Mississippi River was shut to traffic, then the foundations of the economy would be shattered. The industrial minerals needed in the factories wouldn’t come in, and the agricultural wealth wouldn’t flow out. Alternative routes really weren’t available. The Germans knew it too: A U-boat campaign occurred near the mouth of the Mississippi during World War II. Both the Germans and Stratfor have stood with Andy Jackson: New Orleans was the prize.

    Last Sunday, nature took out New Orleans almost as surely as a nuclear strike. Hurricane Katrina’s geopolitical effect was not, in many ways, distinguishable from a mushroom cloud. The key exit from North America was closed. The petrochemical industry, which has become an added value to the region since Jackson’s days, was at risk. The navigability of the Mississippi south of New Orleans was a question mark. New Orleans as a city and as a port complex had ceased to exist, and it was not clear that it could recover.

    The Ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. On its own merit, POSL is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. It exports more than 52 million tons a year, of which more than half are agricultural products — corn, soybeans and so on. A large proportion of U.S. agriculture flows out of the port. Almost as much cargo, nearly 17 million tons, comes in through the port — including not only crude oil, but chemicals and fertilizers, coal, concrete and so on.

    A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the U.S. auto industry if steel doesn’t come up the river, or the effect on global food supplies if U.S. corn and soybeans don’t get to the markets.

    The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing have low value-to-weight ratios. The U.S. transport system was built on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States, there aren’t enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance hauling of these enormous quantities — assuming for the moment that the economics could be managed, which they can’t be.

    The focus in the media has been on the oil industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. This is not a trivial question, but in a certain sense, it is dwarfed by the shipping issue. First, Louisiana is the source of about 15 percent of U.S.-produced petroleum, much of it from the Gulf. The local refineries are critical to American infrastructure. Were all of these facilities to be lost, the effect on the price of oil worldwide would be extraordinarily painful. If the river itself became unnavigable or if the ports are no longer functioning, however, the impact to the wider economy would be significantly more severe. In a sense, there is more flexibility in oil than in the physical transport of these other commodities.

    There is clearly good news as information comes in. By all accounts, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which services supertankers in the Gulf, is intact. Port Fourchon, which is the center of extraction operations in the Gulf, has sustained damage but is recoverable. The status of the oil platforms is unclear and it is not known what the underwater systems look like, but on the surface, the damage – though not trivial — is manageable.

    The news on the river is also far better than would have been expected on Sunday. The river has not changed its course. No major levees containing the river have burst. The Mississippi apparently has not silted up to such an extent that massive dredging would be required to render it navigable. Even the port facilities, although apparently damaged in many places and destroyed in few, are still there. The river, as transport corridor, has not been lost.

    What has been lost is the city of New Orleans and many of the residential suburban areas around it. The population has fled, leaving behind a relatively small number of people in desperate straits. Some are dead, others are dying, and the magnitude of the situation dwarfs the resources required to ameliorate their condition. But it is not the population that is trapped in New Orleans that is of geopolitical significance: It is the population that has left and has nowhere to return to.

    The oil fields, pipelines and ports required a skilled workforce in order to operate. That workforce requires homes. They require stores to buy food and other supplies. Hospitals and doctors. Schools for their children. In other words, in order to operate the facilities critical to the United States, you need a workforce to do it — and that workforce is gone. Unlike in other disasters, that workforce cannot return to the region because they have no place to live. New Orleans is gone, and the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans is either gone or so badly damaged that it will not be inhabitable for a long time.

    It is possible to jury-rig around this problem for a short time. But the fact is that those who have left the area have gone to live with relatives and friends. Those who had the ability to leave also had networks of relationships and resources to manage their exile. But those resources are not infinite — and as it becomes apparent that these people will not be returning to New Orleans any time soon, they will be enrolling their children in new schools, finding new jobs, finding new accommodations. If they have any insurance money coming, they will collect it. If they have none, then — whatever emotional connections they may have to their home — their economic connection to it has been severed. In a very short time, these people will be making decisions that will start to reshape population and workforce patterns in the region.

    A city is a complex and ongoing process – one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don’t simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone — and they are not coming back anytime soon.

    It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside — and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

    The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city’s population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

    Let’s go back to the beginning. The United States historically has depended on the Mississippi and its tributaries for transport. Barges navigate the river. Ships go on the ocean. The barges must offload to the ships and vice versa. There must be a facility to empower this exchange. It is also the facility where goods are stored in transit. Without this port, the river can’t be used. Protecting that port has been, from the time of the Louisiana Purchase, a fundamental national security issue for the United States.

    Katrina has taken out the port — not by destroying the facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system — the foundation of the entire American transport system. There are some substitutes, but none with sufficient capacity to solve the problem.

    It follows from this that the port will have to be revived and, one would assume, the city as well. The ports around New Orleans are located as far north as they can be and still be accessed by ocean-going vessels. The need for ships to be able to pass each other in the waterways, which narrow to the north, adds to the problem. Besides, the Highway 190 bridge in Baton Rouge blocks the river going north. New Orleans is where it is for a reason: The United States needs a city right there.

    New Orleans is not optional for the United States’ commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

    Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city’s resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place.
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  190. tarvaries says:

    Yes we should rebuild New Orleans. New Orleans is important to the economy and to the Gulf Coast. You senseless people up north who has no idea what is going on down here can easly say do not rebuild. Let’s see how fast your gas prices go up without the pipes that are coming from the Gulf Coast. New Orleans has a rich history and has been around for years, it’s actually one of the oldest cities in america. There is just too much culture and history there to let it be washed away by water. New Orleans will be rebuilt, it will actually be rebuilt better and safer. More advanced and with a 21st century feel. Everyone knew the diaster would happen one day and that was Aug 29. Now it is time to recovery. If we can rebuild Iraq what makes you think we will not rebuild an american city. There are 1.5 million people in that area….the city has to be rebuilt and will be rebuilt. We who live on the Gulf Coast knows the threat of hurricanes like people who lives on the Florida coast, or people who live in earthquake pround California. We shouldn’t even be asking the question should we rebuild New Orleans…the question that should be asked is “How will New Orleans be rebuilt?

  191. GR4Y says:

    Some here don’t seem to believe that the cajuns and the NO folks hand handle the rebuild. Just a small reminder not to misunderestimate this people:

    ‘In late 1814 New Orleans was home to a population of French, Spanish, African, Anglo and Creole peoples dedicated to pursuing economic opportunism and the joys of life.’
    ‘In addition to his regular U.S. Army units, Jackson counted on dandy New Orleans militia, a sizable contingent of black former Haitian slaves fighting as free men of color, Kentucky and Tennessee frontiersmen armed with deadly long rifles and a colorful band of Jean Lafitte’s outlaws, whose men Jackson had once disdained as “hellish banditti.” This hodgepodge of 4,000 soldiers, crammed behind narrow fortifications, faced more than twice their number. ‘
    ‘More than 2,000 British had been killed or wounded and several hundred more were captured. The American loss was eight killed and 13 wounded.’

    That’s YOUR OWN HISTORY. Again, you should really be ashamed if you’re thinking about abandoning such a city.

    quotes from

  192. Wendy says:

    Rebuild it, but don’t populate it again with so many blacks. That way if something like this does happen again, there won’t be so much lawlessness in its wake.

  193. Bonnie says:

    I don’t believe anyone is saying don’t rebuild N.O. Yes, the area is crucial to the economy. The Mississippi is a vital waterway. The port is of great importance. The petroleum industry, the refineries, the pipelines, and the ship handling facilities must be restored. Homes and businesses need to be rebuilt. What we ARE saying is this: Don’t rebuild in a below sea level hole where the only defense is an expensive and intricate series of dikes and levees, which by their very existence exacerbate the problem. Rebuild nearby in an area which won’t interfere with environment to such a degree. While it is true there is no place in the world secure from all natural disasters, such is life, why intentionally increase the risk when it isn’t necessary. A NEW N.O. built nearby would still be at risk to hurricanes or tornadoes, but the risk of catastrophic flooding by breached levees could be avoided. There is a difference between reasonable risk and unreasonable risk. The old N.O. is gone. Senseless nostalgia and rebuilding upon the ruins is NOT going to brink it back. Show some mercy and compassion on those who have suffered and lost so much. Don’t subject them to the same dangers all over again.

  194. Catch Cormier says:

    It depends on what you call “New Orleans”.

    I love New Orleans and the French Quarter. The symbolism and culture that pervades it cannot be destroyed, or left to memory. But I also realize that if we don’t do something highly progressive, then we are doomed to this apocalyptic scenario once more. Even without another Katrina, what’s to keep a terrorist from bombing the river levee during high water?

    Here’s my offering: Rebuild a “cultural city” in the downtown area, with tourist spots, and hotels, and access for cruise ships. Use spoil material from the suburbs to build up above sea level those areas that could flood.

    Take all of Jefferson Parish and the upper and eastern section of Orleans and clear them flat. Dig out lakes and canals, and use the spoil materials to create an “above sea level” airport, UNO, and limited community housing. Put in green laws, nature trails and other areas. Ban all high rises above 3 floors.

    Create a community for poor people that would give them individual housing at low rates, and an opportuntity to share in the new “natural Orleans”.

    Again all such development would be very limited. A population limit of 200,000 would be set for all of Orleans and Jefferson.

    I’d be open to other ideas as well. I think someone needs to form an organization to bring this to the attention of our political leaders, and do so before billions of dollars are (again) wasted.

  195. Gray says:

    Are all people here for real or am I talkin to ETs? ‘Rebuild it, but don’t populate it again with so many blacks.’ Serious? That’s your american ideal of freedom? Tellin people where they can live?

    Besides, did you know that 67% of the NO polulation is african american? That the percentage in the poor living quarters is even higher, maybe 80% or more? Ever wondered if they stayed behind because they couldn’t afford gas or ticket and a hotel room in Tx? You think, the reason you see only black people in NO right now is that blacks have a different genetical code so they are born as looters? From which planet do you come from, Wendy? Ork?

  196. Bonnie says:

    Blacks are the reason there is so much lawlessness in N.O.? First off, the vast majority of the people stranded in the city are NOT breaking any laws. Secondly is the fact that the infrastructure is broken, the police (who are also victims) are over worked, over extended, have virtually no communication, and trouble with mobility are unable to function normally. Thirdly, there is a small minority who are taking advantage of the situation. And lastly, considering that the vast majority of the poor people still stuck in N.O. are black, what do you figure the odds are of a like majority of the lawlessness element are going to be black (even though it is a very small minority of the people stranded)? You are watching too much CNN.

  197. Apollo says:

    I dont understand why so many people blame homosexual’s and african americans, for the occurance of katrina and the lawlessness occuring. What some people dont understand is that in times of great natural disaster’s and wars there is going to be looting and rioting its what’s expected, its whites, african americans, latinos, asian’s, its every single person on this planet. To address the question of N.O being rebuilt sadly I would have to say no, would you place your hand on a hot stovetop no you wouldnt. would you rebuild a city below sea level located between two bodies of water no you dont. Again just to point out a fact that some of you may not realize the city of N.O in 100 years time will be underwated permenatly, the marshes will no longer be there meaning the gulf will be where N.O is now. So I see no point in rebuilding a city that will be gone in 100 years it just doesnt make sense

  198. Gray says:

    ‘ A population limit of 200,000 would be set for all of Orleans and Jefferson.’
    Maybe I’m the one who is becoming lunatic here, but are these the new democratic ideals of the 21st century? Is there any historic example of an american city with a population limit or did someone catch a bad case of delirium?

  199. Jason McCool says:

    New Orleans only has three worthwhile industries: Refineries, shipping and fishing. That part of the area should be rebuild and maybe even add four or five more refineries, but the rest of the slum areas and the French Quarter should be buldozed. They’re only home to drug addicts, gangs, queers and HIV.

  200. dullorb says:

    I agree with all the people who say we should ignore the question until it’s too late for our opinions to make a difference just like we ignored the dangers to the people of N.O. for all the years that people have been trying to warn us that a city which is mostly below sea level shouldn’t be built next to a sea that is prone to hurricanes.

  201. Darrel says:

    French Quarter should be buldozed, yeh…. maybe god said enough!!
    our world is in control of our maker. will anyone see 2025?


  202. clevelander says:

    hey, Gray,

    the check is in the mail.
    however— it is outrageous to think that charity should replace the work & workings of government in the long run. if alfred e. newman, oops, i mean our president had any guts or vision, or (hoo-hah!) INTEGRITY, the 1st thing he would do is put all talk of repealing the estate tax on hold, and talk straight about the cost of rebuilding lives and cities. he’s already tried to finance a war “off he books” – & now?????
    this is a public works issue – to be publicly financed. charity should be the lesser half, important though it is. somehow, doing a rerun of the tsunami effort, utterly misses the point. can’t explain it – it just weirds me out.

  203. Gilbert says:

    Try something new. Float it !

  204. ldavis says:

    Is it possible to re-build it in limited areas.

  205. Kevin says:

    The real question is: will people come back?

    Houston might end up gaining every single refugee from NO. If I lost my home, and had to seek refuge in another city for about 6-12 months. Hell, I would probably just find a new job in a new city already, rather than wait hopelessly for my old city to be rebuilt from the ground up.

  206. I believe God has spoken through Hurricane Katrina. He’s telling us to tear down those levees and return the restored wetlands to the wildlife that occupied the land before we moved them out and repopulated it with murderers, rapists, thieves, and prostitutes. It appears that jungle animals have taken over already, anyway. Let Lake Ponchetrain cleanse the land of the filth and remnants of decadance that thrived in that decrepit excuse for a city since its inception.

  207. Michael says:

    The population bomb hits! Everyone always used to worry that the over-consumption of our non-renewable natural resources by an excessive and growing populace would lead to the decline of civilization. No one considered the effects of a large-scale natural disaster. Rebuilt or not, the geographically and economically displaced population of NO will strain whatever community takes in large numbers and lead to civil unrest and strife. Only a totalitarian regime can restore order to the region and enforce a rebalance of resources and bring social and economic stability to the disenfranchised populace. Viva la revolution!

    Seriously, any solutions to this tragedy may be too little and too late if its left up to government. By the time a viable plan is thought up it will likely be underfunded. Pray to God that those leading the rescue and recovery efforts use more than a little common sense along with a whole lot of compassion. Their (the residents) best hope lay in the cozy relationship big business has with Republicans. NO is so vital economically to the region that Bush and company can’t not help.

  208. Building Codes says:

    If the city is to be rebuilt then the city woul have to implement mandatory hurricane proof building codes such has the ones n the Bahamas.

    1. In the Bahamas if you are building a home it must be of 6inch concrete blocks. (no wooden houses are built, the ones that are theere were there for ages)

    2. Steel reinforced walls.

    3. Concrete foundations

    4. 2×8 beams vs those 2×4 beams that is the US standard.

    5. Anti-hurricane clips

    6.. In the Bahamas you wont find a trailer much less a park of them.

    7. In some islands it mandatory for you to buid with storm shutters.

    The results from these codes were so good that every Caribbean country adoted them to some extent, and florida didnt even adopt some until Andrew. I think this is more than enough of a wakeup call.

    Please send a prayer for the victims.

  209. Chris says:

    A lot of you guys alluded to Boston’s Back Bay as an example for rebuilding New Orleans. I just wanted to inform you guys: Boston’s Back Bay, because of the ground it is built upon, is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. By resting on soft landfills, even moderate ground shakes would easily level every million dollar brownstones in Back Bay. I learned this from a “Natural Disaster’s” geology class at college.
    I am a big believer in not fighting nature…

  210. bikerbob says:

    Why would you want to rebuild N.O. for the animals that live there ? They act like trash, looting and shooting and taking full advantage of the situation. Lawlessness ruled immediately. Was saving the community and their neighbors the first thought or was lets loot the place and get what we can for free ? Who wants to spend your tax dollars to rebuild homes for these people? Those “citizens ” are a discrace to every American and let them get what they deserve. Most have probably have been living off the public system for generations and will be in line for another helping hand, or should I say “DEMANDING” a hand. How many will go to Huston who never even lived in N.O. and claim that they lost everything in the flood?
    I can see thousands of lowlifes cashing in on this misfortune, sucking the federal dollars up because we’re to stupid to question them. In the end everyone will be happy, those who gave will feel good and those lowlifes who take will feel good as well. They will have new free public housing,a new car and a color T.V. and don’t forget the Cell Phone.

  211. Brent says:

    Why should we rebuild New Orleans? Whos to say anotherone of these bad boys (or girls) won’t hit the city again in 1 2 3 4 or 5 years from now? Look at what this is going to do to our economy! Why should we throw away all our money towards a city that is proned to disaster or destruction. The remaining levees are weak now and probably would fold to a cat 1 cane right now! Save the money, bulldose the city, apply a massive amount of lyme or some kind of bacterial neutralizer over the city, and once everyone is out and all intrests from the city are secured, call it a loss. Use that 10.5 billion dollars to help the displaced rebuild and be through with it!!!
    One of our ancestors biggest mistake was urbanizing that seispool in the first place.

  212. DANIEL says:


  213. Bree says:

    86 the town. 86 the 1/2 mile from the water inland all the way down the coast. Turn it all into natural barriers or parkland. Have a giant National OceanFront Park stretching all the way around the Gulf. I’m tired of these idiots building stuff on the water and then the rest of the country having to pay to rebuild it with higher insurance premiums or taxes. People have no business living or having businesses in such dangerous areas. Of course they can build whatever they wish IF they foot the bill for rebuilding and disaster relief themselves. I was happy to do it a few times but now I feel stupid because this keeps happening every year somewhere along the Gulf Coast. 86 all development along the coast. And New Orleans… that place needs to be a landfill for a few years and then you can build on it.

  214. Harry says:

    Absolutely NOT. The BILLIONS of dollars that will be expended to set it up for the same thing next year could relocate all those residents in a safe area and sustain them til they were self sufficent. The port area could be rebuilt, to handle commerce, by private enterprise. The areas around N.O. that are not flooded would give adequate housing for an ample work force. This will happen again, then what, if it’s rebuilt? It’s a dead city, BURY IT and move on.

  215. ELAINE says:

    I know- Take down the levees. Let it fill up with water. Visit it with your scuba gear. It’ll be the new lost city! Who needs Atlantis?

    Rebuilding is just asking for trouble. This WILL WITHOUT QUESTION UNDOUBTEDY happen again. Are we glottons?

  216. susanne beeman says:

    No, New Orleans should not be re-built. Our tax dollars need to go the the great American soldiers in Iraq. This has happened before to New Orleans and it will happen again. Does anyone remember the storm at the turn of the last century? Coffins and skeletons were floating down Bourbon St. New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. The city should have been better prepared. I hate to see all those people suffering because of our stupidity/lack of reality.

  217. C.J. Brunt says:

    So many of us forget that the Deep South is one of the few bastions left of the classic American Spirit. A spirit which dictates to its holders the need to push forward in the face of disaster, to press on when all around are crying, “give up”. It is that attitude that has made us the nation we are today. To sit back and wait for waters to recede and bodies to be counted would be nothing but wasted time. I ask you to remember that the Gulf coast in particular is the embodiment of regeneration in this great country. They always rebuild! A rebuilt New Orleans will no doubt be a grand slap in the face of all the naysayers in the country. She will return. She will be reborn. Viva New Orleans!
    What truly remains for the rest of us here to do is to rally to rescue our sons and daughters from a pointless entanglement in a country that could care less about our brave men and women dying left and right in her blistering sands. Bring our children, mothers, and fathers back to our shores. There is a grand call for them here at home. We must rebuild our country. In an effort that shall make a statement heard and seen ’round the world. We have a grand chance at healing. What was disaster can be opportunity. We must remember that the only constant in life is change. Let us embrace it, not mourn it. What a fine new beginning this could be if we just embrace it. Rebuild New Orleans? Yes! Rebuild the South? Yes! Rebuild America? In the names of all those who strove before us, YES!

  218. ELAINE says:


  219. David says:

    Rebuild the port YES, but NOT the city. It is immoral to permit people without means to reside in an area frequented by natural disaster. It is more immoral to ask taxpayers to pay to constantly rebuild an area which nature has said “NO” to human habitation.

  220. adrian says:

    no matter the music food or culture that comes from that sinful nasty place it was gods will to have it mostly washed away and I feel that that is the way it should stay. They are paying for there sins in a great and painful way but we all have a wake up call and this was theres. Don’t waste the money we need to fix our gas and oil needs on a rebuild give those poor people a relocation and pray for them.

  221. Oil Rants X says:

    Reading the posts in what will probably become the most visible turning point of our nation and how we deal with our resources and population; it is pretty easy to see that each of us comes from several viewpoints but those viewpoints converge on two main personality types: 1. Left brain, concrete, physical, tending to non-emotional issues; 2. Right brain, creative, artistic, relational, and emotional. What this means is that in America we have to do our best to please all sides. No doubt we will be debating how this massive tradgedy could be avoided for decades, but some will get ahead of the wave on this restructuring of New Orleans in a way possibly like the following written by some already thinking maybe along the lines of the following:
    “While our nation grieves over the enormous loss of life and personal property in the Gulf Coast area, our planners and governing bodies are beginning to assess the surely mind boggling possibilities before them to restore this broken area. Most likely the loss of the City of New Orleans will go down as the greatest loss of life and property from a natural disaster in our nation’s history. Before emotion is allowed to take control of the direction of the coming rebuild of this amazing city, why not consider the possibilities for a NEW, New Orleans (and the surrounding communities as well, Gulfport, Biloxi, Slidell, Bay St. Louis, and others hit by Katrina.)

    Here is a proposition that I am sure is not original: Why not relocate New Orleans to higher ground away from the danger of future hurricanes, a likely rising ocean depth in the coming decades and centuries, and continuous pressure from the mighty Mississippi River always trying to reclaim the delta area it had for millennia before New Orleans. As Gerry House likes to say, “Do the Math!” The math problem is to try to determine what such a massive undertaking would be. Here is a thought for openers, the math is pretty simple and can be adjusted to a higher degree of accuracy based upon costs that should be relatively easy for planners to come up with:
    New Orleans is a city with an area of some 180 square miles according to this web site seems reasonable to me.
    Assume a base cost per square foot of urban development of the political area described including:
    Government buildings
    Utility services including waste
    Fire and Police protection
    Hospitals and Nursing Homes
    Communication Services
    Welfare Services
    Retail Distribution
    Residential communities all types including retirement
    Parks and recreation
    Everything else I failed to mention
    How many square feet in a square mile? Answer: 5280 times 5280 equals 27878400 oh, just say 28,000,000 to keep the math a little easier.
    Now it gets a little tougher, how many square feet in 180 square miles, ok 180 times 28,000,000 equals about 50,000,000,000 (that’s 50 Billion!)
    Washington D. C. has an area of only 60 square miles and it’s a pretty big city, so maybe we only have to develop 60 square miles to begin with. Ok, that leaves only a third of the area and let’s say about 17 billion square feet.
    Redevelopment could cost anywhere from $10 per square foot up to $100 per square foot (remember this is not total finished enclosed living and working area, there would be a lot of wide open spaces between developed property and infrastructure.) Well I am pretty easy to please so I would just hazard a wild guess at $50 per square foot for total redevelopment.
    Total redevelopment costs could be around $850,000,000.00. That is a pretty big number until you break it down. First of all the insurance companies are going to be out about $50,000,000 by the time this is all over. They might be willing to negotiate a little for a more favorable risk environment for a new city. I would suggest that insured property owners facing no more than a certain percentage of their property loss to get new land in properly zoned neighborhoods for rebuilding their homes. Think about the employment opportunities for so many people out of work in the affected area. Uninsured property owners would get low or no interest loans to rebuild and keep them in the community which would create a synergy of neighbors working together to build their new community.
    That leaves $800,000,000,000 to finance. First you have to find the property. How to do? This is a planning problem I cannot answer, but there has to be 180 square miles somewhere in Louisiana for development (the developers are already rubbing their hands together…hold on boys, don’t forget the law of eminent domain…the government can grab any piece of property it wants.) With eminent domain and tax exempt bond sales to some of us old codgers trying to get by on Social Security who would probably jump at securing as many of these bonds as we could. And hey, President Bush just might find a happy market for his revitalized Social Security plan for individual IRA’s and enhancement and use of Social Security funds. Betcha, its not as far fetched as you might think right now.
    New Orleans could become a modern, energy efficient, environmentally favorable place for human beings that would be a world model for building habitations for the 21st and 22nd century. Leave a legacy of progress for the coming generations and centuries of people that will inhabit this planet.

    Can’t you see it now: Buy a piece of the New New Orleans. This could be a world changing turnaround from disaster to an energy charging revitalization of America’s economy.”

  222. Ken A says:

    If the folks in Louisana want New Orleans rebuilt, I say OK, as long as it is done with your money. Many studies have been done to acertain what it would take to avoid exactly what has happened, and the federal government has always chosen to pass because of the cost. Now, that amount looks cheap indeed compared to not only fixing the levees and pumping the area dry, but terraforming the southern delta to defeat gulf storm surges in the future. I do not want to be paying taxes so that folks can submerge themselves in the delta blues scene. I do not owe anyone the right to go back to life as it was. We have many more pressing problems to spend our money on. Those folks who are being relocated should be relocated permanantly. Once empty, New Orleans should be bulldozed, and returned to coastal marshland.

  223. Mark says:

    If they want to rebuild…go for it. I say why? It’s not about black or white. It’s sick that people are already turning it into that. Save lives. That should be what we are talking about. Once the lives are saved then you figure the rest. N.O. is losing 25 miles of coastline a year! In the time it takes to watch one football game, 5 football fields of land is lost. There will be no barrier for N.O. within a few years. Save people. Don’t let them rebuild!

  224. TB says:

    First let me say that I am a Christian and a federal government employee employed by an agency that quite often works in devastated areas – the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. So I have some understanding of disasters and the suffering and misery that comes with them. I was deployed to New York on 9/11/01 and worked at the trade center disaster for nearly a month. I worked for over a month in Florida last summer as they were hit with storm after storm. In fact, I rode through three of the four hurricanes that hit the coast. I do have great compassion for the suffering people of New Orleans at this time and it is truly a tragedy that this self-inflicted disaster had to happen at all. If the United States Government rebuilds New Orleans to be a city below sea level then they will be facilitating the misery of thousands of people who may not even be born at this time. New Orleans never should have been. It was built a disaster waiting to happen. For the Federal Government to reconstruct this city will be a huge injustice to the American People – not only in the money spent to do it, but in the unbelievable human suffering that will occur at some point in the years to come – possibly even next year. It is an unthinkable gamble with the money and the lives of millions of Americans to build another “bowl” out in the Gulf of Mexico and allow the poorest of poor American people to build homes and live again with a lit fuse just waiting to destroy everything they have………….again. I beg you, not from one American to another, but from one human being to another, please bring this issue up before your fellow congressmen and senators so that the American people will have some say in the spending of countless billions of dollars to build a bomb the likes of which no one has ever seen before. If we rebuild this place we will be guilty before God and our fellow man of inflicting unreal suffering on people alive today and people yet unborn.

    Just think about it, if you really care about the issue – climb up on your roof and close your eyes for a minute. It’s been 2-3-4 days or more since you axed your way through your ceiling to get out of the water to safety on your roof. You struggle just to hold on in the wind while dodging flying debris and wondering what tomorrow will bring. The night finally comes but passes very slowly as you feel the hunger and thirst that time brings. Daylight comes, but it is a curse of blistering hot sun and dehydration as you enter day two of living from your roof. The night falls again which brings some relief from the heat but your body begins to yearn for rest. You shouldn’t sleep for fear of rolling off of your roof, it’s like being lost at sea…..only there are thousands of people lost around you and no hope in sight…………misery……..all around you.

    Or lets look at another picture…… decide to get off of your roof and try to swim or wade through to get to the interstate – the government was wise enough to build it raised up above the depths of the water that they knew would one day fill this sewer. As you make your way through the flooded streets you see hundreds of bodies floating in the same water that you now bring your family through. Not to mention the sewers that now vomit thousands of gallons of raw sewage into that same water. You’ve made the decision and now you cannot turn back……finally at the interstate you meet up with hundreds of other people who are not better off than you are. Some just waiting to die as the heat, the lack of water, the sewage, or the misery take the life right out of them.

    The desperate people must now begin to turn to violence.
    Why would we do this to our people? What is the point? It can be prevented. Let’s prevent it.

  225. Norman Miller says:

    For nearly 200 years years engineers have advised against it, storms have repeatedly whacked it, modern engineers and scientist have shown repeatedly that it is too dangerous.

    Don’t settle Death Valley, don’t settle the North or South poles, don’t build a settlement inside an active volcano, don’t settle any of those Polynesian islands that are constantly under water, don’t rebuild New Orleans.

    Forget the emotional crap, just use your brain: It is not supposed to be inhabited by humans.

  226. John Hewitt says:

    The people who say it is callous to oppose the rebuilding of New Orleans are fooling themselves. Rebuilding a city in a known death trap that is now filled with 1000 different toxins is the true cruelty. New Orleans is uninhabitable. It is not fit for humankind and it obviously is beyond our means to help these people if this should happen again. The people of New Orleans do deserve a new city, but the areas that flooded need to be abandoned for 100 reasons, the greatest of which is it is too dangerous to live there, even if it never flooded again.

  227. Pete says:

    Whether or not New Orleans should be rebuilt–and how–is indeed a question worth asking. Though it may seem insensitive, it is worth asking now, because people need help relocating now. Even if there are eventually attempts to reclaim and repopulate New Orleans, what kind of timetable would we be considering? Months? Years? Previous posts have also illustrated the problems of reinsurance, federal funding, whether anyone will actually reinvest, etc.; what will people do in the meantime? People need to live, and it seems that the more quickly people can get back to somewhat normal lives somewhere–anywhere–the better. I think it is both ethical and reasonable to try to help people relocate now, as we exhaustively study the geographical, geological, hydrological, and economic possibilities of doing something with New Orleans.

    I’n glad that this discussion has turned toward physical geography. This is a discipline we neglect in this country to our own peril. We build cities in certain places due to our economic needs at the time–New Orleans as a port at the mouth of the Mississippi; Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland (to mention cities brought up in prevous posts) were built similarly as ports and industrial centers in the resource-rich Great Lakes region. Those cities grew larger than New Orleans as Industrialization mushroomed in the twentieth century, and began to decline with the deindustrialization of recent years. As cities grew, culture has followed, and as cities declined, culture has moved on. Technology has helped us more recently build cities in less livable climates such as deserts, with imported water and food, made comfortable by air conditioning, where a “post-industrial” “service” or “information” economy makes it easier for many to live and work wherever they want.

    It is true that many areas of the US and the world are less habitable–more prone to natural disasters and resourse problems– than others. I think it is helpful that writers such as Mike Davis and James Kunstler highlight the problems accompanying the kind of urban (and suburban) development we have been undertaking in parts of the USA in recent years. I think we should indeed reevaluate continued settlement in some areas. As Davis suggests, we should abandon Malibu and let it burn and/or wash away. As Kunstler suggests, we shouldn’t be wasting our precious resources on desert sprawl such as Las Vegas. However, we can’t just get the government to force people to leave such places–that would be a political disaster akin –at least philosophically– to Stalin’s forced migrations in the USSR in the 1930s and 1940s. But when conditions are unlivable, or resources scarce, slowly people will migrate.

    What happened in New Orleans was much quicker, and the rapidity caused and is causing much suffering and loss of life. The science of soil deposition and the changing conditions of river deltas will not let us do everything we want, no matter how much human spirit we have. Even the most spirited among us need resources to work with. Culture is a great reason to love a city, and New Orleans certainly deserves much love, either as a living city or as history and memory. But culture is not stronger than nature. We, the people, the government, the international community, etc., should concentrate at this time on helping people relocate permanently or semipermanently. If in a few months or so economics–taking into account human safety concerns– still warrants some degree a rebuilt port or other industries at New Orleans, well, then something might be rebuilt, and some people might return. But I think it is only hubris to want everything back that has been taken away from us. We must work with what we have, and despite what others have said, I don’t think is realistic to assume that 1. the industries that dominated New Orleans will automatically return if it is rebuilt, and 2. that even if those industries were to return, they–and their support industries in the service sector– would be sufficient to sustain a metropolitan area of over a million people.

    So, lets assume for now that we should focus on helping with possibly permanent or semipermanent relocation of people to other, safer areas, possibly all over the country, before we commit to a massive rebuilding effort that may or may not be possible in the end. If in the future people have options for a decent life elsewhere, some may still decide to return if New Orleans is rebuilt, but that should not be their only choice.

  228. s smith says:

    Concur with Hofstra writer Cynthia Bogart

    New Orleans could be taken by the State of Louisiana as a park area
    and remain a tourist area with parts of the city that survived and don’t req can refurbish
    Use majority of funds to relocate those peoplewho have nothing to go back to
    with a town 2/3 of it poor – we would be rebuilding what truly is a poor ghetto. ?? Why not allow choice to begin anew in a better spot
    aimed at a better future for the children??

    With Global Warming here even Alaska is thawing- Other industrialized nations are planning and doing things aimed at furture catrostophic events while we sleep her minus alternative plans for disaster ( mother earth changing to accommodate intense heat in our atmosphere..

  229. Ruiner says:

    First let me quote someone that posted earlier –

    “I wonder if you’d be so quick to suggest abandonment and relocation of New Orleans if the people affected were predominantly white rather than black?”

    Sorry, but its not the fault of white people that a large black population was too stupid and worried about protecting property that would be destroyed to leave. It is not the fault of white people that a large number of the black people that stayed behind were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to loot the city after.

    LET NEW ORLEANS ROT. If you want to rebuild the city, build it in a more suitable location. The slums and projects should be abandoned. Also, anyone that was too idiotic to leave the city in the first place when they KNEW the hurricane was coming should get stuck with the bill of how much it cost to save their life. The rest of the country should not have to suffer because you thought your crappy little house built below sea level, on a floodplain, and without adequate defenses against a HURRICANE.

  230. s smith says:

    Our earth is changing. Flooding Heat Land masses shifting.
    Alaska is now in THAW.

    So We concurr with Hofstra University writer Cynthia Bogart

    – why not allow choice to the former residents of New Orleans Gulfport and Biloxi to begin anew in a safer spot aimed at a better future for the children??

    Global Warming has other industrialized nations making plans aimed at dealing with weather casuing future catastrophic events..

    The question remains- How do we make contingency plans for our future- the future of our children in the event these Catastrophic events become more common.

  231. Conny says:

    I lived and loved in NO. From all the discussions and articles I have read these past few days and from what I know about the longing for a “home town”, I say, first rebuild a port, and save what can be saved ( if not already too polluted, keep as a “historical”, albeit tourist centre) but new homes and infrastructure MUST be built at above sea-level locations. There is no logical reason to put thousands of people at risk again. The United States is a vast land and a country with vast monatery resources (unfortunately mismanaged). You need to find a way to help those (and there will be many thousands) who wish to relocate, financially and help those who do wish to return to a newly built “new” New Orleans.
    I am so saddened by the lack of organization and social thinking and the slow response of agencies who are supposed to be in charge.
    Horrific to think what would happen if you now had a major earthquake or volcano erupting, or a few more class 4 or 5 tornadoes elsewhere.

  232. Bettina says:

    Please don’t spend tax dollars on the rebuilding of New Orleans. Let private dollars rebuild it.

  233. John says:

    No, New Orleans should not be rebuilt. Nor should -any- other high-risk (ie, at or below sea level) settlement along a hurricaine-exposed coastline. That type of real estate is unfit for human habitation. Rather, as much as possible those lands should be returned to their original state and preserved as parks and wildlife refuges, and as buffers against the certainty of future storms. A major port and its attendant industries at the mouth of the Mississippi are essential to the national economy, but residential and businesses not directly tied to shipping must be safely removed from inevitable, yet preventable, destruction.

    Those desiring to preserve the French Quarter or rebuild any other development along a hurricane coast should do so with private sector funds. If there really are so many people who value the history of New Orleans or any of the other damaged/destroyed locations (Biloxi, etc), the re-developers should have no problem getting it done on their own. If they are successful, they will get to reap the benefits. If not, our tax dollars will be spared at least one useless waste (to be saved for another).

    One last thing… Mayor Nagin and his sidekick, the City Director of Emergency Management (I forget his name), owe the entire nation an explanation. We deserve to know how a city that has been warned for decades about the inevitability of exactly this sort of disaster could possibly have been so terribly unprepared. From all indications, their “plan” was to “have no plan”, but rather rely entirely on state and federal agencies to literally bail them out. Where were the necessary supplies of water, rations, and medicine in the refugee centers (Superdome & Convention Center)? Of course, since the city fathers had no plan, there were no prepared refugee centers, meaning that the Superdome & CV were simply last-minute efforts instead of well-thought-out strategy.

    Didn’t those “leaders” know that a huge percentage of their citizenry had no means to evacuate beforehand? New Orleans’ leaders cry for buses now, but why didn’t they have an actual plan to employ buses IN ADVANCE to evacuate the people who couldn’t/wouldn’t get out on their own? Maybe the mayor and his assistants tried. Maybe they found it too difficult to manage on the front end with several days of warning, clear weather, clean (relatively) streets, and without massive flooding. Maybe… IF they even bothered. (Assuming they did try, their efforts were a massive failure.) Or maybe it just wasn’t possible to accomplish such a task on such short notice even under normal, pre-hurricaine conditions. If so, how much more difficult must it be for buses and aid to reach the city now.

    It takes a momumental amount of gaul to suggest that others are not doing enough when Nagin and his contemporaries and their predecesors accommplished virtually nothing when they had much more time and much less trying circumstances with which to work. Of course, if he and others in his position say it loudly and often enough, they will have no problem convincing a large part of our society that it wasn’t their fault, therefore it must be someone else’s fault. Now, who could that possibly be? Let’s see, to paraphrase a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus, it’s “whitey” because this whole mess would have been avoided if the demographics were shifted to the lighter end of the spectrum. Unbelievable.

  234. Charles Hanna says:

    Two problems

    First…if the water is a toxic dump…where will we pump it to?…why pollute the Mississippi and the Gulf?.. if to Lake Ponchetrain..won’t that just be filling up the bathtub again?….

    Second..if the cityis below sea level now..what guarantees the new city won’t still be below in the future….
    When Galveston was obliterated by a hurricane..the citizens sucked it up and raised the entire town. Yes, it was smaller, and yes, it was easier because there wasn’t a large group of complaining environmentalists and lawyers waiting to file lawsuits over everything they didn’t like, but the city has never been hit by a large wave since. (no hurricanes either). ….

    Why don’t we just move the historical part to a better site and turn the current city in a bowl into a natural disaster museum?

  235. Gabriel says:

    I believe in god but i question the faith of other people on here when they say they deserved what they got because they lived in such a sinful city. It appears to me there happy that hundreds of people lost their lives, there glad that entire metro was destroyed, that hundreds of thousands of people of been displaced, to me they are the sinners, GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HURRICANE KATRINA!

  236. Duh says:

    Uh, why has no one mention the importance of new orleans for the trade and moving barges up the mississippi.

    Let us not rebuild new orleans and see what happens with the cost of good that relay on new orleans ports. Let us flush out all the offshore jobs and let us abandon all the oil companies…. I am sure it would be great for the us economy

  237. John says:

    Gabriel, I’m glad you believe in God. And, since you believe in Him, you must know that He has everything to do with everything. Nothing happens simply by chance or fate. Everything, and I mean, everything has a plan and purpose, including even the weather.

    Having said that, I disagree with the notion that the people of New Orleans got what they deserved. That’s an absurd and ignorant attempt to analyze God’s motives. Frankly, I pretty sure He doesn’t want us even trying to “get in His head” like that, but is rather very interested in what we think of Him and how we treat each other. I can’t see how a person who is saying “I told you so” is going to be any help at all to some who is suffering, deserved or not.

    So… Plan yes, condemnation no. We help as much as humanly possible and let God sort out the details. He’ll do a much better job of it than anyone around here possible could.

  238. Cheryl says:

    It’s easy to disregard the race card when you’re not on the receiving end!

  239. Sandy says:

    A worthy challenge: make a great port city that respects its natural environment. Remove the levees and canals that divert the river. Wait 5 or 10 or 20 years for the wetlands to return and the bowl to fill in with Mississippi silt. Build on that and in such a way that flooding can be tolerated. Study natural sites that survive well in hurricanes and floods. Use appropriate plants. People used to fear wetlands (“swamps”) but now we have the technology to live with them. Build a sustainable city and port.

    A small rant: where are the corporate donations? Greyhound busses, mobile homes and RVs are needed immediately. Since business doesn’t step up very readily I want a government that can force the private sector to contribute.

  240. John says:

    Duh, no one is suggesting we abandon the port of New Orleans, just the city located in such a precarious location. The port stays where it is because its location is dictated by geography, but residences and non-essential businesses relocate further inland to a more secure, above sea level location. Commuting to work at the port and refineries is a small price to pay to avoid drowning. If it’s all too much effort, anyone not willing to put up with the added trouble is welcome to move elsewhere or find another job.

    From all the reports I’ve seen there were apparently tens of thousands of unemployed working-age adults living in and around downtown New Orleans, so they should have no problem moving to a more secure location since commuting isn’t a problem for them. The aged and infirm should also be quite happy to simply get out of that cesspool. Whatever their situation, they all deserve to live in a safe location, and that eliminates New Orleans from the list.

  241. John says:

    Cheryl, I’m not sure which side of the race card argument you are taking.

    Are you saying you are okay with racially-motivated comments that pander to minority groups? Or are you saying that unless someone accusses you of being a racist, you don’t know what it feels like?

    Please clarify.

  242. Chris says:

    Right now, I think we should stop being so ready to jump the gun about making New Orleans a phoenix from the ashes and do the true American thing: worry about those fellow countrymen who have lost everything! New Orleans should be pieced back together, even if it is only its people and not the city itself.

    I applaud those who are expressing the normal human (and American) reaction to rebuild New Orleans. But I also see the point of those who just don’t see it as being plausable. I don’t think any of us who are sitting in our air conditioned offices and rooms can really grasp the enormity of what has happened to our country’s Gulf coastline. Sure, I would love to see New Orleans rebuilt. As a college history major, I can’t think of another city with such a vibrant and unique charcter so connected to the past. At the same time, however, this disaster is a crippling blow to our country: mental, physical, spiritual and economic. I believe that the hurrahs and calls for rebuilding are a bit pre-mature. Untold multitudes are dead. By the time water is pumped out of the city, every exposed foundation and wooden frame will be rotted and/or undermined. We are dealing with one of the largest refugee crises on American soil since the Civil War. I say we should just worry about getting help to those who need it for now, and worry about rebuilding later. Losing a city is one of the most traumatic things that could ever happen to a civilization, but, after all the hurrah and rallying of support (which is all well and good), maybe we should take a step back and see what really would be better for our country and its people. Also, I personally do not appreciate the issues of race being brought into the picture. I am a white, middle-class Catholic, but I sat at my television and got teary eyed watching every person pass by the news cameras, regardless of color, class, religion, etc. Let’s stop pointing fingers, at least for now, and use our hands and voices for what is most important: helping those in need! To accuse anyone of negligence due to factors of race is downright ignorant (using fully both definitions of the word). All that can be done is being done, and the shortcomings are simply due to the monumental scale of the problem.
    Personally, I think the rebuilding of New Orleans should be assessed after clean-up has begun. We still have a long way to go. Untold amounts of water to pump out. Thousands of dead loved ones to find. And untold thousands of lives to be rebuilt. I am not a dreamer. I pride myself on being a realist. I am NOT a fortune-teller. So what I have to say is this: I hope that New Orleans can at least in part be rebuilt. If not, however, I can understand why and shall do the true American thing: worry about my fellow Americans.

  243. Rich W. in FLA says:

    New Orleans should convert part of the flooded areas into a Venice (Italy) type attraction. Stop fighting the inevitable. Retreat and rebuild on higher ground.

  244. Enzo says:

    Everyone knew the levees would not hold and were told to evacuate. Read the article.

    The mayor had a MANDATORY evacuation. That means “get the hell out”. A
    category 5 hurricane is catastrophic.

    Anyone who stayed in a city below sea level, protected by levees that were known
    to be inadequate, in the face of a category 5 hurricane is a complete idiot, especially
    people caring for families and the elderly.

    The excuse that the 200,000 people were too poor to evacuate is nonsense too.
    These people have not listened since they were born. Go to school, get an education, go to college, get a job, evacuate the city, it seems they did none of the above.

    Mexican immigrants run across the border in California and within a year or two have 3 jobs
    and an apartment and are sending $500 home a month. What’s the excuse of Americans
    born in New Orleans?

    I know, it was George Bush’s fault! He planned this hurricane to stop people from talking
    about the war!


  245. Ian says:

    I cannot believe how heartless many of these comments are!!

    Why haven’t the federal authorities sent the troops etc in earlier
    to give the people of New Orleans the food and water they need?

    I guess many of you lot explain why!!

  246. Big Mac says:

    A city was built on water from the Lord. HOw long can you last in an unnatural habitat?

  247. KS says:

    Under no circumstances should the city (as we know it) be re-built. As a tax payer I do not want to see my contributions to be spent on a project that is below sea level and located in a hurricane hot spot. The combination of those two conditions would be like trying to build a ice castle in Death Valley. There is hundreds of citys in this Nation with as much “Heart” and History as N.O. I believe that the City needs to be looked at as an example to future generations and re-designed as a tourist and history spot. Not as a major metropolitian area. The cost of making a smaller area capable of surviving future events would be far less expensive. That 200+ billion dollars along with the good folks around this country should be able to relocate the refugees and get them started in a new life without the fear of a repeat performance. Another area that should be saved is the import and export shipping area.

  248. Bonnie says:

    Disaster relief is actually a state and local responsibility. FEMA coordinates relief efforts and passes state/local requests on to the Federal government. The Federal government then passes the request resources thru FEMA to the state/local authorities who then distribute material and personnel as needed. This seems to have worked fairly well in Alabama and Mississippi. The process has not worked in Louisiana, especially in N.O. Where was the Louisiana governor, the mayor of N.O., the police chief, the fire chief during the first couple days of this disaster? Were they speaking to each other? I’m no Bush fan, no Republican fan (actually, no big fan of Federal government under any party), but it seems the Federal government has responded relatively well (not perfectly, there is much room for improvement), but the Louisiana state and local governments have fallen flat on their faces. Cudos to the officials in Alabama and Mississippi.

  249. Ian says:

    I’m pleased to hear that some things are going well. All I hear is bad news.

    Weren’t the N.O. officials so overwhelmed that the federal authorities
    ought to have just done the right thing straight away and sent
    the troops in to help? Why the wait? Things seem hopelessly slow.
    Of course it’s a huge problem so one cannot expect miracles BUT the
    world’s news journalists seem to be able to get to the really desperate crowds in New Orleans
    without too much trouble…

    I do think the question about rebuilding should be
    left on the back burner for now.

    Also, I think you cannot possibly blame all the people for staying
    in New Orleans. How can you expect people in nursing homes to get
    themselves out of the city, or those who don’t own a car (not everyone does!),
    or tourists stuck in the city, …

  250. jimmy&darla says:

    We think if we can rebuild irak then we can rebuild louisianna…..

  251. Harry Paratestes says:

    In reply to Frank Martin:Sections of Southern Louisiana, Missouri and Alabama will likely be uninhabitable for some time, and its very likely that due to dioxin there may be may parts of these areas that are never going to be re-inhabited.
    In think that you meant Mississippi instead if Missouri (it wasn’t affected by Katrina)

  252. lost says:

    yes im here in new orleans it seans like a war zone here the 12 of us our armed with 7 guns each day we go out to find old hot water heaters to tap them for the water we have 2 dead here with us and this battery isnt going to last long but ill post what i can were barely staying alive theres no rescue in the area we fear for our lifes people are hunting everything and anything they can to eat we have 4 rooms here we sit at the entrance to whats left of this old hotel and gaurd ourselves please help


  253. reblev says:

    Much has been said on this & other blogs about NOLA being bulldozed, and abandoned as a lost cause, etc. This is a wonderful idea advanced by our fellow citizens, most notably Mr. Hastert.

    By the same logic used by these astute thinkers, when the next major disaster rolls around (natural or man-made) we need to follow the same logical prescription to the following cities, it they happen to be the victim:

    1) Miami (my favorite, being from FL)
    a) Is not below sea level, but is very close to it, with the water table very close to ground level.
    b) Is a hive of sinfulness and dissolution, & too many drug dealers
    c) God has already punished Miami with H. Andrew and others, and
    could so easily again. God does not want NOLA to exist obviously, and does not want Miami to exist either.
    d) Was a mosquito, alligator and water-moccasin infested swamp before the city was built. like NOLA. We need to let it go back to being part of the Everglades again
    e) Is an important part of the nation’s economy like NOLA, like for international banking with South America, is an important port, etc. But so what.
    f) Has too many people of brown skin color
    g) Idiots developed it in the first place, probably by Southerners (like NOLA, as Aldo has claimed) , who everyone knows are a bunch of backward Neanderthals. Ooops, I checked my encyclopedia, and found I got this point wrong as far as Miami goes. Sorry, it was Northern money (Flagler and others) who originally drained the FL swamps and built the first major cities there. So this makes Miami a little better than NOLA I guess, since it was Northern money. As a matter of fact, NOLA was originally developed by French money. And the French…..well that’s another topic.
    h) is like a banana republic, like NOLA is like Haiti, as someone else on this blog has said.
    i) is a cultural center for many Hispanics, as NOLA has been a cultural center for the Creole world and our Anglo world for over 300 years. But that doesn’t matter, we need to move on. All those unique Spanish and Cuban restaurants can be replaced with any McDonalds, any day, just like the Creole restaurants of NOLA can..

    2) SF
    a) is built on an earthquake faultline
    b) Is a hive of sinfulness and dissolution, and too many gays
    c) God has already punished SF with earthquakes and major fires, and could so easily again. God does not want SF to exist either.
    d) Was a wet, foggy, cold forest area before the city was built. We need to let it go back to being forest again.
    e) Is an important part of the nation’s economy like NOLA, like for international banking with the Pacific Rim Countries, is an important port, etc. But so what.
    f) Has too many people of brown or yellow skin color
    g) Idiots developed it in the first place, , many greedy people wanting to make a killing in the Gold Rush, and they were from all over the country, I guess….
    h) is like a “queer” republic, like NOLA is like Haiti, as someone else on this blog has said.
    i) is a cultural center for many Asians, Hispanics and others, as NOLA has been a cultural center for the Creole world and our Anglo world for over 300 years. But that doesn’t matter, we need to move on. All those unique Chinese and other restaurants can be replaced with any McDonalds, any day, just like the Creole restaurants of NOLA can..

    3) Atlanta
    a) is built on Georgia red clay, always suceptible to a mudslide…
    b) Is a hive of sinfulness and dissolution
    c) God has already punished Atlanta with several tornadoes plus THE fire, which of course they deserved being stupid Southerners in rebellion against the North. God does not want Atlanta to exist either.
    d) Was a series of nice, rolling hills covered with beautiful forests. Now it’s just an ever-expanding sea of concrete with horrible traffic. We need to let it go back to being green rolling hills again.
    e) Is an important part of the nation’s economy like NOLA, like for computer companies, regional banking, an important airline hub, etc. But so what.
    f) Has too many people of brown skin color, and too many rednecks coming out of the Georgia woods and the Tennessee hills
    g) Idiots developed it in the first place, probably by Southerners, who everyone knows are a bunch of backward Neanderthals. Before THE fire, mostly Southerners built Atlanta, but being the evil beings they were, their city was destroyed. Then Atlanta was rebuilt using lots of Northern money, which was of course an improvement.
    h) is like a redneck republic, like NOLA is like Haiti, as someone else on this blog has said.
    i) is a cultural center for many blacks, and others (even rednecks), as NOLA has been a cultural center for the Creole world and our Anglo world for over 300 years. But that doesn’t matter, we need to move on. All those unique soul food and “Southern cookin” restaurants can be replaced with any McDonalds, any day, just like the Creole restaurants of NOLA can..

    4) New York
    a) is built close to the water, and could easily be washed away by a Northeasterner…or bombed by terrorists coming from overseas. It was probably surrounded by U-boats during WWII, as was NOLA.
    b) Is a hive of sinfulness and dissolution and greed
    c) God has already punished NY with several major fires, plus of course 9/11. God, or maybe Allah, does not want NY to exist either.
    d) Was a lowland on the Hudson River with beautiful forests in the background. Now it’s just an ever-expanding sea of concrete with horrible traffic. We need to let it go back to being a lowland again.
    e) Is an important part of the nation’s economy like NOLA, like for every kind of company, world banking, an important port, etc. But so what.
    f) Has too many Yankees and greedy lawyers and speculators
    g) Idiots developed it in the first place, namely the Dutch, then the English.
    h) is like a money republic full of greedheads, like NOLA is like Haiti, as someone else on this blog has said.
    i) is a cultural center for artists and many people of all categories, as NOLA has been a cultural center for the Creole world and our Anglo world for over 300 years. But that doesn’t matter, we need to move on. All those unique international and “new American” restaurants can be replaced with any McDonalds, any day, just like the Creole restaurants of NOLA can.

    There are other American cities that this logic can be applied to, such as Chicago, Honolulu and others. Others can add to this list for similar reasons as quoted above.

    For NOLA, there are 3 main alternatives:
    1) Bulldozing and “moving on”
    2) Rebuilding as it was
    3) Rebuilding smarter. Does this mean a McDonalds instead of the Gumbo Shop on the corner? No, but it could mean buildings constructed on stilts or higher ground (build it up). See Building Codes’ posting, above where he/she describes the new Caribbean island building codes, effective for hurricane-prone areas.

    BUT..this costs money. To save money, and so that we don’t have to rebuild all the time, we as a nation need to apply the logic as mentioned above (thanks to others on this blog who inspired me) to all American cities who have a natural or man-made disaster, to keep it fair. After all, rebuilding Iraq and other places is much more important than rebuilding at home.

  254. Matt B says:

    Keep in mind- the thousands of people being rescued from New Orleans are NOT being rescued from the aftermath of Katrina. They are being rescued from human stupidity and most of it is there very own.

    The overwhelming information and recommendation from the federal level down was to evacuate the city. This was not heeded by the vast majority of the people stranded.
    Yes, SOME could not have gotten out. This is stupidity on part of the local government. Free transportation should have been available to take people out of the city. Maybe this was available, in which case, read above paragraph.

    There was ample warning. This was no surprise. In fact- it was expected to be worse. And people CHOSE to face mother nature in spite of overwhelming evidence they would lose and guess what, they lost.

  255. Why should New Orleans be rebuilt? I think this will just happen again. The only way to rebuild it would be to build giant 50 foot walls around the city like the Great Wall of China.

    Didn’t this happen to Alantis?

  256. Latigo says:

    New Orleans must be re-built.

    But, if Mardi Grass will come back.

    New Orleans will be totally destroyed.

  257. Michael says:

    There is some excellent geographic info at this site.

    New Orleans should be rethought, redesigned and rebuilt, WITH one caveat – “NEVER AGAIN, next time it must be abandoned.”

  258. gibbs says:

    Thank god there’s still people like reblev around here. What the hell do you think, yes it should be rebuild, i never tought somebody would even dare raise this issue. Would we leave San Fran if it were to go down??? I was stuned by the comment left by Ruiner, San Fran’s mainly white, the location of the city is much better than NO!!! SO we’ll let them suffer when they get hit??? IF WE WANNA BE THE NUMBER ONE COUNTRY ON EARTH WE SHOULD AT LEAST HELP ANYONE STRUCK BY BAD LUCK IN OUR OWN COUNTRY PROPERLY!!!

  259. Michael says:

    No, absolutely not. End of story.

    The idea that we should thumb our noses at Mother Nature by throwing a ludicrous amount of money and effort into such a futile effort is preposterous. There is no better way to throw money away than to rebuild New Orleans. I see more sense in the US being in Iraq (and there is none) than rebuilding New Orleans.

    As humans we sometimes have a tendency to leap before we look, but this has to come down to a very logical look before we leap. We have to weigh the good against the bad. I will not waste time and space recounting both, it’s sufficient to say, our hearts want to rebuild and hold on to the past and our minds tell us it’s senseless to fight an unstoppable force and it is just that, unstoppable we cannot even begin to hope to stop the forces of nature.

    We put up a good fight, but we have to be sensible enough to retreat when faced with the undefeatable. To mindlessly go foward into battle you will surely loose isn’t honorable, heroic, couragious or a testiment to the human spirit, it’s suicidal. We may just have to face the practical fact that New Orleans is the first city claimed by global warming and really bad human planning, not God (I guess that honor goes to Sodom).

    To all those who partake of the wrath of God angle, what of Rio de Janeiro, or Bangkok all of which seem to be full of debauchery and people of color and a lLOT of white ‘tourist’ as well, and not so full of pestilence… unless you count the massive slums of those cities What of Ibiza or Amsterdam? And before anyone says Amsterdam is a prime example of why we could rebuild since nearly one half of Holland is protected from flooding by an extensive system of dikes, dams and sand dunes, they do not have to deal with Hurricanes.

    We should not be controlled by an emotional attachment to something we can not in invariably save. We have to realize it’s not truly worth the fight because it’s a fight we can’t truly expect to win. We have to pick our battles and know when to say when. The tens to hundreds of billions we’re blindly going to spend to retrieve a lost city could be better spent elsewhere within the US in citys that haven’t been devestated. New Orleans is a viable port but it’s not the only city on the Mississippi River, it can be replaced, maybe not in spirit but no ‘thing’ is irreplaceable.

  260. ajadudu says:

    The only reason this question is asked affirms my position that those poor people were left to die out because of the color of their skin.

    Why is the WTC being rebuilt? What will happen if an earthquake hits LA? Should it be abandoned before the last body is pulled out of the rubble? Isnt it prone to earthquakes? Why not let mother nature do its job huh?
    And some moron calls himself “realist” and says

    “Does the black man and woman wonder why they don’t have much opportunity? Look at all of the looters and rapists and gunmen, THEY ARE ALL BLACK! When will these dumb sunsabitches quit acting like animals? They should shoot everyone of the looting, low life folks of any color that are not helping”

    Just like the dumb myopic racist you are why cant you see beyond ure racially blinded eyes that only blacks seem to be left in the city, not just looting but also dieing on the roof tops, sleeping next to corpses in the superdome, and freaking chasing down the looters as a police office.

    You should be ashamed of yourself fool and btw your last sentence just shows you hide ure true self, a frigin racist.

  261. john says:

    guess which race played the race card again.
    people who are below average intelligence and ability, and who make bad decisions, should but dont appreciate those capable of better decision making.
    refusal to accept responsibility for the consequences of ones actions, and blaming government for ones personal failings, is a sign of stupidity, incompetece, and dishonessty.
    refusal to condemn people who loot [other than immediate necessities], rape & kill makes one part of the problem.
    the courage to look reality in the eye is required. do we or dont we believe in telling the truth?
    poverty isnt the reason. character and the lack of it are the reason.

  262. Matt B says:

    Jesus Christ, John, how great to see another voice of reason and rationality.
    Ajadudu- sorry, but you are an idiot. I really for sorry for you because ignorance is not bliss- it’s misery which is exactly why you perceive the world as you do.

    You ask why does it seem only blacks are left in the city? Because most of the people who did not evacuate when ordered before the storm are black. That’s why. The white people who stayed behind are stranded too. They are not only resuing white people and leaving behind black people you friggin moron. A moment of rational thought clearly and concisely proves this: The vast majority of people moved into texas are black, not white. Did you, uh, notice that mr “open eyes”?

    Reason. Rationality. This is how we find truth.

  263. Robert says:

    Hello from Germany. What happpened to you american guys keeping such a lousy discussion about rebuild or not? You spend an incredible amount of billions of tax dollars helping Afghanistan and Iraq (without any visible result), but you are not willing to help your own fellows rebuild an important city in the gulf region? Think of all the vessels and barges that operate on the Mississippi carrying all sort of industry goods and food. You need a vital port city down there. Think of the oil platforms and refineries down there.

    You american guys, you are the leading nation of the world, if you can´t´do that, who else could do that? For rebuild of the eastern part of germany the germans had to pay a total amount of 1,500 billion EURO from 1990 to 2004.
    For the damage in the gulf region we talk about 30 Billion USD.

    Man, what a wimpy discussion…

  264. Paul Poupart says:

    Someone stated that New Orleans should not be rebuilt because it has no reason to exist in the first place. You, my friend are a moron. You obviously have no idea how things work in this country. I live in New Orleans. I am a native Orleanian. You have to eat right? You put gas in your car right? Do you use medicine or shampoo or eat cereal or bread? Do you drink coffee? Odds are the cup of coffee you drank this morning arrived in the port of New Orleans about a week ago. Not to mention the gas you put in your car yesterday was refined in a plant along the river in New Orleans. Oh thats right i forgot, all the grains and vegetables you midwesterners sell to the rest of the world to put food on your own table, without a doubt went through customs in New orleans and then on to destinations unknown. We suply 255 of the refined gasoline this country uses everyday. You will see soon how important this city is when youstart to pay six dollars for a gallon of gas and three dollars for a pack of gum. It’s the largest port inthe country, getting it yet??

    Now for some historical background . What are the most historical cities significant to this country? Boston? WashingtonD.C.? Guess what? This city is three hundred years old. It has more historical significance than any other city in the United States. Remember the Louisiana Purchase? It doubled the size of the country. But why would a silly litle upstart country spend that much money on a big empty chunk of land? I’ll tell you why. Because New Orleans was there. Your midwestern farms would not exist without the port of New orleans to dish out your wares. The largest distributors of fresh seafood to every restaraunts kitchen comes from Louisiana. Did you eat any fruits from Florida or bananas from South America lately. Yep, you guessed it. It came from here to get to your fat mouth.

    On an average block on any street within the city limits of New orleans, 1 out of every 3 houses is probably over 100 years old, some are 150 years old. The French Quarter has buildings as old as 200 years old. i think this is worth saving. not all of these homes are under water and almost all of them can be repaired.

    Hey lets talk more History. the battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812. Not only was general Jackson highly outnumbered, he was out of ammunition. The people of New orleans rallied together and not only defeated, but mopped the floor with those British invaders to compleely close the door on the war. Most of these people were french citizens only a few years becore. Oh, by the way, a large portion of the defenders were free men of color.

    There was a pretty big war called World war II. Did you see saving private Ryan? The opening scene with the Hiiggins landing boats? Guess where they were built? Guess where the inventor of these boats came from? I think you know the answer. The D-Day Museum is in the heart of the city. It is the biggest memorial museum to world War II veterans in the country. You tell those vets that this monumental tribute to their sacrifices will not be rebuilt. I’m not going to do it.

    Now, to all the racists out there in blogland. This is my home. This is where i was raised. I am white. The city of New Orleans is the most culturally diverse city in the country. Like all cities there are rich and poor. I am white, but I am not rich. If it werent for the help of relatives I would be in that Dome with those people. I am very thankful and could never truly repay my debt to these people that are helping me to survive at the moment. I am in a hotel in Tyler texas.

    Let us clear up a few things. New Orleans is 70%black.

    It is not a suprise that 99% of those “refugees” as they are called are black. It is a poor city. Yes, everyone was warned.

    If you make $5.15 an hour and have two kids, there is no money left over to buy most of things the average American takes for granted. These people use public transportation to get to their jobs. They don’t have cars, they don’t have bicicycles, and they sure as hell don’t have money to take a train out of town. How do you leave if you have no way out? None of them have rich uncles that can wire them some cash to rent a car and stay at a Holiday Inn in Houston.

    There is a high crime rate in New Orleans, this is true, but the vast majority of those people dying from starvation are doing what they were told to do. there is a minute percentage of “bad apples’ that are making us all look bad.

    As for the looting. If you were holding a child about to die from starvation or dehydration, you would knock the windows out of a Walgreen’s to feed that child. These are unique circumstances. Try not to eat for four days and see how long you r resolve lasts.

    In summation, I would like to remind you people that these people dying are Americans. That’s right, Americans, just like you and me. They are not “REFUGEES”, They are mothers and fathers and families that pay taxes just like you. They are war veterans and teachers and everyday average citizens that deserve their rights to be protected. This is not Iraq, this is not Ethiopia, this an important american city that is dying right in front of our eyes. As a displaced native, I find it sickening to se the lack of response from the rest of the country.

    We sit in this hotel and watch the news networks non stop. Do you think it is easy to watch your neighborhood dissapear?

    Do you think it is easy to watch the people you worked with come on t.v. and say that their whole family is dead or that their are bodies floating down the street one block over from your apartment.

    I would wish that every American go outside right now. Sit on your porch. Look around. Think about every wonderful memory you have of this place you live in. The ballpark where you got your first hit. The restaraunt tou had your first date with your wife or girlfriend. The palces your granparents took you as kids. The fairs, the festivals, the house where yougo to see your whole family at Thanksgiving, the tree you climbed in the front yard, your old high school.

    Do you have all these pictures in you r head?

    Now, close your eyes. What you now see is what we have now. Nothing complete and utter anhialation of every memory we have. Think about this before you decide to make judgements.

    thank you for reading this,

    Paul A. Poupart’

    forever a citizen of New Orleans

  265. Dan says:

    It should not be rebuilt as anything more than a port city that occasionally floods.

    However, it will be rebuilt. With money we don’t have. The talking heads on TV say that this will help the economy.

    They are wrong, as usual. Most groupthink ideas are wrong.

    Consider a distribution center in NO that was destroyed. Some company has to build another. In the meantime, it uses FedEx and UPS to ship its items – incurring additional costs. So fedex and UPS get more money, right? Yes, and all the other carriers that shipped the freight more efficiently (cost wise) lose their business. Other contractors both local and national that had service contracts for mechanical, electrical, and computer equipment in the building no longer have a contract. The people who used to work there no longer have a job. The small businesses that interacted with those workers no longer have customers. The building itself was a capital resource that generated revenue for a host of companies, and is no longer there. The money that will be used to replace it will have to come from somewhere – meaning that is money that would have been used elsewhere but will now be used to build something that was destroyed.

    And to be honest, I’m not certain the country can afford this. The insurance companies are talking about 20-30 billion in expenses for just them. The Federal government insures for flood damage, the insurance companies are mostly just talkig about wind damage and people’s cars. The flood damage is likely to be astronomical by comparison when you consider that an entire city is under water. It’s electrical, sewage, and road systems are destroyed or badly damaged. There is no tax base now so the local government cannot do a thing, and Louisiana certainly cannot do anything since it’s main cash cow is gone. What do you think that will cost in total? 100 billion? 200 billion?

    This is going to have a much wider and more severe effect on people all over the country than anyone thinks.

  266. KnowItAll says:

    i say take all the tree huggers and environmental fools and send them to New Orleans to straighten out the mess, and then we can go drill for our own oil in our own country. We can build more refineries and become a little more self sufficient.

    You people are completly missing the point.

    Paul: there does not have to be a bustling city of a million people to have a port there. I’ll give ya that the port is very important, but there does not have to be a city of New Orleans there with a million people waiting to die in the flood that will come again. do not rebuild the “city” but build a port and don’t let the army corps of engineers within 1,000 miles of it. the mouth of the Mississippi river is too important not to be used in that manner. Only a fool could think that it would be worth rebuilding the city and moving all the civilians back in. demolish it all, start over from scratch and build it back to what it should have only been in the first place, a port to only receive goods and such and then get the goods the hell outta there. And this time, build the damn thing above sea level.

    You can’t live in “history” you can only think about. and I hope thats what the city becomes, HISTORY.

    If its as hard as you say to see and hear the things that are happening to N.O. right now, why in the world would you want to put it back only to inevitably have the same thing happen in the future? You sound like a man of reason and must realize that will happen again sometime if everything is simply rebuilt.

  267. jo says:

    If you ask to be judged by the content of your character, you most surely will.

  268. KnowItAll says:

    interesting article:

    Written in 2000

    And if the city is rebuilt it will be by fools

  269. David says:

    Having been born in New Orleans, but primarily raised in Lake Charles, I have witnessed first hand both ends of Louisiana’s cultural spectrum. New Orleans certainly must be rebuilt; the only question is where? I would vote for higher ground in a an area significantly less prone to flood.

    And as far as the race factor goes…wouldn’t it be best to demolish all of the slums that existed in New Orleans and begin anew with better housing. This could be an opportunity to better integrate New Orleans and break up the clusters of poverty that now exist.

  270. Grray says:

    There seem to be a lot of people here arguing that the taxpayers money shouldn’t be used for rebuilding NO. I just want to remind those folks that the people of Louisiana are taxpayers, too. Their taxes went into projects they were not very enthusiastic about, too. And the feds denied them the needed funds for flood prevention which would have prevented the most dire consequences of the hurrivane. In the republican ideology of ‘taxes are YOUR money’, this means that the feds didn’t allow them to use THEIR money for this very urgent task. Afaik Louisiana’s citizens pay about 8 billion dollars in taxes every year. Officials say, complete class 5 levees for NO would have cost 2.5 billion. In comparison, 7 billion dollars have been spent to recreate thge Florida everglades.

    Is it ethical to spend an incredible amount of money in Alaska in the future, including a monster bridge with a prize tag of $941 million, and in the same instance deny the hurricane refugees the chance to rebuild their communities?

    Imho the US owes the victims the rebuilding effort, because the feds bear a lot of responsibility for the desaster. Of course, there should be regulations regarding safety for the constructions. And the work at the upgrade of the levees should start immediately. But millions of US citizens in Louisiana shouldn’t be forced to leave their home country because the rest of the nation denies to support them.

  271. MapMan says:

    I am from Mobile, AL and I have spent time all over this world; most of it in New Orleans. This city is unlike anything on this planet; the people, the attitude, and the life are things you don’t find anywhere else. Most Americans would understand these things if we would travel outside this county, and truly understand what it is that we have here.

    I am discussed to here America’s ignorance for what they know about their governments actions. Our Army is rebuilding the Infrastructure in Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other place we go. Unfortunately our government Classifies things when reporters and the public being to ask questions on how much are we rebuilding and where. We can get troops and supplies to those troops in a matter of hours not days. However, the people of America will do nothing to rebuild their own town and wait for a desperate mayor and governor to make FORMAL requests to get troops and supplies…. That is the most insane thing I think I have read to date!

    There truly needs to be discussions and thought made before the building process beings; this is a must. Let us consider things like removing residential areas out of these sensitive areas, raising the business off of the first levels, moving parts of the city to higher ground, or some other engineering feat. America, consider Venice as an example of things we might be able to do to rebuild…. But the last thing that Americans need to think about is letting the city become a part of our history and not a part of our future…

    Finally: To Knowitall, I would under if you had ever been to this city, or what it is you think you know about the Corps of Engineers? Without the Corps there would be no port city, period! Their main function is to keep the shipping channels opened and running. That is a 24/7 dredging operation, but that’s not something I guess you knew. You are correct, only a fool would build the city back exactly the way it was. However, if you know history you are not doomed to repeat it.

  272. Bonnie says:

    There are many here who talk about Miami, or Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, or New York. They fail to differentiate between reasonable and unreasonable risk. They ramble on about how we MUST rebuild N.O. and call others names and accuse them of being inconsiderate. Then they go on an attach little qualifications like “build on stilts or higher ground”! DUH! Stilts works for the buildings, but the rest of the infrastructure will still be at risk and flooded streets would isolate the buildings. Higher ground makes sense. That is EXACTLY what the “inconsiderates” are proposing, you morons! Fill in the existing basin? Where do you get the fill? How long to get that amount of material in, then safely compacted (you definitely don’t want to build anything on loose fill), then erect structures and infrastructure on top of that. Reloate nearby, on higher ground. There will still be risk from hurricanes, but not (unnatural) inundating floods. That is reasonable risk.

  273. Laszlo says:

    Bonnie shows a rational understanding of the problem that is New Orleans. Rebuilding a coastal city that sits below sea level is simply not reasonable. The risks are far too high. There is no engineering on earth that can assure such a city will not experience yet another catastrophic flooding.

    The city of San Francisco may be near a fault line; but it is not built on a fault. As the last major earthquake there showed, the engineering held up. No major building toppled. The rebuilt freeway will also be unlkely to topple in the next earthquake. Its flaws were understood and corrected in the rebuild. There is no such solution for New Orleans.

    Filling in the basin would be an engineering project the likes of which has never been seen on the face of the earth. The only conceivable way it could be done would be to shunt the Mississippi into the New Oreleans area and allow repeated floodings to build up silt to near sea level. Of course the time line for such a project would be measured in decades. When this process was reasonably complete in fifty years or so, engineers would have to figure out how to make the silt stable enough for construction. But in fifty years perhaps people would forget about rebuilding and just let it be: our gift to the archaeologists of the distant future.

  274. Trina says:

    I have substantially contributed, financially, THIS time to help the victims of Katrina. New Orleans, however, should not be rebuilt as it was. It has always been a disaster waiting to happen. If it is rebuilt, and WHEN it gets hit again, I will not contribute so much as a one penney. It is ridiculous that the American public is continually tagged to foot the bill for people who choose to live in unsafe places. Enough is enough!

  275. Michael says:

    If New Orleans along with the rest of Louisiana wants to secede from the Union and spend your tax money on propping up your great sinking city, go right ahead… I don’t want one red cent going towards that end.

    The US would be better off spending twice the amount of money it’s going to cost to rebuild and diverting the Mississippi River through the state of Mississippi and having it come out between Gulfport and Biloxi

    I say this because New Orleans is going to get hit again and again (as is Gulfport and Biloxi but the difference is they’re not built under sea level), and this isn’t like rebuilding a region that was once run into the ground by corrupt and/or misguided leaders such as East Germany or Iraq, once you rebuild the infrastructure there it will stay unless man destroys it again (or the occasional 100 year flood or two).

    What we’re talking about in New Orleans is a complete gamble. And not about a gamble where we win and walk away richer, it’s a gamble on when we’ll lose our shirts again… next year maybe two years from now (does New Orleans want to start a Hurricane relief fund for themselves? Save during the good years to pay for the bad. I doubt it. So for now your tax moneys go into the greater good pot, besides Louisiana was a Red state twice so you should agree whole heartedly on how “W” is spending your money… ya’ gotta’ support your man, right?).

    What happens when it gets hit again? Or even twice in one year? Then all you’ll hear is, “the government should have never let anyone rebuild in that area. It was completely irresponsible and racist. They knew that blacks were going to repopulate that area and they just wanted to set us (blacks) up to get killed again. We need reparations for you being short sighted enough to listen to us and rebuilding the city”. You know what, if it was a truly racist issue… their would be no rescue process at all and the Astrodome would be prepping for entertainment events that bring money into the city not refugees sucking resources away. Refugees from a city that should have been abandoned years ago when we first realized what was happening to it (slowly sinking below the surface of the sea and there is nothing we can do about it!).

    What pisses me off the most is that some people don’t realize that what happens to the people of New Atlantis… I mean Orleans… happens to all of us. We’re the ones paying for the rescue. No one wants to see people suffer but to rebuild only means future unnecessary suffering. (New Orleaneans surly aren’t paying into their rescue… their tax moneys all go to sure up their dykes… if you want to live by the sword of all of our tax money should go to just us… screw the common good, then you die by that same sword).

    And you say, “well if that had been the case then the levees would not have failed”. But there is no way to prove that. And even though the city had been given millions in recent years to sure up the system the only way to really make sure that New Orleans didn’t have a front row seat to “Finding Nemo” is to build a 40 foot high 300 foot thick wall around the city and not ever let it grow again… that would ensure that no poor people , black or white, could ever live their because land would be such a prime commodity.
    Sounds like a win-win situation lets do it! You mean a city with all the best restaurants and entertainment venues and no poor people bumming change off of me when I leave to go to my car… that’s AWSOME! I’m there!

    And less we forget Katrina was called for a time a Category 5 + storm what happens when there’s a Cat 5++ with 225 mile per hour winds? Should we prepare for that as well? Let’s build that wall a 100 foot high a 1000 feet thick hell let’s just build a dome and keep the weather out completely. Screw you mother nature I mean heck… the super dome survived right? Then let’s make the Uber Super Dooper Dome!

    Shame on us for not building?
    No, shame on us for building in an area where we knowingly put people in harms way. But this is a moot point because the people in charge and the sheep like masses are too short sighted to see the benefits of relocating New Orleans to higher ground. We no longer have leaders we have winners of popularity contests whose only goal is to be liked by the most people, and most people are sentimental fools who cling to a warm and fuzzy idealized mental picture of the past. Americans, for the most part can’t plan for the future, that’s why most are in debt up to their eyeballs and why America will stay in debt, because we don’t or can’t plan for the long term.

  276. Jack says:

    I wonder if the death toll will exceed the 10,000 that perished by Yellow Fever, (check city history). Building, or rebuilding, a city 10 feet below sea level, on a disease breeding swamp, is akin to building a house of straw. Only a fool would consider it.

  277. Leslie says:

    My uncle is a long-distance truck driver; he heard of at least 3 drivers who, loaded with bottled water, drove from VA & were told to turn around at Baton Rouge! What’s the deal?? Incompetant administration; Unacceptable response!

  278. GLK says:

    Ignorance seems to be a plague.

    Most of you have no command of the facts or complexity of any of the issues at hand. You exhibit typical first-order thinking. One person described it as “rational”. Uninformed people can always make seemingly rational decisions, particularly about other people’s lives, because they neither have the information nor seek the information to comprehend what is really happening.

    Most of New Orleans’ most significant historic, cultural, and investment assets sit on high ground. The miles of historic housing that are now perfectly dry sit several feet above sea level. These are the neighborhoods that everyone loves to visit when they come to New Orleans. If widespread fire can be avoided, people will move back in these homes as soon as the government lets them access their private property. The housing that belonged to people of means was covered by private insurance, often by flood insurance, or by their own assets. The problem will be all of the (primarily) rental housing that was destroyed, occupied by people of little or no means.

    So when you devise your practical solutions, you must remember that you are devising solutions for 150,000 people at the bottom of the economic ladder. Are you going to rebuild a city for them, or are you going to absorb them into all of your cities? Because the people of the city of New Orleans cannot afford to build massive flood-resistant housing projects to house these people.

    I have a feeling that, faced with the prospect of impoverished African-Americans being relocated to their town, the “rational” folks may change their tune.

    Do not doubt that the people of means will come back to the city. They have lived there for 6..7… who knows how many generations. There is much to love about New Orleans that many people cannot seem to grasp.

    “Acceptable risk” vs. “Unaccceptable Risk” is largely individual preference. I may think it is stupid to live in a place that you could freeze to death, you may think that is normal. You don’t have to live on top of a fault line to be destroyed by an earthquake. I thought the tsunami would have taught people that.

    If you are going try to “rationally” debate the protection systems that surround the City of New Orleans, learn what is feasible, for what cost. Don’t make dramatic assertions about cost, height of walls, etc. that are based on nothing other than, at best, past models and, at worst, guesses. Then you need to compare the various protection systems that protect other cities from natural phenomena, microeconomics, macroeconomics, etc. That may be rational – although in politics, right-leaning or left-leaning, we never make rational decisions. We just view the other side’s excesses as irrational and label our own rational.

    So the right sees tree-huggers, PETA nuts, people having abortions, solar-power geeks, and protecting cultural resources as irrational.

    The left sees driving giant SUVs around the blandburbs, wars for profit, snake-handling assassination fans and giant expensive bridges for Republican senators of barely populated states as irrational.

    New Orleans will be back, regardless of what the federal government does in the long term (since we know they will dry out the city in the near-term). If you want to re-locate the impoverished to higher ground, (your subdivision, perchance?) be my guest. Somehow I don’t think that will happen.

  279. I am here in Houston, and as heartless as this may read, I do not want these refugees to stay here. We are already overwhelmed with stifling school taxes, and adding to the already high indigent (err….lazy, unmotivated, content to let the taxpayers pay for their existence) population will make it more difficult to accumulate wealth. I do not believe we should be so concerned with the common good. This country was founded on principles of individualism, not communism. If people feel guilty because they’re eating filet mignon while others are starving, then do whatever you need to rid yourselves of the guilt. I just wish the governement would quit forcing those of us who work their asses off to provide ourselves a better life to provide everyone else with a similar life.

  280. ooops….submitted too soon. Conclusion…..please rebuild it, and citizens of New Orleans, please move back.

  281. Eva says:

    thanks sick, I feel that people have a choice to live like they want. I for one chose to work and support my family. If you want to rebuild find rebuild, but require people who are able to work to work. Provide jobs, so if something like this happens again maybe you’ll have the means to leave when told to leave.

    I know its hard to work when jobs are few a for in between, so pprovide jobs so people who can work will work. NO can be rebuilded, but I do believe you should consider that if people are going to go back to barely living then some changes should be made.

  282. GLK says:

    See how quickly the right-wing can come around when they realize that they’ve brought poor African-Americans onto ‘the high ground’ (i.e. their cities)?

    New Orleans will be rebuilt.

  283. KnowItAll says:

    Stated By Mapman:

    Finally: To Knowitall, I would under if you had ever been to this city, or what it is you think you know about the Corps of Engineers? Without the Corps there would be no port city, period! Their main function is to keep the shipping channels opened and running. That is a 24/7 dredging operation, but that’s not something I guess you knew. You are correct, only a fool would build the city back exactly the way it was. However, if you know history you are not doomed to repeat it.

    I have been to the city, and it’s nothing but mostly freaks, dykes, and faggots, and lazy ass people, with a minority of decent people, and i don’t plan on goin back.

    After reading sickofpayingforlaziness’s response I’ve had a change of heart, rebuild the city and send the freaks, dykes, fags, and lazy asses back, i don’t want them in my city either, I would rathar pay to have them live somewhere else than pay to have them live in my city.

  284. KnowItAll says:

    oh yeah, and send the freaks, dykes, fags, and lazy asses back to rebuild it their self,

  285. Bonnie says:

    Tempers are running a little hot here. Certainly, reasonable risk vs unreasonable risk is subjective, to an extent. So, we need to look at priorities, develop a number of scenarios to deal with issues, and choose the scenario which is the best for common good.

    The first order of business is to save lives and relieve suffering. Far too many lives have already been lost. The health of the survivors needs to be tended to. Families are separated from each other and don’t have a clue as to who has survived and who has not. This is the immediate need.

    But we also need to start planning the future. We need to start thinking about it now.

    First question. Is a city needed in this proximity? Is there any argument that the answer is a respounding YES? The location, with the waterways, the natural resources, etc., demand that the Port of New Orleans be restored and reopened asap. This is vital to the common good of the entire country. The port cannot be relocated. A major (and I mean MAJOR) port such as this requires a significant settlement nearby. Any debate that a city of New Orleans needs to exist somewhere in the vicinity of the port?

    The existing city, with the exception of the French Quarter and a few other (higher) areas, no longer exists. Something needs to be built. What are the requirements for this “something”?
    1. The people. It needs to be safe, secure, and healthy, fit for human habitation. Should be reinstate people living in poverty (who could ill afford this disaster) back into the same situation? Or should we reestablish them in a safer, more secure location?
    2. The environment. Lots of room here for subjective reasonable vs unreasonable risk analysis. We have people on one side who would be happiest if human habitation of the earth ceased, and people on the other extreme who don’t give a darn. The truth is somewhere in between. The planet is our home and we should be taking care of it. It isn’t a museum piece either, so we have to use it. We have to use it in such a way as to cause the least harm. After years of experience, we should know that we can’t reliably tame something as powerful as the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, the tides, or hurricanes (among other things). The river carries silt. The river NEEDS to flood. It needs someplace to flood to. It is on record what is happening in that region as far as erosion and land loss is concerned. The dikes and levees are great feats of engineering, but now we know that they are also part of the problem. As they are (were), they are inadequate. The levees need to be bigger and more complex, which in turn further degrade the environment, which then leads to higher future risk. We can rebuild the ruins, reinforce the levees, and wait for it to happen again, or we can move the population center to a more secure location, simply the levee system to better protect areas which have survived relatively well (such as the French Quarter), and return the rest to nature. I guess the question is, should we work WITH the environment, or AGAINST it?
    3. Economics. This is the hot button item. I can see people blowing their tops already. You may not like the topic, but it is a factor, regardless. When we talk economics, we need to talk on the long term level here. Please note that this list of priorities is short. This is the 3rd and last item. Notice that it is the LAST item. That means economics is at the BOTTOM of the list. Whose economics are we talking about here? The economics of the country? The region? The people who are living in New Orleans? All of the above. The people who have lost so much already, many not having that much to begin with. Do we put them in a position where the risk of losing everything AGAIN is lower, or do we maintain the status quo? Do we reinstitute a system in which untold finances will need to be spent to maintain (dollars which could be used for economic development instead), and then more cost in dollars (and more importantly, LIVES), when (not if, but when) the levees fail again? A relocation may (or may not) be more costly in the short term. In the long term, relocation is much more economically viable in the terms of not only dollars, but human lives.

    When we speak of relocation, we aren’t talking about moving to Texas or Arkansas. We are talking about what? 10 or 20 miles? Maybe less? Get significantly away from the river and it’s flood plain.

    The biggest task of creating a NEW New Orleans is making it something other that sterile rows and rows of cookie cutter homes. The atmosphere of the old city is gone. The good old days cannot be brought back. Rather than try to mimic the past, let’s create a better future, and preserve what is left of the past.

    Is this short diatribe a final and definitive solution? No. It’s intended as food for thought. No solution is going to please everyone. But please, remember that the situation in New Orleans is unique. It is NOT the same as Miami, which has been devasted by hurricanes. It is NOT the same as San Franciso and the earthquakes. It is NOT the Chicago fire. Miami and San Franciso have been subject to acts of God. Relocation of either of these is unreasonable because we would be talking at least HUNDREDS of miles. Chicago was a man made disaster from which we learned much about fire protection, building codes, etc.

    New Orleans was a two-fold disaster. An act of God (Katrina) and an act of man who thought he could be God and control the Mississippi. We can’t do anything about Katrina. We can do something about the flood threat. If the ONLY alternative was to move New Orleans 200 miles west to avoid the threat of flood, I’d say rebuild where it stands, and build a redundant levee system for protection. But when alternatives are close at hand…!

    Lay emotion aside. Lay race aside. Lay politics aside. This isn’t about whites discriminating against blacks. This isn’t about blacks all being lazy, drug addicted, and deserving of nothing better. This isn’t about the people in New Orleans receiving the wrath of God for their immoral behavior. This isn’t about Republican mismanagement or Democratic corruption. This is about PEOPLE, and what can be done to put them back on their feet, with normal (as far as possible) lives and a secure (safe) future.

    An analogy and I’ll quit. A child is in an abusive home. She is sexually assaulted and injured by her step-father while her mother sits idlely by. Do we heal her physical injuries, send her home, and try to prevent a repeat by providing counselling for her and her parents, and even send a social worker by to check up once in awhile, or do we remove the girl from her home, heal her body, counsel her spirit, and provide as tender and loving foster care as we can? (And yes, I know the real world doesn’t function this way for abused children, but it’s only an analogy).

  286. GLK says:

    I know the media has said that New Orleans is “gone”, but this simply isn’t the case. Look at the NOAA satellite images from 2 days ago. If you aren’t from this city, you simply do not know what you are talking about. The media simply has not shown the areas that are fine. Why would they? When they say 80% of the city is under water, that doesn’t mean it is all under 10 ft of water. Some areas have no water, some a foot of water, some 2 ft of water, some 10 ft of water. Everyone should know that the media are hyperbolic idiots.

    The biggest threat to the city right now is fire. Fire would kill the city. Several fires are burning, and there is no capability to fight them. Per the Times-Picayune, the Forest Service has offered their firefighting helicopters, but Dept. of Homeland Security has turned them down. If the French Quarter, CBD, Lower Garden District, Upper GD, Irish Channel, Upper Audubon, Lower Audubon, Uptown Triangle, and Carrollton (all dry neighborhoods) burn to the ground, then there is no point. But right now, this is a specious argument.

    It’s amazing the paternalistic, factless things people come up with. Learn something about the people and place you are talking about other than what the talking heads told you. The people of New Orleans are nuts/strange? They aren’t playing bulldozer or social worker from hundreds of miles away.

  287. Hugh Manatee says:

    New Orleans should be rebuilt by employing the Mississippi to haul rock and fill from hill-country upriver so that it becomes, like the original French Quarter, all above water-level. One only need look at Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, which literally was transformed from “Back Bay” when filled during the ox-and-railroad Victorian age, to see that it is feasible, especially now with our advanced technological capabilty. New Orleans is a shipping port vital to national interest, and cannot be abandoned. But to rebuild in a bowl, forever at the mercy of fallible levees and pumps, is too precarious. Let’s not make the same costly mistake twice.

    Also — in a time of crisis, with emotions raw, it may be tempting to play the race card, throwing blame wherever it appears to stick, but ultimately self-righteousness solves no problems. Perhaps we need to learn from the gentle victims of the recent tsunami, and just cooperatively mend things, meanwhile praising God that we’re still alive to do it.

  288. evangeline says:

    well, let’s see-
    one extremely tacky city, with embarrasing drunks, cheesy beads, even cheasier Bourbon St, dirty and smelly; scary bayou rednecks abounding,
    33% poverty; large stinky, sweaty uneducated masses…

    just burn the remnants, cleanse the air off the miasma and bury it under water
    nobody will miss it, except for few corny tourists and they will even go to Vegas pretty soon

  289. Paul Poupart says:

    Okay, now the gloves are off. “Let’s make it just a port”? Okay bonehead, who is going to work there? You need people to work in a port don’t you? Are we supposed to drive in from Houston everyday to punch the clock?

    Tax dollars? Hmm let’s see. No one in this country knows where the fuck their tax dollars are going anyway. I payed part of that 87 billion to go to iraq. They didn’t ask my opinion. I do believe Florida has gotten the shit kicked out of it about 17 times in the last ten years from hurricanes. I didn’t see anyone complaining about paying for that. Is it because Florida is full of retired white guys that contribute their giant pensions to the Republican party?

    If Bumfuck Kansas was hit by the biggest tornado ever recorded and wiped off the face of the Earth, would we rebuild it? What significance does a town in Kansas have to the country? “Well, we had this really fancy BP station at the main junction in town. It had three flavors of Slush Puppies. We have to rebuild our productive town.” I guarantee it would be rebuilt.

    GLK had a valid point. I would think you people were crazy for living in a place that has Tornadoes in the plains. I wouldn’t move to California because of the Earthquakes and I sure as hell wouldn’t move to Minnesota to freeze my nuts off. Just think if in the dead of winter, the power grid goes down in Minneapolis. Thousands freeze to death. “Well those stupid honkeys deserve it because they live in the arctic.” This is dumb shit all around. At any time in any place a dissaster can happen. It could be your turn soon.

    Its easy to spew out your thoughts about someone else’s problems while you sit in your air conditioned home with a fridge full of food. Until it hurts you, you won’t get it.

    GLK , you have your shit together.

    Know it all: You speak of not living in History. We learn from our mistakes right. Well, if you saw the documentary about the twin towers on Nova, you would have learned that they were built “supposedly” to withstand the hit of an aircraft. Guess what? They did. But, what was overlooked was the extreme temperature of the fire, which intern, melted the bolts on the main I beams causing them to collapse on each other like a stack of pancakes. The towers fell because of an unseen situation.

    The same thing happened here. When the hurricane went through, the city was okay. Every building was standing. There was no flood water. The unforseen fact was that afterwards, one small portion of the levee became weakened by the pressure of the lake water. This caused the proverbial dam to break. The city engineers and contractors did their jobs. The buildings held. The levee was high enough. The water didn’t go over it, it went through it. It weakened just like the bolts on the towers. I don’t think anyone was bad mouthing the steel workers and contracters who built those. We pulled together and gave the richest city in the United States everything they needed. It wasn’t about money, it was about mankind.

    I’m going back next week to start rebuilding and cleaning up the only home I’ve ever known. Try to stop me.

  290. N. Kim says:

    Check out these transcripts of a 2002 feature broadcast:

    DANIEL ZWERDLING: And on top of those worries: scientists say that the threat to New Orleans keeps getting bigger.

    New Orleans has always had a huge natural shield that helps protect it from storms: there are miles and miles of wetlands, between the city and the Gulf of Mexico. When a hurricane blows over them, it loses some of its power. But as we reported a couple of weeks ago, this shield is breaking apart.

    And here’s the irony: the wetlands are disappearing because of the levees. The very levees that were supposed to protect New Orleans. They stopped the Mississippi River from flooding, but it turns out that they also triggered an environmental chain reaction, which is starving the wetlands to death.

    Scientists say if this shield keeps crumbling over the next few decades, then it won’t take a giant storm to cause a disaster. A much weaker, more common kind of hurricane could devastate New Orleans.

    DANIEL ZWERDLING: Remember the levees which the Army built, to hold smaller floods out of the bowl? Maestri says now those levees would doom the city. Because they’d trap the water in.

    OLIVER HOUCK, PROFESSOR, TULANE LAW SCHOOL: Every day the Mississippi River brings about a half million tons of silt. You can imagine what it would take in dump trucks to bring half a million tons of silt every day to south Louisiana.

    ZWERDLING: Oliver Houck runs the environment program at Tulane University Law School.

    OLIVER HOUCK:It would take 200,000 dump trucks, every day, on the roads, bringing that soil in. The Mississippi River built five million acres of south Louisiana. It built 20,000 square miles of south Louisiana. It built everything you see between Texas and Mississippi and inland about 50 miles. All of that’s care of and thanks to the Mississippi River.

    ZWERDLING: After the river built these wetlands, it sustained them for thousands of years — it stopped them from dropping into the sea. This whole region is actually sinking a tiny bit, constantly. All that rich, heavy soil keeps compacting under its own weight. But every few years, the river would flood and gush over its banks and all that goo would spread across the landscape and build the wetlands back up.

    Until the Europeans showed up.

    OLIVER HOUCK: The French came in about 1700. They find Louisiana in the fall, and they find it dry. And they find the site of New Orleans to be a good site to build and so they decide to build there. Of course the next spring it floods. So their answer to that is to build a little levee.


    OLIVER HOUCK: A little wall. And they built a little wall between their houses and the river. And that works for about a year, but then the river jumps the wall upstream and comes around behind the wall and hits the houses. So, they have to extend the wall upstream. And we’ve been extending that wall upstream for the next 300 years.

    ZWERDLING: The US Army took over the job in the late 1800s and every time they thought they’d conquered nature, the Mississippi River proved them wrong. So the Army’s Corps of Engineers built more walls, and they built them higher. It’s been one of the biggest engineering projects in history. Today, the Army manages more than two thousand miles of levees, and they’ve finally won the war — they’ve stopped the flooding in Louisiana.

    OLIVER HOUCK: And so the project was, from an engineering point of view, brilliant, brilliant. From an environmental standpoint, it was a disaster. And it was a disaster because all of that bed load, all of that material that had built south Louisiana for thousands of years, now was thrown away like a waste product into the deep Gulf. And Louisiana was poised like a patient in a hospital. It was put on a starvation diet. It wasn’t killed it was just made weak and susceptible to attack. And in about the 1930’s the attack came.

  291. Loraine ford says:

    New Orleans is a city that can never be replaced. I believe that it should not be rebulit and that a revolution among african americans is about to take place. People within Houston were scared that maybe these “refugees” would bring with them the chaos that was depicted on the news. This has not been so. Everyone that I have met were very nice and open to change. New Orleans is a place that was very rich in african american culture. Louisiana is the only state within the US that has its own language, which is unique within itself. It may be gone but never forgotten!!

  292. Bonnie says:

    GLK says “Some areas have no water, some a foot of water, some 2 ft of water, some 10 ft of water. Everyone should know that the media are hyperbolic idiots.”

    Are people in the media hyperbolic idiots? That would be a reasonable assertion.

    From what GLK says, it’s only a small portion of the city that has any real problem. I wonder why there are thousands of people desperately wanting to get out? Why don’t they just stroll over to one of the areas that only has a foot of water or so sitting in the street? Of course, people can live without electricity, but they need food and water. There should be plenty of stores (also only slightly flooded) where canned food, bottled water, sodas, beer, etc. are available. I can’t condone looting, but understand taking what is essential (food and liquid) for survival. Very high likelyhood I’d do it myself.

    Once the army and national guard stop the senseless evacuations, they can devote their time and energy delivering food and water to those in the only slightly damaged areas.

    Sit it out, wait for the streets to dry off, and go back to work. I imagine most places of employment were also only slightly flooded, or just the parking lots. The street sweepers can clean up the little bit of mud and things are back to normal.

    I can see where only a couple inches of water sitting on the floor for a few weeks and rotting out the very bottom isn’t a major problem. Everything else from the top of the baseboards up is fine. Minor repair.

    I don’t understand the problem with the fires. Surely fire trucks can navigate through a foot of water! Perhaps even two foot of water. And there certainly shouldn’t be a lack of water which can be pumped onto the fires, even with the water mains down. I assume of course that the fire stations also only have a foot or two of water in them. Not enough to damage the trucks.

    It is really crazy to evacuate a city that isn’t as bad off as we had thought. Thank you, GLK. I’m glad you have your s**t together and are think rationally.

  293. ajadudu says:

    This is in response to the imbecile that posted 1:25am sept 3rd called matt b.
    I dont know where u left ure brains but if u have a population in which aprox 70% are black then the majority of dead, stranded,knucklehead looters, brave cops, deserter cops will be BLACK!! AND quoting ure dumb ass”The vast majority of people moved into texas are black, not white”

    Of course they will be a majority, gosh!

    As Kanye West said “I hate the way they portray us in the media. You see a black family, it says, ‘They’re looting.’ You see a white family, it says, ‘They’re looking for food.”

    Yes I saw black people “looting” majority had diapers, candy bars, coke bottles and groceries, a few stupid teenage kids stole snickers and vcrs etc, AND a few of the cops that stood their guard (BLACK by the way) stopped them..

    Shoo matt b, go sit infront of ur big screen tv and be glad ure livelyhood has not been taken from your in a storm

  294. toppster says:

    This has been very interesting reading, should we rebuild…and then throwing race into the mix…nice. I have been to New Orleans many times and it is a great city. Great cities just happen, they’re usually not planned. For some reason, usually economic, people settle in an area and then others come and there you, are a great city. Even planned cities, Braslia excluded, started as trading posts and villages. New Orleans will be rebuilt, with or without Federal funds. People will return, business will return and the city will survive. It will happen at its own pace. Initially the population will be smaller but with time it will increase. It’s easy to say move the city, but it’s hard to tell people who have ties to a place that they should just move. Right now lots of people are crying and swearing they won’t be back but as time goes on some of them will return. Rarely have cities just been abandoned and never in America, it’s against our nature. Can’t make the land dry? We’ll prove you wrong and do it. We trust technology to solve our problems. Plus, the whole city isn’t underwater, the areas around the port are dry, most of the central business district looks dry, of course the French quarter, the West Bank looks dry and the smaller cities aroung New Orleans are dry.

    Now for those who call this “wrath of God”, I thought with the coming of Jesus, God went out of the punishment business, and who are you to presume to know what’s on God’s mind? Does God speak to you personally? Only God knows who will be in heaven with him and I would never presume to try to decide who God will let into His presence.


  295. Tirk Dogg says:

    To those who want to rebuild New Orleans, let them go ahead and build. But I’m not paying one cent for the construction, or for the funerals when the next hurricane floods the city once more.

    It was a huge mistake to build a large city in such an unstable area. The soil on which the Big Easy sits on is basically soft mud, and the bedrock is God knows how deep. And anything built there will simply sink until it reaches the bedrock. Also, the Mississippi River is just too powerful to be confined to a bunch of levees, which are also sinking.

    The Louisiana settlers should have learned from the local Native American tribes before slaughtering them. They were at least smart enough to live a semi-nomadic lifestyle, knowing how unpredictable the region is.

  296. Roger says:

    Of course New Orleans will be rebuilt – it is, after all, a state of mind as much as a city and for those who have experienced the architecture, the music, the food and the uniquely New Orleans concept of Lagniappe, no other option is available. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

    And besides, any other considerations would be political suicide and culturally irresponsible to a nation that cherishes its history. We have the technology to build levees that can survive Cat 5 storms and we can stop the wetlands erosion that is slowly eating up the buffer zones between the Crescent City and the Gulf, but until now, the crucial element missing from the formula for future sustainability of this great city has been the now obvious awareness at the top levels that New Orleans impacts the entire country. The largest volume port of entry in the US, the heart of the country’s Energy Coast, a major medical hub, home to some of our most prestigious Universities, antebellum homes, Audobon Zoo, and on and on and on…

    I would like to caution against wholesale demolition though. While health considerations, structural assessments, environmental clean up and basic services restoration will all take precedence over the weeks that follow the unwatering of New Orleans, I urge those in charge to resist the decision to simply bulldoze neighborhoods as a precursor to rebuilding the city. The historic status of the French Quarter and
    its overall minor flooding will no doubt save this area but other areas may not fare as well with the affects of long term flooding. But please consider a detail that is uniquely New Orleans:

    Having owned a construction company and lived in the French Quarter throughout the 1980s, I can say from first-hand experience that many of the historic homes of the Vieux Carré, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater, Ninth Ward, Sixth Ward, Garden District, Irish Channel and many of the other old districts are framed with some of the densest wood I’ve ever known – namely heartpine which is nearly impossible to drive a nail into and burns up the thickest carbide sawblades.

    It’s difficult to imagine that heartpine would be affected by long-duration emersion in water and I only hope that when the decisions are ultimately made whether to demolish existing homes or try to preserve some of the historic homes, this is factored into the equation.

    In fact, a few homes are not even framed but consist of barge boards disassembled from those original boats that floated the early residents down the Mississippi to New Orleans in the 1700s and early 1800s (walking down the dangerous Nachez Trace was the only other viable access to NOLA in the early days of the city). These boards were erected vertically, butted side-by-side, to form the walls and then dressed out with furring strips and lath & plaster interior walls and the exterior covered with shiplap siding on the street-facing wall and tapered cypress weatherboard siding on the remaining exterior walls. These barge boards are nearly indestructable, too. And we all know how water resistant cypress is.

    Please, please, when the time finally arrives, have the foresight to move forward responsibly with the reconstruction of New Orleans. Our country and our future generations of Americans should have an opportunity to know what it means…

  297. Matt B says:

    Sorry Ajadudu, but I remain. You are an idiot, the proof is in your post. Allow me to quote from it:

    Your position is wrong. NOONE was left to die. The massive, massive, massive rescue effort is quite evident of this. If only white people were getting off buses in texas, I’d agree with you.


    Earthquakes happen without warning, as did 911, and usually the majority of infrastructure remains in tact or at least passable. The NO people were well warned well in advance that it may be days for a resuce if they stupidly stay. But to answer your question, if an earthquake hit LA it may or may not be rebuilt depending on the amount of devestation and feasability of the project. But to infer it would or wouldn’t be rebuilt because of the percentage of blacks is quite ridiculous.


    It is YOU who have racially blind eyes. Neither blacks nor whites were left in the city. STUPID PEOPLE were left in the city because they didn’t take any reasonable action to heed the mandatory evac. They can be from India for all I care, if they didn’t leave the city with the advance warning, they are idiots. And idiocy knows no race. You, Ajadudu, are evidence of that, in fact, since I don’t know your race!

  298. Matt B says:

    Wow, quotes from other posts don’t transfer by cut and paste.

  299. Bill says:

    New Orleans should be rebuilt on solid ground and the wetlands should be allowed to resume their natural state. They already had a soul before the building started.

  300. GLK says:

    The point is that we have a tragedy here, in which 100,000 people may have completely lost their homes. Those people are, indeed, sitting in the dry spots and, not having homes, have no place to go. Of course, you aren’t seeing the other million people, holed up around the country with friends, relatives, etc., waiting to get back to their property. The reason that the 100,000 people have been/are being evacuated is because the systems infrastructure has failed – water pressure, land phone, cell phone, electricity, gas, roads. Not because there isn’t anywhere that is dry.

    The government/utilities cannot repair the infrastructure quickly enough to take care of these people.

    Fire is a problem, even in areas without water, because there are transportation corridors that are flooded with the 10 ft of water, probably more in the underpasses. Thus some neighborhoods may be cut off, turned into islands. Even if they get there, there is no water pressure. If there is water on the street, they cannot pump it effectively because it is full of leaves, limbs, mud, trash, etc.

    To those who denigrate the city, or think it is “disgusting” and deserves brimstone – do you know who the tacky stuff is there for? Tourists. If you come to New Orleans and never make it off of Bourbon St., I am sorry. But it isn’t locals buying all of those lewd T-shirts, showing off their naughty bits for beads and strewing trash in the French Quarter. Unfortunately, they sometimes tend to blame the city for their behavior when they wake up in the morning with the pink copy of a “Girls Gone Wild” release form. New Orleanians are the ones cleaning up after those people go home. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to turn them into pillars of salt on their way there.

    Hardly a worthwhile volley in a public works argument.

    RE: NOVA. The acute loss of wetlands has little to do with this process- the Mississippi would not be spewing along the entire LA coastline in the short term. Long-term, yes – the classic “garden hose” metaphor. Short-term, It has to do with the harvest of the entire vast cypress forest of southern LA to supply everyone with wood, the endless cutting of channels by the oil companies to supply everyone with oil, and rising sea levels.

    I would call establishing your city on the high ground that the Natives used as their primary portage route between Lake Ponchatrain and the Mississippi “learning from the Indians”. The main skirmish between French and Indians I know of in that era occurred upriver, at Natchez.

    The bottom line is that, whether it be due to sheer force of will, sentimentality, practicality, inherent worth, or political showmanship, New Orleans will persevere. Unless I am to understand that the conservatives here are advocating the forcible seizure of the private property of 1.3 million American citizens…?

  301. ajadudu says:

    Matt B believes stupid people are the old and helpless, the infant babies in incubators, the poor that can only afford public transportation (do you know there was NO public transport out of the city by the 28th?)….

    Me thinks a good indicator of a stupid person is an in’duh’viduals that can’s cut and paste…..

    “Wow, quotes from other posts don’t transfer by cut and paste.

    Matt B, a basic tutorial on cut and paste for ya, now shoo I need to interact with more intelligent people:

  302. reblev says:

    Sorry, again I compare NOLA & Miami:

    -lots of poor people, 70% minority (black or mixed race). At least they speak English, not much French or Creole any more
    -plenty of corruption
    -Hurricane-prone like all the Gulf Coast
    -hot, humid and mosquito-prone

    -lots of poor people, with some very rich people. the middle class has largely fled. A good percentage of what is left does not speak English at all or reluctantly speaks it as a second language when necessary
    -plenty of corruption
    -hurricane-prone like all Florida & the Carribean
    -hot, humid and mosquito-prone

    Ok, Miami is not built in a bowl, but is still a sitting duck for hurricanes, being square in the middle of the Caribbean and the path for hurricanes.
    Yes, Miami drains better than NOLA. BUT ALSO, FL building codes now mandate that all new construction on the beach be built on stilts and able to withstand strong winds of a hurricane (not sure what category). Since Andrew even the building codes of mobile homes became much stricter. All existing beach construction was grandfathered in, but if it got torn up, it had to be rebuilt according to the new codes. Plus sand dunes could not be torn up by construction since they help to protect the beach.

    I don’t see why NO couldn’t have a similar approach for new construction. Maybe not just houses on stilts, but other approaches as well. Since NO is not right on the beach, wind is not as much of a problem, but flooding is more the issue. Sorry I’m not a technical expert, but I have seen the new codes work for FL, and they could work in Louisiana.

    NO needs to be cleaned up, and not just the current mess, but all the corruption which has dragged it down for the past several years (it’s always been there to an extent). But those who advocate abandonment seem to have an axe to grind toward NO because of corruption, race, etc, as well as a totally tight-fisted attitude. Like I previously stated, one needs to apply this attitude across the board to be fair, not just to NO. Why not pick on Miami also, it’s quite deserving of your contempt and tight-fistedness. And there should be another hurricane coming up again soon, so maybe we can take the opportunity to just let this former Indian village just rot afterward.

    To the NO natives on this blog, y’all may just have to take your own money to rebuild your unique and fascinating city that can’t be duplicated. This may mean things may have to be done a little differently as far as building, or as far as corruption, etc. But you can do it, and show the naysayers that you dont’ need their damn money anyway.

  303. Mama in the Mountains says:

    From The San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Carroll:

    My friend Julie was one of the “lucky ones.” She and her husband got out of New Orleans on Sunday, spent nine hours on the road and found a warm welcome with friends living high and dry in northern Louisiana. Their home in New Orleans is on relatively high ground, and their apartment is on the third floor of their sturdy building. On Tuesday morning they got word that their cats had survived and were being cared for.

    They still do not know the fates of most of their friends. Land lines are overloaded, and cell phones don’t work if the local tower is down. Thus, someone with a 504 area code cannot call someone else with a 504 area code, although both, if they are out of the city, can call someone with the 415 area code.

    But probably their friends are the lucky ones too. They had flood insurance — which, surprisingly, you can buy in New Orleans — and they had the means to get out ahead of the storm. They have enough to eat; they have potable water; there is no civil unrest in whatever community has taken them in.

    Of course, the lucky ones still don’t have any idea when they can go home and what home will look like when they get there. They have no idea when power will be restored, when food will be available, when the water will drain off and the other water will be turned on. They do not know if and when water- borne plagues will hit the city, whether malaria and cholera will become epidemic.

    They don’t know whether they have a job anymore. They don’t know if they have a city anymore. Hurricane Katrina is sort of like a rolling Sept. 11, a disaster that keeps on killing. There’s no one to blame, no enemy to fight, no one with whom to sign a peace treaty, no one to surrender to. There’s another six weeks of hurricane season left; the whole damn thing could happen again. This is what the lucky ones are facing. The unlucky ones, those that are still alive, are in an unimaginable nightmare.

    In California terms, New Orleans was at the dead center of an 8.5 earthquake. It could have been a 9.5, but the storm center hit Biloxi and Gulfport in Mississippi, where there are also lucky ones wondering where their lives went.

    And the loss of New Orleans, for however long a period of time, diminishes the entire country. New Orleans is like San Francisco, a justifiably popular tourist attraction with a tolerant attitude toward pleasure and the ways in which people find it. It’s a sanctuary; it’s a refuge; in the great adult game of tag, New Orleans is a tree you can touch and call “safe.” And you’re not really safe, not forever, but you’ve bought yourself some time, because New Orleans is all about buying time.

    New Orleans was founded partly by smugglers; of course there are a lot of places to hide. Where will all the running men go now; where will all the reinvented women live? This is partly romantic piffle, of course, brought on by television images of the French Quarter invaded by rivers, but there is an element of truth to piffle. There is an element of truth to New Orleans, where truth is not a particularly valued commodity.

    New Orleans exists as an idea as well as a place, and the idea is unique. It’s Storyville and Tennessee Williams and Mardi Gras and the streetcars in the Garden District — those gardens will need replanting — and the birthplace of jazz and all the other cliches of New Orleans life. But the cliches are true, just as the cliches of San Francisco are true.

    New Orleans is defenseless now. Metaphorical levees have broken along with physical ones. It is being hit by looters, many of whom are dumb enough to do their work in front of television cameras. Soon the con men will arrive, promising instant home repairs or low-cost furniture or food supplies, all at a discount if only you’ll pay now. It will not be romantic or charming or decadent or languid; it will just be the same old nonsense, a kind of Wal-Mart of larceny and avarice.

    My friend Julie waits for news. She refuses to watch television, but then she does for a little bit, then she turns it off again. She eats meals she can’t taste, which is not normal behavior for a resident of New Orleans. At least the rain has stopped. For now.

    It’s hard to get a fix on the size of Katrina. Try this: Consider the California coastline from Bodega Bay on the north to Big Sur on the south. That’s how broad the hurricane was when it hit the Gulf Coast.
    Good morning America how are you? Don’t you know me I’m your native son; I’m the train they call

    PS: Where were all the city buses, the school buses, 18 wheeler or any wheeler trucks, carpoolers with extra room in their cars, trains, planes, ships etc etc. to get folks out of N. O. who had no cars or money or were too old to hitchhike, even if there had been a place near enough to also be out of the storm. And Bravo to the the young man who took it upon himself to drive that bus and pick up people along the way. He did not wait on anybody to tell him to do anything.

    Where was George Bush most of the week? The Vice President is still on vacation. Connie Rice is buying fancy shoes in the city. Nobody came. Who was waiting on whom to give the word? There had better be some life lessons learned here, or it will be a shame.

    Everybody who lives in a large or small city by a coastline, or lives on any kind of faultline, by any great body of water ( the Great Lakes), or any river, better be reviewing their plans. Anybody who has anything at all to happen in their city better have a plan. What would you do if nobody told you what to do? This situation in New Orleans has got to stand for something, some new effective way of living. It is not same old any longer. There has to be a way for a NEW New Orleans, as the old New Orleans is going to be re-invented. I am sure of it. Because I have yet to have my beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde. And I intend to.
    Love, Mom

  304. BH1971 says:

    Bottom line:
    1. the city is below sea level and will (despite upgraded levees) flood again if rebuilt – mother nature ALWAYS wins in the end
    2. New Orleans and Louisiana government is hopelessly inept and corrupt: this is not news – Louisiana government must ask the federal government for help before the feds move in – the local/state government reacted far too late in requesting local and federal support, thereby deserving all the political repurcussions coming their way
    3. the rest of the country will pay the price of this through our taxes – since I have already given generously to this cause and will pay for this involunarily as well, I have every right as a taxpayer to demand that any rebuilding take place ABOVE SEA LEVEL FAR FROM THE COAST!!!

  305. Humanist says:

    The reckless resistance to change and stubborn mindset of people who want to re-build NO are reminders that our current civilization is inching (or more perhaps more rapidly, “footing”) closer to its end. We are a nation, a world, of wasters and if we don’t change these present ways of thinking and sentimental value of the past then we won’t have a future. NO, pre-Katrina, was a truly unique place. It can never be what it was. Natives should know this more than anyone.

    The greatest respect you can show for NO’s history is to abandon any notion you can reasonably re-create it. It is just not economically feasible to re-build NO in any fashion that would resemble as we knew it. Our world is changing and we need to adapt. People ask what would we do if SF, LA, NY, Chicago or Miami were hit with such a catastrophe? That’s largely pointless and if anything takes away the uniqueness of each place and especially of NO’s. To the extent of similar damage and cost it would take to re-build, I am absolutely certain similar considerations would be taken when deciding if one of those cities should be re-built. The Chicago fire and California earthquakes were under completely uncomparable circumstances (again, primarily because NO is so unique) to what Katrina did to the “bowl.”

    Environmental forces, mother nature are not something we can control in the long run. That’s the type of arrogance that will lead to the destruction of this world. I honestly believe there will come a time when Florida’s coast will be battered so much, land will have eroded away, that the decision to abandon large parts of it will be the smart and only reasonable option. Try to imagine our country, or the world, in 2,000 to 3,000 or even 1,000 years from now. The physical shape of countries and land masses will have changed, some significantly. The US could very well be smaller. Maybe the west coast will have sunk into the sea by catastrophic earthquakes and 100’s of years of hurricanes will have physically morphed the southeast US into something we wouldn’t recognize today.

    Start thinking right now, TODAY, when we encounter these life and world changing moments. The destruction of the NO bowl is one. We have to give up on that part and use our resources for these people in a better way. I don’t have an answer for exactly how but it sure as hell isn’t putting them back in that hole.

    I’m also talking of larger societal changes. As a country we have to stop relying so much on oil for our existence. I know we are a car-defining, gas-guzzling society but that has to change more than anything. What’s feeding terrorism? The flow of money to terrorists starts when you’re at the gas station. Our country needs more cities where public transit as the sole means of transportation for a large majority of its population is feasible. (BTW, in the very far off future, this might happen in our “smaller” US.) Currently New York (maybe SF?) is the only one. Read that carefully, I said “large majority” – of course there are many places where “YOU” and a small portion of the population can live without cars but by and large practically everywhere else people say “you need a car.”

    So for now, while what happened in the last week can only be described as one of the greatest tragedies of mankind, we need to accept that which we can reasonably control and move on from there. I do hope and pray for a new NO, there has to be one, but not in that bowl. To quote the man whose blog we have chosen to passionately debate this topic I recycle, “Do Not Build That. Not There.”

    “There” in that quote is a “bowl” in NYC and four years later it’s still a bowl and much disagreement with what to do with it. Trying to re-build NO’s bowl or the equivalent versions that will eventually happen in other parts of the country, is just not possible for the future of our country.

  306. Malik_in_Atlanta says:

    Recognizing the unique historical importance of this event, and as someone with personal ties to this city, as a historian all week I have started doing research on this event for the historical record, especially the social aspects, at least partly as a means to try to deal with the grief and sorrow i feel.

    Researching blogs is part of this research process and is a good way to get an idea of what people are thinking and feeling. I realize that I live in the United States and so was expecting a good bit of Fox News-style right-wing ranting and covert racism (not to mention sexaphobic fundamentalism). I was also of course also expecting views on the other side of the fence too, as well as on all points of the spectrum in between. I have found all of the above.

    But what appalls me (and “appall” is a word I never use) is the KKK-style hard-core gutter racism so blatantly and shamelessly expressed by some.

    It’s not that I am not fully aware of such views and how widespread they are in the U.S. No, what I find truly appalling is that, rather than these comments being universally condemned by the other contributors, these comments are apparently calmly accepted by the other contributors as just more expressions of opinion and simply accepted as part of the legitimate exchange of ideas. I would think that any decent person would not wish to be part of a forum that allowed such filth to go unchallenged.

    This being the case I must ask, how can you expect people of color to have any respect for this country (which, amazingly, the vast majority still do)?

    Send us back where we came from? The person that said this acts as if Africans were invited over here. That person acts act as if was not members of his “racial” group that criminally kidnapped us and brought us against our wills under the most horrendous conditions, and all for his “racial” group’s own convenience.

    People dying with no help for days on end, and when people go to get needed survival supplies from wherever they can they are called criminals, rather than the big government and corporate leaders being called criminals for placing more importance on material property than on human lies. (And I am glad to acknowledge that some contributors did make this point.)

    And as for the foolish people who took things that weren’t necessary, well, considering that their ancestors were considered mere property for most of “American” history and not considered much more today, perhaps one should not be surprised if they do not much respect for the property of those they see as their exploiters.


  307. Malik_in_Atlanta says:

    Of course one might ask how I can contribute to such a forum after what I said above. Well perhaps it’s not strictly logical, but I do want to comment on the legitimate concerns that have been expressed about the feasibility of rebuilding the city. A part of me will die if New Orleans dies. I can barely stand the thought of it — it hurts so bad. It has been part of my life for most of my life, in one way or the other. Yet considering the physical realities it is a legitimate concern and am not at all sure what the best answer is.

    However the Netherlands is in a similar situation and since disastrous floods in the 1950s they made a conscious decision to have the best levee system possible — unencumbered by penny-ante budget short-changing as practiced in the US especially since the 1980s.

    But if all that survives survives is just a tourist theme park New Orleans will truly have died. Maybe Americans whose idea of a dream vacation is Disney World cannot appreciate this. But I hope against all hope that their may be a way to save the unique, predominantly African but multicultural, society that is the people of New Orleans. Wherever they may be geographically it is this unique culture that is worth saving.

    Whenever I am in New Orleans I feel like I am in some place other than the United States. It’s the people of New Orleans, the poor as much as, or more so, than the rich, that make this so. Oh my God, Oh my God, the thought of this beautiful, unique, imperfectly human (as we all are) people being dispersed to the 4 winds is almost too much to bear.

  308. Humanist says:

    Malik_in_Atlanta, do you hear what you’re saying?? (or “see what you’re writing” in this case.)

    “But I hope against all hope that their may be a way to save the unique, predominantly African but multicultural, society that is the people of New Orleans…It’s the people of New Orleans, the poor as much as, or more so, than the rich, that make this so.”

    Excuse me Malik, that’s a borderline racist view whether you know it or not. Do you think these poor Blacks ENJOY being poor to make New Orleans so “unique”? They weren’t there for your “amusement” or to make you feel “culturally diverse.” It’s a bit disgusting to suggest they made the city feel “cool” or “gritty” for you. We need to SAVE THEM by finding a way to let them lead better lives and I don’t think sticking them back on land under sea level is the way to do it. It’s time to re-build elsewhere. Preserve the land areas that are environmentally/economically feasible but I truly believe they will be better served starting lives on higher ground, in Louisiana or elsewhere.

    Now on the topic of commenters tolerating the insanely racist ones, maybe you need to learn a little more about blogs and trolls. Anonymous hate-spewing or otherwise deliberate attempts to make nasty comments (“trolling”) exist on a lot of blogs where sensitive or even frivolous matters are discussed. This is the nature of the beast and rule #1 is don’t feed the beast. Why would anyone even contemplate debating such comments that aren’t worth recognizing? There’s no point to that, it’s best to ignore them. Usually the blog’s author (in this case Jeff Jarvis) would delete the comments and maybe he’s planning to do so but the number of comments on this single blog post way above the norm and not exactly easy to monitor. Ignore ignore. It says nothing about the rest of us.

  309. Joe Mama says:

    Did anybody see the film of Jerry Curl juice floating in New Orleans?

  310. Big J says:

    What are we arguing about here? Saving a city just so poor blacks can go back and turn it into a cesspool again? what a waste of our money. I know that sounds callus but its the truth. these people meant nothing to us before katrina why should they mean something now? They where a strain on our society before and even more now, we would be putting billions of dollars into a group of people and a city that just dont matter in our socitey, a complete waste. They are getting sympathy and millions in dontations, for what? Now dont get me wrong, im no racist. Im a realist. If anyone says you gave a salt about these people before katrina you’re a liar. They dont deserve to have a new city built for them with our donations and tax dollars.

    If is rebuilt I say keep them out make make a clean place from the rubble of NO made of people that can support the economy and afford to live there, black, white or whomever. Im sick of this wishy washy liberal crap.

  311. Heidi says:

    New Orleans is a city thats architectually apart from the small French Quarter is no different than many other US cities,so from that point of view its really nothing unique.The New Orleans which many people come too visit dosent exist its just a”Myth” made too “suck in the tourists”.The real New Orleans which many think of was lost years ago,too shopping centre’s,modern office towers,massive crime,and street poverty which people from Europe and England find truely and utterly disgraceful.New Orleans however should be rebuilt ,but in a different location above sea level.If not it will be left to future generations to rebuild yet again as New Orleans in its present location will be eternally at the mercy of mother nature.

  312. Dave Parkes says:

    to all the nay sayers, all I can say is thank goodness none of you where around after the great fire of London or a large chunk of Englands history would have been abandoned, some may still say that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
    The point I’m trying to make is that it was rebuilt and lessons were learnt. And in the same way New Orleans should be rebuilt, but the lessons of Katrina must be learnt.
    There is no point building a city with measures to keep water out if those very measures work against you if the water gets in.
    To all those displaced by Katrina, mine and my families thoughts are with you, good luck and stay safe.

  313. magichands says:

    Look at all that is left in this city. Ports, super dome, churches, high rise buildings.
    These will can not be thrown away. Nor can the city be easily moved.
    In 1900 Galveston was hit with a Hurricane and they were faced with this same question.
    Their response was to build a sea wall and raise the whole island. They jacked up all of
    the houses and buildings. Then they pumped in a slurry of sand and water. As the water
    drained away the sand remained. No, this would not work as well in New Orleans
    because the water would not drain away. But it is an example of what can be done.
    Thinking along this same line you could raise some of the houses and require all new
    houses to be raised to a level above the lake. Even if the streets remained below sea
    level. They would act as a drain if the houses were higher.

    When there was flooding along the upper Mississippi FEMA required that they move
    their houses or raise them, above flood level.

  314. Heidi says:

    New Orleans is on the verge of extinction,anyone with Romantic Idea’s about rebuilding it just remember this.The gulf coast region has not even reached the peak of the Hurricane season yet,and all it would take would be one more Hurricane of mild strength to make “New Orleans know as abandonned”.It will take years to rebuilt New Orleans and in the meantime Hurricanes would have come and gone its just not going to happen,thats the reality.
    New Orleans has’nt been destroyed in a manner like Dresden or London were,(both cities destroyed by Englishmen),and both able to be rebuilt.”New Orleans been re-claimed by nature”,and i dont think nature is going to give up New Orleans.

  315. Malik_in_Atlanta says:

    Humanist, thank you for your reply. If I may, I’d like to respond to your 2 points in reverse order.

    Humanist, you wrote “Now on the topic of commenters tolerating the insanely racist ones, maybe you need to learn a little more about blogs and trolls. Anonymous hate-spewing or otherwise deliberate attempts to make nasty comments (”trolling”) exist on a lot of blogs where sensitive or even frivolous matters are discussed. This is the nature of the beast and rule #1 is don’t feed the beast. Why would anyone even contemplate debating such comments that aren’t worth recognizing? There’s no point to that, it’s best to ignore them. Usually the blog’s author (in this case Jeff Jarvis) would delete the comments and maybe he’s planning to do so but the number of comments on this single blog post way above the norm and not exactly easy to monitor. Ignore ignore. It says nothing about the rest of us”

    Thank you, Humanist. I stand corrected.

    I must admit that I was not even aware of the blog until last night.
    I communicate regularly with 4 or 5 message boards on various topics, from urban transportation to sexual issues to Asperger’s Syndrome to ethno-cultural issues. I am fully aware of trolls, flamers, etc. I continue to participate in the boards that I do because the members, although having a wide range of views, have a respect for each other that I guess is above average level of respect for each other. Things can get heated, especially on a couple of the boards, and the contributors know they can feel free to speak their minds. The moderators do weed out the flamers and (most of) the trolls. It is easier for this to be done on those boards because they do not have the large readership this blog obviously has (and, unlike many blogs, people must register in order to be able to post replies). And it is obvious that this thread has understandably attracted a huge number of replies which had to be hard on the moderator. So again, Humanist, your point is well-taken and I am more than happy to stand corrected.

    Now for your first point.

    You wrote “Malik_in_Atlanta, do you hear what you’re saying?? (or “see what you’re writing” in this case.)
    ‘But I hope against all hope that their may be a way to save the unique, predominantly African but multicultural, society that is the people of New Orleans…It’s the people of New Orleans, the poor as much as, or more so, than the rich, that make this so.'”

    Excuse me Malik, that’s a borderline racist view whether you know it or not. Do you think these poor Blacks ENJOY being poor to make New Orleans so “unique”? They weren’t there for your “amusement” or to make you feel “culturally diverse.” It’s a bit disgusting to suggest they made the city feel “cool” or “gritty” for you.

    “We need to SAVE THEM by finding a way to let them lead better lives and I don’t think sticking them back on land under sea level is the way to do it. It’s time to re-build elsewhere. Preserve the land areas that are environmentally/economically feasible but I truly believe they will be better served starting lives on higher ground, in Louisiana or elsewhere. “

    You miss the point I was trying to make, but that is probably my fault for not expressing my point more clearly. It is a fairly nuanced point I was trying to make and perhaps the clearness of my expression was blurred by the personal emotions I have been living with the last week (plus lack of sleep). Additionally I was influenced in what I wrote by specific previous comments which I was trying to take into account as I made my reply. Obviously I kind of botched that.

    (Please let me note that the point of my earlier posts was not to express a specific opinion as to how this issue of rebuilding should be dealt with or even whether the attempt should even be made. I know what my heart would tell me, but my head tells me there are serious practicalities. It is too soon to make a final judgement anyway; there are obviously too many way more pressing issues to deal with right now. I did throw in the comment about the Netherlands because I had happened to read a letter in the NY Times yesterday morning from a Dutch person and it had piqued my interest and put in me a spark of hope that there might actual be a realistic solution. But again, all that comes later.)

    I know from firsthand experience that Black people in New Orleans do not enjoy being poor. Indeed the events of this past week should make that clear to anyone who might have thought otherwise. If I want to, I can find plenty of poverty and “grittiness” in Atlanta, where I have lived much of my adult life, and in New York City, which I call home, as well as in Miami, a city in which I find myself fairly often.

    I am blessed now with a decent job and a fairly comfortable lifestyle, but I have lived in poverty in my life and in what I suppose some might call “gritty” circumstances, and such conditions do not form an exotic fascination for me, believe me.

    It is not the higher level of poverty that makes the culture of New Orleans unique (And I am using culture in its broadest social sense, not the artistic sense — although artistic expression is one manifestation of the culture and lifestyle of New Orleans people). Not all native New Orleanians are poor. The uniqueness of the society New Orleanians have made for themselves came from all economic and social classes in the city. (Although perhaps one could say that some elements of *how* those New Orleanians who *are* poor deal with poverty could be unique to New Orleans.)

    Neither does the uniqueness of New Orleans lie in its violence (that is a very typically American thing after all.) It is true that there is a particularly deep strain of violence that runs through New Orleans society, and has from its earliest days. In modern times it has been aided and abetted by the New Orleans Police Dept., perhaps the most corrupt and criminally violent police force in the United States (let me hasten to add that this does not apply to every individual NOPD officer). The NOPD is the only police force I ever heard of in which a sizeable group of officers formed, as an off-duty enterprise, a murder-for-hire operation.

    In speaking of culture, I specifically emphasized the predominance of persons of African ancestry partly because some contributors seemed to think that being predominantly Black was part of New Orleans problem. No, being predominantly poor is a part of New Orleans problem. But being predominantly of African heritage is the starting point for New Orleans unique culture. And not all persons of African ancestry in New Orleans are poor. If that African-ness were diminished New Orleans culture would not be what it is. (For those misguided souls who would belittle African culture, all I will say that it has older and deeper roots than European culture, and the fact that much of it has managed to survive the American experience is a tribute to its strength.)

    But African culture, while the most important single element of New Orleans culture, is certainly not the only element. After all, there are other predominantly Black cities. The uniqueness of New Orleans culture comes as well because of the rich mix of all the other cultures that are essential elements, and people of all economic classes are esential contributors to this (a point which Big J in his/her above post fails to realize).

    The essential uniqueness of New Orleans that results is a way of life markedly different from the northern European-based business-trumps-all so-called “protestant work ethic” that is usual in American society. It is a more Latin, southern European attitude, a blessedly non-Puritanical attitude, that realizes that one should work in order to live, not live in order to work. This is the kind of unique culture that is so rare in the US and which I believe the US I think should from. The loss of that is what would irreparable, not the frills and the tourist attractions.

    This then goes into the issue of whether market forces should always be the ultimate determinant in public affairs. I strongly believe this is wrong (I’m not saying that market forces don’t have their valid place however). But anyway the post is long enough without getting further into that now.

    I feel that I still am not adequately expressing what I am trying to say, but I realize that this response is already incredibly long by blog standards and so will submit it as is. Thank you for your response, which shows me that I was wrong in what I originally thought about the tone of contributions to this blog


  316. Malik_in_Atlanta says:

    Heidi, in your last post you said “New Orleans has’nt been destroyed in a manner like Dresden or London were,(both cities destroyed by Englishmen),and both able to be rebuilt.”New Orleans been re-claimed by nature”,and i dont think nature is going to give up New Orleans.”

    Although, it is too early to even think about such things, you raise an issue worth considering. Although maybe, just maybe, the Dutch solution I referred to previously might work. But again, all that has to wait.

    However, I must strongly disagree with your previous post in which you wrote “New Orleans is a city thats architectually apart from the small French Quarter is no different than many other US cities,so from that point of view its really nothing unique.The New Orleans which many people come too visit dosent exist its just a”Myth” made to “suck in the tourists”.”

    Much of the city (not the suburbs) outside the French Quarter is indeed unique, and not just architecturally but in the spirit and way of life of its people. I myself spend rather little time when I am in the French Quarter, but unique spirit that the tourists enjoy is only made possible by the neighborhoods on which the Quarter feeds, a unique spirit that was there before the tourists.

  317. reblev says:

    Hi Malik, you obviously are an educated and thoughtful person, and your contributions are welcome. Don’t worry about the Neanderthals on this blog that use the “N” word, etc. And this is not advocating “liberal crap”, this is just being decent. And there are many people here who are decent, so hang in there.

    You have described NO culture very well, and your third to the last paragraph pretty much sums it up. I am not from Louisiana, but know several from there and have read about their history. It’s an interesting cultural and racial mix, that is not found elsewhere in the US. The US would be much poorer without a city that epitomizes this culture; money is not always the measure of everything.

    That being said, however, money is an unfortunate thing that many of us are forced to grapple with. And Nature being what it is, we do need to make plans to work with it better than we have been doing the last century or so. Humanist mentions oil as being a major dependency of ours, that the Europeans have realized. In Europe, wind and solar energy is much more utilized than in the US, and we desperately need to catch up with their level of wisdom in this matter. That whole issue is a separate issue from the subject of this blog, but it still bears on it.

    I for one, would also greatly miss NO, and no, its culture is not dead. But we need to rebuild in a wiser way, and get rid of the corruption. Police for hire for murder? That gives me the willies. Wonder of Miami police ever got into that, with all the drug runners there? (excuse me, I love to pick on Miami). The levy system needs to be rethought, since it’s a part of the problem. The Dutch system sounds interesting, but do they have anything like hurricanes to deal with?

  318. Sheri says:

    Should We Rebuild New Orleans?

    I usually don’t post on blogs but this one got to me. Yes, we are still collecting the dead but this is an obvious question to ask. The whole country was devastated watching the scenes of Mothers and their children sitting around dying, waiting for help to arrive. I was sickened to see the National Guard full in force to protect the precious French Quarter from “looting” which was in the most part just people trying to find what they could to save the lives of their families! Those buildings are just buildings! Save the people! So now that we’ve rescued the precious old buildings, letting countless poor souls die in the process, let’s get them back to dancing for my dollar! Now I can take my vacation to New Orleans! Woop Eee! (if I stay safely in the tourist district and don’t wander too far into the slums that is!)) My question is this: Should we submit future generations to the very likely possibility of witnessing this tragedy unfold? Should we subject future generations of the people of New Orleans to tradgedy unspeakable time and time again? Why would we do this? Are we being honest with ourselves on this one? I heard families at the Astro Dome in Houston say that they planned on staying in Houston and they never wanted to see New Orleans again! Mostly poor African American families but also the white, but less affluent like myself. My question is this: Do the wealthy, predominantly white populations really want to take these people in permanantly or do they want to rebuild New Orleans simply to get these people and the poverty that they will most assuredly bring to their “fine” cities the heck out of their cities? I am a resident of California and I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a time and I was surprised to witness racism for the first time in my life! They warned me not to go to the North side of Tulsa. I asked why and I was sickened to hear them say that it was the black side of town! The black side of town? What the heck is that? If something happened to North Tulsa and every resident had to move in next door to you, and your wealthy citizens with their manacured lawns would have to live side by side with the people living in poverty, what would they do? When I went through Atlanta Georgia on a lay over flight home from New York, the black citizens would not even look me in the eye! I was shocked to find that rascism does still exsist and is waiting to explode yet again into riots and uprisings. This is the cold hard facts of America. Like it or not, and this tragedy has brought it into the light. So, I ask the question again with this said. Should we rebuild New Orleans? Should we round up all of the people who fled the doomed city and put them back into harms way once again; and then proceed to allow their Children and their Grandchildren to suffer the same plight of poverty and ultimately, the despair of future generations as they flee, once again, from a city that sits miles under the sea? Miles under the sea! Do you think we would do that if they were rich and affluent, or do you think we would try and rise the land to above sea level and restore the city properly and with common sense? No! That would be too much money and resources spent for a bunch of poor people! Let’s just pour them all back into the bowl and watch them drown again! I am afraid for their future and their children’s futures and you say that I am the one who doesn’t care for New Orleans? The City of New Orleans is just a flood plain. A flood plain! It is the people of New Orleans that have the soul. Are you afraid to let some of that soul into your neighborhoods? I would want us to rebuild New Orleans if we could rethink the whole city plan and rebuild the land to above sea level and then, when it has been made safe for human life, then let those who want to return, do so. Otherwise, let the proud people, along with their soul, live among us in the land of the living, above the sea, in safety and in dignity.


  319. Heri says:

    I say that after all the refugees board those 3 Carnival cruise ships they undock and float straight to Africa. Then nobody will have to worry about rebuilding New Orleans.

  320. Meredith says:

    I’ve heard many people say that if they were in New Orleans and were told they should evacuate they would “walk to the superdome”, its important in my opinion to remember that many of the people in New Orleans are not as fortunate as everyone else in the country. Many people do not have the credit cards in their pockets and the family in other areas and the means of transportation to leave. Also many people are stubborn, and don’t want to leave. I think it would be hard to be told to leave maybe the only home you have ever known, it could all be destroyed. Some people don’t want to leave and thats something that will occur every time a disaster like this occurs. I think its horrible that natural disasters like this occur, but rebuiding the city of N.O in my opinion is foolish, the damage could easily occur again, it’s September now, and that means its only the beginning of the middle of the hurricane season. Until there are plans for building to take place that could survive a type 5 hurricane i think N.O shall not even be considered a construction site

  321. glk says:

    Fortunately, none of you all get to decide this. I can’t seem to get it into anyone’s head that there are large sections of this city that are fine. Aaron Broussard, Pres. of Jefferson Parish (containing the primary suburbs of N.O.) is letting people with a Jeff Parish address on their ID back in tomorrow to check on their houses. Jeff Parish, home to 500,000 people did not sustain significant flood damage. Multiple – decidedly unique – historic neighborhoods, walkable communities with beautiful parks, a world-class zoo, univerisities, and an absolutely stunning stock of historic architecture are either dry, or have minimal flooding.

    Hundreds of thousands of people will be back in the city before you know it. They aren’t moving anywhere unless you force them at gunpoint.

    I’ll call this a “straw city” argument.

    New Orleans will rebuild, for a host of reasons. New Orleanians will continue to welcome visitors. The National Review, of all places, is suggesting that the GOP hold their ’08 convention there.

    If you eventually visit, and I urge you to do so, try to meet some real people in the city, outside of the people working in the hotels and restaurants, catering to your needs. Listen to them as they tell you why they would preserve this city.

    Maybe then you’ll appreciate a generosity of spirit, a deep soul in the people.
    And you’ll appreciate that there are people like that in the world when a disaster befalls your city – be it ice, mudslides, earthquakes, brushfires, terrorist attack, nuclear meltdown, chemical explosion, or volcanic eruption. And you’ll hope that such people wouldn’t dismiss the inherent worth of your city and your lives within that city based upon half-truths, callousness, or the nanny culture, as thousands of your neighbors lay dead, drowned, and bloated.

  322. Farmer Brown says:

    I’d like to address the risk issue. Yes, practically every city is at some kind of risk. Buffalo from blizzards. SF and LA from earthquakes. Charleston from hurricanes and quakes. Oklahoma City from tornadoes. The list goes on and on and on.

    We have to live with some risk. Otherwise, we wouldn’t build ANYWHERE. The real issue is HOW MUCH RISK and HOW MUCH ACCEPTABLE RISK.

    Even before Katrina, New Orleans was always on the short list, along with SF, as the most disaster-prone cities. People keep saying: We rebuilt Chicago after the fire. That is apples and oranges. Every city pre-1910s had huge fire hazards. Geographically, Chicago was no more or no less vulnerable to urban fire.


    So what do we do? Abandon it completely? That probably won’t work. We need the port.

    I don’t know the geography/settlement issue there at all. Is it possible to rebuild the port/French Quarter area as a small place and move the bulk of the city to higher ground to the west?

    But I think to rebuild right where it is with a single-levee system for protection is madness, no matter how much people loved the city. I’ve been there. I know how culturally signficant it is. I KNOW why people loved it. But is that love worth the risk to the people, and really, to us all?

  323. Farmer Brown says:

    As for the racists in here, this white man won’t be silent. How I wish I had a Star-Trek style transporter where I could beam each of you haters into the NOLA muck and beam out these black people of whom you speak so callously.

    What monsterous things to say. There is true evil in hearts of a few.

  324. Lafayette says:

    Why would you rebuld a corrupt welfare city?

  325. Andrew Brown says:

    If you want to invest in failure go ahead. It would cost half to build elsewhere. Get rid of the crooks forever, build on solid ground. Anything short of that invites failure. Just watch the cable news. Look at the footage of the flyovers. It is swampland. Let the shrimpboats take over. Give it back to nature.

  326. S Cox says:

    I think New Orleans was a cess pool BEFORE the hurricane…the water/flooding just make it more obvious. I’m sorry for the human suffering, but how long do American taxpayers have to pay for stupid people’s stupidity?

    There is an article written in JULY 2000 in Time magazine (see that perfectly describes 5 YEARS IN ADVANCE what we are seeing in New Orleans today. You would think the article was written this week.

    Everyone knew this was coming. But the “welfare mentatility” of “I’m gonna wait for someone else to take care of me and then blame it on the white people” is beyond getting on my nerves. Their black mayor begged them for three days to get out of the city.

    Why should we rebuild a city that breeds people who SHOOT AT RESCUE WORKERS AND HIJACK RESCUE TRUCKS WITH SUPPLIES TO HELP PEOPLE? I’ve never heard of such a thing and don’t want to spend one cent perpetuating that kind of element in our country.

    I think we SHOULD help the people who have been effected–the stronger should always help the weaker–but I don’t want to rebuild a city built in the worst (and stupidest) location in America.

  327. G. dDvies says:

    Give the city back to the French, during the Louisiana purchase they sold us a lemon city, typical French people, always throwing punches at us Americans. Rename the city to a typical American name, not some generic city from France.

  328. j vitale says:

    I agree with the last statement, lets get rid of everything French. Freedom fries, not French fries…………………………………….

    N.O. i’m afraid is one big swamp, time to move on.

    Jon P. Vitale

  329. Farmer Brown says:

    I just read the analysis above of

    Bonnie Says:
    September 3rd, 2005 at 5:12 pm

    That is simply brilliant. That the compassionate, logical blueprint for how this problem should be approached. Bonnie, I want you for president.

  330. frank says:

    there’s always at least a drop of truth in a stereotype

    the black looters in new orleans demonstrate that, with some exceptions, there are some really serious character flaws in the black personality

    you just don’t have white people doing that stuff in similar situations

    this incident has done more to hurt blacks in america than the oj trial

  331. Farmer Brown says:

    To Frank:

    We don’t know what a large group of mostly white people would do in similar circumstances. They’ve never been in them in this country.

    I don’t know who frustrates me more: The black people who cry racism and refuse to admit that a small group of blacks did indeed make a horrible situation worse with their criminal acts or you racists who act like the majority of black people acted that way – WHICH THEY DIDN’T. I saw white people who were saved by black people and said so for all the world to see. That doesn’t fit in with your world view, so you just ignore it, dismiss it or say it’s a lie, just as black apologists refuse to accept that a single black person did anything wrong.

    Suffice to say both groups make me ill. A pox on both your houses.

  332. Farmer Brown says:

    There are MANY MANY MORE black people who acted honorably than criminally. If you insist on painting with a broad brush, that’s the one you have to paint with. To do anything less makes you a nothing less than a racist. A sickening racist. There’s just no place left for racists in our society anymore. It’s a cancer every bit as bad as criminal activity.

    I saw many more scenes of heroic, placid or distressed black people than I did of violent ones. Unfortunately, it only takes a few criminals to wreak total havoc. They no more represent blacks than you racists represent me. By the way, I am white man, upper middle class, born and raised in the South.

  333. John the Baptist says:

    Outside of tourism, New Orleans has no economic value. If New Orleans is rebuilt, nobody is going to insure any property including any worthwhile commercial property against flooding. Why should companies (the job creators) move back in given the lack of insurance and economic vitality?

    Drain the city, let property owners go back in and collect their stuff (this may take many years), and then flood the city for good so nobody tries to live in it. Then create the largest public works project ever to rebuild “New New Orleans” somewhere nearby above sea level. NNOLA will ignite the economic vitality needed in the area.

  334. Snake Plissken says:

    I’ll be ready when the criminals in New Orleans capture Bush.

  335. Dragon says:

    I find it hard to believe some of the comments posted here. Put everything on stilts? Make the seawall higher, next time? Rebuild just because we can?

    Not when it is my money rebuilding it. New Orlean citizens don’t have a say in all this, as far as I’m concerned. Sure there’ll be a port, but that doesnt mean throwing the dice on a new plan that may or may not work. People and businesses should not be allowed to rebuild anywhere less than some sane number of feet above sea level.

    When learned that homes built adjacent to the Mississippi River are rebuilt everytime they are flooded with our money, I said, “Enough!” Unfortunately, nobody listened to lil ole me.

    Hopefully there’ll be more likeminded people who say, “Enough” when it comes to New Orleans.

    I’d like to thank the creator of this Blog so I can vent my opinion.

  336. Andy in NC says:

    I am inclined to think that New Orleans ought not be rebuilt.

  337. dude love says:

    New Orleans should stay the way it is. We saw first hand exactally what kind of ‘people’ they are, the very first thought in their minds wasnt ‘lets get out of here’ or ‘lets help each other out as a group so we can survive’ no no no,, Oh hell no! their first thoughts were ‘lets steal guns and kill people, and rape children and threaten people for the hell of it’ like they said to some people ‘when the buses arrive to collect the elderly, we will kill you’ and ‘if you go before us, we will kill you’ and they force a gun into someones mouth and cock the hammer.

    New Orleans can Rot in hell for all I care. they are WORSE than 3rd world countries….at least they help eachother out instead of steal guns and rape and kill people (even the help that arrives to get them to safety. yes, they kill them too) so New Orleans can go fuck itself.

    I sound very cold yes? but I have a right to… way can they expecy any sympathy from me with their attitudes of ‘I will now kill people because I just can’

    those fucking pratts! they have doomed the innocents to death since its impossible to rescue anyone since they gun them down.

    Rot in hell New Orleans!!! ROT IN HELL!!!

  338. marcos says:

    i think new orleans should be rebuilt…………it is an american symbol and we just cant close our minds for some mindless idiots that do bad in the city and give it a bad name…………not everyone there is bad………and some of them didnt have a choice of evacuation thanks to the government…….where are they supposed to sleep huh in farms

  339. C.Ray.Davis says:

    To several who comment on rebuilding Iraq. Unfortunately we are the ones that broke Iraq, which is why we are paying to rebuild it. I wont comment on whether we should have gone in there or not, which is mute point now. But we did, and we destroyed that infrastructure, without much planning on what to do afterwards. I dont think we can justify paying to rebuild NO based on the fact that we are rebuilding Iraq.

    In regards to LA, San Francisco and other urban centers prone to disasters….there were historical reasons why these areas became populated but WE DONT HAVE TO CONTINUE the trend!!!! YES stop developing these areas too!!!! There are plenty of safer places to house millions of people. And if LA gets totally destroyed next year, I would say DONT REBUILD it there. We are being of free will, We should learn from our mistakes and not repeat history….

    in sum: preserve what we can of the Historical sections of NO, make it part of the National Park system, and let nature have the rest. There is plenty of higher ground to build upon!!!!

  340. cam bell says:

    (Read the fine print folks. More than likely all of the flooded land is about to be a superfund site.) Here is a good conspiracy theory. Letting the lake levee’s settle was the ultimate urban renewal plan. Flooded NO is poisoned and and will never be what it was. Only the wealthy will be able to purchase what inhabitable land is left. All of the poor and most of the violent criminals will be displaced. High Rise Hotels and theme parks will be built on carefully “reclaimed” land. In 25 years NO will be the richest city on earth.

  341. New Orleans will be rebuilt. The only question is, “Where?”

    Unfortunately, at the moment, the old New Orleans is flooded and toxic. Cleaning it out will take a lot of money and a long time. Why wait?

    Only the port facilities might need to be exactly where they are. Everything else can be reconstructed on higher ground, and we can start immediately… putting people to work and finishing homes & businesses that much sooner. Imagine a reconstructed French Quarter opening for Mardi Gras 2006…

    Full article here:

  342. Steven Hotze, MD says:

    The racist diatribes that have spewed from so called black leaders has been shocking. The “Reverend” Al Sharpton blamed the flood in New Orleans on President Bush for failing to allocate enough money to ensure that the levies around New Orleans were hurricane proof.

    The “Reverend” Jesse Jackson further incited black racism by claiming in a television interview that if New Orleans were primarily inhabited by whites, then the citizenry would have received the necessary food, water and other essentials promptly and would have been evacuated expeditiously. He articulated the position that because the city is primarily black the white politicians had no sense of urgency to deal with the problem. Is it fair to view Jackson as a rabble rouser, pandering to the worst instincts of uneducated people so that he can maintain the racial divide that he claims to despise, thus keeping himself in the limelight? Why didn’t Jackson go to New Orleans this past week in order to provide moral leadership and encouragement in a time of crisis for the people for whom he claims to speak? How could he find time to travel to Venezuela the previous week to bolster its pro-communist, Fidel Castro protégé President Chavez, but not have time to rush to New Orleans this past week? Do you think that he would have been kept out by the authorities? Do think that you will be seeing the “Reverend” Jackson in New Orleans in the future railing against President Bush and the Republicans?

    Then there was former New Orleans mayor, Marc Morial, who appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 4, 2005, and who vehemently condemned the handling of the disaster by the Federal Government, also claiming that the response would have been different had this disaster happened in New York, Washington, DC, or Los Angeles. Why didn’t Morial thank the Coast Guard for the job it did in rescuing over 10,000 New Orleans inhabitants who were stranded by flood waters?

    Tim Russert was in his attack mode, playing Monday morning quarterback and chastising Homeland Security Chief Chernow for his poor leadership in this situation.

    Churches and charitable organizations across the country have organized relief efforts and are helping to feed and support the evacuees from the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Greta von Sustern has reported how Houston has opened its Astrodome for nearly 25,000, providing them with sustenance, clothing and care. Where is the thanks from Sharpton, Jackson and Morial? Don’t they know that succor and aid is more freely given to those who express gratefulness and appreciation? This is People Skills 101.

    What occurred in New Orleans was a natural disaster of enormous proportions. The main artery to the city, I-10, was destroyed in both directions. The city was flooded and without electricity and effective communications. It is amazing to me that tens of thousands have been rescued and provided for in such a short period. Considering the magnitude of the catastrophe, the response has been remarkable.

    Doesn’t the responsibility for each major city lie primarily with its mayor and city councilmen? Shouldn’t the elected leaders have stored the necessary food rations and water, long ago, in preparations for such a disaster as this one? Shouldn’t the leaders of New Orleans be the ones held responsible for not preparing to properly evacuate the city? Why would they expect the federal government to usurp their responsibility? Don’t guilty parties tend to blame others for their negligence? Had this disaster occurred in most other countries in the world then there would have been little hope for survival.

    Indeed, the poor and uneducated did not have the wherewithal to evacuate New Orleans when they were warned of the impending hurricane. The city government had no plans for evacuation. It was their responsibility. New Orleans has a large, poor underclass. It has been this way for decades. Why haven’t these peoples lives improved? A large proportion of New Orleans residents live in government housing, on welfare and food stamps. Have the policies of the liberals kept them in this situation? Have these government programs robbed these people of their initiative? Have the government schools educated the majority of them so that they could become become gainfully employed and earn enough money to buy a car so that they could escape the city in time of danger? Who is responsible for the failure of the poor in New Orleans? Don’t blacks hold most positions of leadership in New Orleans?

    It has been repeated over and over, New Orleans sits 12 feet below sea level with levies protecting it from Lake Ponchatrain and from the Mississippi River. It has always been a disaster waiting to happen. To rebuild it will once again will place the lives of its inhabitants in harms way. Do you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that it is unwise to build in a flood plain, 12 feet below sea level, on the Gulf coast?

    Rather than spending billions to rebuild New Orleans, why don’t we develop innovative ways to educate and train the impoverished evacuees from New Orleans, giving them hope, self esteem and self reliance? If it works, then we could implement this nation wide. In whose interest is it to keep these people poor and uneducated? In whose interest is it to enable these people to become educated, trained and successful?

    Do you believe that in every adversity there is a seed of benefit of equal or greater value?

    The loss of life and property in New Orleans is tragic, but if we keep giving these poor evacuees what we have been giving them, then wouldn’t that be even more tragic. Let’s focus on the positive and view this as a great opportunity. Let’s make sure that we take full advantage of it.

  343. Omar C. says:

    I honestly think we should preserve the tourist attractions and the places that make New Orleans the city it was. New Oreans should be rebuilt, but on the other side of the Mississippi River and let the Pontchatrain wash the memories of the lost souls away.

  344. Big J says:

    Drive down all the criminal tax stealers to mexico and leave them there, Im tired of supporting whole races of people with my hard earned tax dollars, and Im not to keen on the idea of the government useing my taxes to rebuild NO so they can go back to living like animals.. If it is to be rebuilt, rebuild a clean place for people to live that can afford it. Black white or whomever..

  345. At what point does a city become unlivable after a disaster like this?

  346. rudedogg says:

    I think the government has made up its mind already. New Orleans has too much U.S.history and port importance(location) to the much vital oil industry(check the gas prices lately). but I think the new coastline should start around the downtown area then up. the lower half of city unfortunately. I think itll be suicide to try and rebuilt the lower half, I think it too overtaken with water, and may permanently be part of the Gulf(thats* nature). on a personal note, it really hurt, man to see all those people suffer for 3, 4, 5, or 6 days in high water and it wasnt even their fault. anyway, we, you, and especially Bush owe it to the people of N.O. to rebuild their city and give it back! and who’re you(Big J- guy who posted up from me)calling a race of animals, you son of a bitch. true, the city was on the poor side, but it had it well- to -do population too. lets see how you act when a 100 ft Typhoon hit your hometown and youre stuck with no power, water, or food. for 5 days! and if, just if you survive it, the gov’t next, send your lilly white ass off to Mexico.

  347. Jim says:

    Re-Building New Orleans

    I estimate the re-building price tag for 500,000 structures to be 50-100 billion dollars. I’ve heard that the re-building the levee, proposed for years but not implemented, would cost about 15 billion. Naturally, it would have been smarter to re-build the levee BEFORE the hurricane.

    However, now that the disaster has occured, and the buildings are mostly destroyed, why not re-level the city – that is, demolish all structures, remove/burn the non-cementitious debris and then add fill dirt to add 20 ft elevation everywhere? Look at Hong Kong that built an entire island for an airport. With today’s technology it can be done. Furthermore, from what I understand you cannot receive FEMA money for re-building if you don’t bring the structure to above flood level. This can be done by stilt construction or fill dirt. Leaving the decision to every individual will not work. Government mandate (eminent domain??) must be exercised.

    I estimate the required 250-500 million cubic yards of fill required to cost about 5 billion. It’ll also cost another 5 billion to level existing structure, burn the combustibles and remove the steel and trash before the dirt can be brought in. Even if there’s another 5 billion needed in miscellaneous expenses associated with this paradigm-breaking suggestion, it still only amounts to the cost of the levee re-building. As far as property lines go, naturally a small army of surveyors will be needed after the re-leveling. But with GPS, etc. this is a no-brainer – just requires bodies to do it.

    So, in the case of re-leveling the city, however, you now have a city that is 10ft above sea level, not below. Also, if the 500 million yards of dirt could be taken from a nearby location upstream on the Mississippi River, and can be used via flood gates as an overflow capacitor for periodic (seasonal) upstream flooding thereby creating a second use from the movement of the fill dirt. I’d add another billion dollars for making the dig pit into an overflow structure rather than it merely being a hole in the ground.

    Another idea I had, but not explored, is the idea of allowing the muddy Mississippi to help with the fill. While the city is now underwater with the levees broken, it may be possible to flow the Mississippi river through it in such a way to deposit silt on the way out. As I said I haven’t run the numbers on this and don’t even know if its possible (or whether doing it is not worth the loss of silt where it normally deposits.) And naturally this “free-trucking” solution only works for half the elevation – the part above sea level would still require trucking.

    Sure would be nice to have that 300 billion that’s already been spent in Iraq.

  348. dotty says:

    New Orleans should be rebuilt, but on higher ground. The french quarter survived and is part of history. new orleans should be built by the people. If they help to rebuild their homes, they should be given the homes free and clear. Give them an incentive to rebuild their lives in new orleans.

  349. rjay says:

    If it’s not rebuilt for the people, which is what we’re talking about, it will eventually be re-built for corporations, investors & $ seekers. So, should New Orleans be re-built? It will. Where there’s land, especially near a coast, that’s inhabitable, it will be inhabited. A flooding storm every couple dozen or so years doesn’t make it uninhabitable. If New Orleans was already occupied by corporate whores, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    There is also unfortunately a racial factor. For some reason a trailer park of poor Rednecks gets more sympathy than an equally low-class Black population anywhere. We’re all people; just with different obstacles. In a White society, being Black IS an obstacle. See the cycle and help it instead of herding it elsewhere.

    Please, rebuild for the people.

  350. Rob says:

    I have to come down on the middle of this argument; that is to say portions should be rebuilt and salvaged, and other portions should not. This is a deeply troubled city with a murder rate 10X the national average, welfare and state sponsored free riders comprise nearly 1/3rd of the total population and of the all area medical facilities, 70% of those in New Orleans were providing free health care to their patients by virtue of medicare, medicade, or other programs.

    New Orleans is important to the US as a seaport. So make it a vibrant Seaport, but don’t make it a city below sea level that is filled with people sucking off the system.

    Many good people have been affected by this catastrophe, and that is unfortunate.

    Let’s look at it a different way: If I were living in a city that was located directly over Mt. St. Helens, and the volcano blew and destroyed the city – is it really a good idea to build another City there?

    Given that global warming porponents claim that the sea level is rising, and that more dramatic and powerful weather is in our future from Global warming, then why in the name of all that’s rational would we invest in building another city in the same spot when we KNOW that the future will be much worse than what we just saw?

    Last comment: Geraldo Rivera said yesterday that America should wake up to the Gulf Coast damage because this is a dress rehersal for a nuclear attack or detonation on a major city in America. Unfortunately, he’s right. The good to come from all of this is to understand civil preparedness and to realize just how quickly our lives can change forever in a flash.

    So how much should we spend and how hard should we work to put back a city that sits dead in the cross hairs of mother nature?

  351. presbypoet says:

    1. There is racism
    2. New Orleans was/is located in a bad spot.
    3. A port at the mouth of the Mississippi is essential.
    4. The Mississippi is/has been/will try to move to a more natural location, eventually it will, removing the site of New Orleans from the river.
    5. If nothing is done to restore the wetlands to the south and east, New Orleans ends up in the gulf.
    6. New Orleans is a unique cultural asset.
    7. The governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans are idiots.
    8. New Orleans seems to have had no plan for what should have been a predictable disaster.
    9. This hurricane gave very little time to prepare. My local paper Saturday put the story on page 12.
    10. A full evacuation would have required more time than was available.
    11. The south coast of Mississippi also failed to evacuate in time, with fewer people, and easier access, and more time.
    12. People without cars need the local government to have a plan to help them leave in a crisis.
    13. The mayor of New Orleans waited a day, until it was too late, to declare a mandatory evacuation.
    14. What part of mandatory don’t you understand?
    15. This disaster could have been much worse if Katrina had stayed a category 5 and hit 20 miles west.
    16. Baton Rouge has taken on 400,000 plus refugees and seems to be functioning very well.
    17. About 2,000 to 6,000 gang bangers chose to stay in New Orleans and loot.
    18. The New Orleans police department seems hopeless.
    19. Some people blame Bush for everything.
    20. Some people blame Clinton for everything.
    21. Establishing blame does nothing to solve your problem.
    22. Louisiana and New Orleans are corrupt, and have been.
    23. Other major American cities are in danger of even larger disasters, such as Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles.
    24. This is a terrible tragedy.
    25. Blacks see everything in terms of racism.
    26. Whites see nothing in terms of racism.
    27. America has the strength and determination to do whatever is needed to overcome.

    1. Did New Orleans have a disaster plan for a category 4 or 5 hurricane they knew would flood the city and kill anyone left? If they did, why was it so badly bungled?
    2. Would the damage have been less if the marshes had been intact?
    3. What more could Bush have done, and when?
    4. Why were 200 school buses, left to flood, not used for evacuation? Who is responsible?
    5. When did people know this Hurricane might hit New Orleans? When did they notify decision makers?
    6. Is there evidence of racism in FEMA, and other Fed agencies?
    7. Why were levees designed to take only a category 3?
    8. What are the consequences of allowing the Mississippi to shift west to the Atchafalaya?
    9. How much did corruption affect Louisiana’s ability to respond?
    10. Would a Republican Governor have helped more?
    11. Why didn’t the Louisiana governor call up the guard before the hurricane hit?
    12. Did having half the guard in Iraq result in problems?
    13. Was this hurricane just so big, and so fast moving that just about all that could have been done, was done?
    14. What kind of plan for this certain disaster did/does FEMA have?
    15. Should Bush have sent in the army without the Louisiana Governor asking?
    16. Did lack of money for levees cause problems?
    17. Did the lack of a single agency in Louisiana in charge of the levees cause problems?
    18. Why are there canals running through New Orleans?
    19. What would Clinton/Gore/Keri have done better?
    20. Why did the mayor wait to order a mandatory evacuation?
    21. Should the army have the right to move in even if a local government doesn’t ask? When?
    22. What lessons can other cities learn?
    23. Do you know what disasters your community is subject to? Are they prepared?
    24. Are you prepared?

    Does anyone want to add givens or questions? Which givens do you disagree with? What questions have I missed? Why?

  352. Paul Lucero says:

    It’s a real mess and it clear this is what happens when people clearly aware of the problems of living below sea level are going to experience. I’ve seen many references here to 911 and there is no comparsion. Those people in 911 had no expectation to be killed in an attack. The people of New Orleans have been laughing in the face of danger for over 100 years they got hit three times this century.

    No monies will be spent rebuilding until there is a government sponsored plan. While governments plan (6- 12 months) many or most of the population will leave for good. Do not forget most businesses will leave out of necessity . The convention businesses losses to New Orleans along will cost the state and city over 500 million in loss revenues/jobs/new business.

    New Orleans is dead they just do not know it yet. Look at the police announcement today if you think I wrong. See this link

    Yes some effort will be made to reclaim all the ports and industrial energy production.

    What person in their right mind will move back to place where half the block’s populations was killed. …

  353. Ivan says:

    I know that excellent Stratfor article posted in its entirety was long and probably was skipped by most, but Jesus, people, please try to take another look.

    The raw economic arguments are devastating; New Orleans cannot *not* be rebuilt. The cost of rebuilding will be *peanuts* compared to the cost to the entire country of not having a *large* and *busy* port where the Mississippi river meets the ocean. And people who think it is possible to have such a port without having a city around it simply do not live in the real world; the PoNO’s activities employ *sixty thousand* people, plus all the support services for them (supermarkets, check; cops, check; schools, check), plus all their families. And this is bare minimum, without other industries like tourism.

    The shortsightedness of the people saying “not with my tax dollars” is second only to the shortsightedness of the Fed govt shaving a few mil in levee maintenance just to get hit with a tens-of-billions-of-dollars disaster. It’s the *very definition* of penny-wise and pound-foolish. Every cent spent on rebuilding New Orleans is an *investment* which pays off in cheaper and more abundant goods, more exports, faster and cheaper transportation, and more commercial income-generating activity. It is a critical aspect for the prosperity of *every* *single* *major* city upstream from it in the Mississippi. If there wasn’t a city there already, one would have to be built; it’s too valuable a location not to.

    And this is without even starting to look at the historic and cultural aspects of New Orleans. People are actually contemplating not rebuilding the birthplace of Jazz? The key to the Louisiana Purchase? Not rebuilding the city of Tennessee Williams and Mark Twain? What on earth has happened to the nation that chose to “go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard”? What the fuck?

    By all means, rebuild it. Rebuild it better. Rebuild it smarter. Make it less vulnerable. Manage the levees and wetlands better. Relinquish some areas to the water if that will help. But it needs to be there. It simply does.

  354. Jean Walters says:

    I have been watching all the news coverage for the past 7 days. First I would like to ask several questions:
    1. WHY has it taken so long for OUR government to respond to the state of emergency facing La., Miss.,Ala.?
    2. This is not a question, but rather my opinion re. Our President’s apparent lack or inability to focus on more than one subject or problem at a time. First with the world Trade Centers he continued to read to the students in the class room he was visiting, the instead of going directly back to Washington,DC or atleast taking control of the situation, he proceeded to travel to other parts of the US before returning to Washington, DC. Now another crisis has occured and from my understanding not only did he seem uninpressed with the situation in New Orleans and the surrounding areas of the state. Not even taking into consideration the disasterous conditions in Miss, and Ala. He went to a Medicare prescription rally and to another cermony to honor the WWII vets. Question? Does this represent a President who is concerned about the people of the United States that he represents? In MY opinion NO.
    3. Now my question is even though there is supposedly no direct connection between Mr. Cheney and Haliburton at this time. It would appear to me to be another of Mr. Bush’s lets make my immediate friends happy. ie. Director of Homeland Security, Director of FEMA. When does all this Good ole Buddy system stop and our Government REALLY start carring about the American people?
    Those were my opinions, knowing they are not favorable to Mr. Bush and his (buddies) different cabinet appointments, I would be Very surprised to get a response back.

    Jean Walters

  355. Dr detroit says:

    Haliburton already has a contract for rebuilding. So the Vp will get his kickback WAKE UP

  356. Rob says:

    Presbypoet has just about hit the nail on the head.

    The one that that I have wondered throughout all of this is why the mayor of New Orleans is so critical of Federal Government, but seems mute on the issue of what HIS responsibility in this matter is and how much of this debacle is actually HIS direct fault.

    He is quick to point figers at everyone but his own office and staff. He LIVES there for crying out loud and he is the senior official of the city. He waited too long to order and evacuation, then, it’s clear that he had no evacuation plan or approach so he just waited until it was over to blame everyone else for HIS gaff.

  357. Dr detroit says:

    they didnt even rescue one person but haliburton already had a no bid contract for rebuild. america wake up

  358. Gen Kharack says:

    I beleave that new orleans should be left as is and not be rebuilt in any way. I feel that this disaster and lose of life will not be the last time a major event like this happens to this city. Yes, it does have a long and great history, but how much of that history survived this ordeal?
    Let nature have what it has taken back already and let it be.

  359. Julian says:

    In regards to this whole question of whether New Orleans should be rebuilt, there are obviously a lot of issues to take into consideration. I have read through all the posts above and found many of the comments posted here to be interesting and worthwhile. In terms of rebuilding the city though, I have to say, given the current `geo-political’ climate, I think that rebuilding New Orleans is quite possibly a completely untebable position to take, at least in terms of rebuilding the whole city and rebuilding it in the same place.

    If there’s one thing this whole mess must have done, it’s wake up the terrorists and terrorist-sympathisers out there. I’m sorry Bonnie, but I can’t possibly believe terrorists had anything to do with the levees breaking, causing such a huge amount of havoc on the grand scale that it is, they would be jumping for joy and claiming this as their own, the fact they haven’t indicates that they never considered anything like this. No, so whilst they assuredly have nothing to do with the current disaster, it surely has provided them with a tremendous weapon should New Orleans ever be rebuilt in it’s current location.

    Apart from that point, which I don’t believe has been raised here, it just completely defies logic that if we were planning a city for this region today, that we would ever consider building a city in the location of New Orleans, below sea level, surrounded by various bodies and types of water in a hurricane prone area! Crazy, crazy, crazy! This is swamp land and really not that suitable for a large metropolis.

    All those who bring up the importance of having a port at the mouth of the Mississippi make valid points, there of course does need to be some sort of port system there for handling all the goods using the Mississippi for transportation to various parts of the American interior. So yes, there does seem to be some sort of Port there, one solution I haven’t seen mentioned here seems obvious to me. Is there any reason why Port facilities and infrastructure could be rebuilt further upriver, perhaps closer to Baton Rouge? I presume matters of dredging are the main issue here, but surely it would be cheaper to do more dredging of the river than rebuild a whole city below sea-level that is certain to flood again sometime in the future.

    And if the port is moved closer up towards Baton Rouge, could not many of the residents of New Orleans also move to areas around Baton Rouge? I’m sure Baton Rouge wouldn’t be complaining about getting a whole lot of contruction activity going, and it certainly seems a more viable location for a major city in South Louisiana than New Orleans ever was.

    Many problems related to New Orleans have been mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I brought up the renewed danger of terrorism, but matters of insurance are also a huge block to any rebuilding. How could any insurance company in it’s right mind be willing to ensure people in New Orleans again for all at anything like a price acceptable and affordable to people and business wanting to locate there? It’s just not worth their while and neither is it worth the while of government to plow money into a sinking city bound to be overcome again in future by another hurricane induced flood.

    People, that is a CERTAINTY! Why invite another destructive episode like we’ve been witnessing over the past few days when we can do something about it and take the most obvious preventative measure of all, rebuild there people’s homes somewhere else!

    Something else that is apparent to me is that if New Orleans is uninhabitable for months, as seems certain, as it will take months to clear out sufficient amounts of the toxic sludge to make it anything near habitable again, these people are going to need places to live in the interim, and many of them have stated they’re not altogether interested in going back to New Orleans once it’s cleaned up anyway, so why wait for New Orleans to come round, start building the houses now, wherever it is these people want to settle. Baton Rouge to me seems the obvious place to start, but Houston as well is a place many of these people could well end up.

    I just don’t see the point in waiting around for months and months for New Orleans to come round when things could get moving much sooner in better and more habitable locations. Another simple fact is, the longer people are away from New Orleans, the more time there is for people to put roots down somewhere else and the less chance there is of them returning to New Orleans at all.

    So, I guess basically I think New Orleans should and could well be abandoned even if the area is fully drained. Saying that however, I do believe there is a case for retaining some presence there, if as seems likely it is drained and then cleaned up, it would be a huge waste to just break the levees down and flood it right back again. Areas of high ground, like the French Quarter and some others may well be worth preserving in some form with a modified levee system scaled back to a more suitable and manageable level, and perhaps not interfering as much with the natural environment of the area. Currently I believe the putative population of the area is something just over the 1 million mark, perhaps in a scaled back version of the place, maybe 50-100,000 people could inhabit the more viable areas there and preserve the history of the place without turning it into a stinking cesspool of a city with horrendous crime rates and mass unemployment.

    I think under that sort of scenario it could be a much more viable sort of enterprise, and also a much easier place to handle in case of another major hurricane at some point in the future. Which, I have to add, is bound to happen at some stage or another.

  360. Rob says:

    “Dr detroit Says:

    September 5th, 2005 at 7:16 pm
    they didnt even rescue one person but haliburton already had a no bid contract for rebuild. america wake up”

    Are you nuts? Who is “they”? I watched the head of the United States Coast Guard who advised on CNN today that they have rescued more people in New Orleans in the last seven days than they did in the entire history of the Coast Guard since day one!!! One rescue swimmer was interviewed and his tally alone was 126 people YESTERDAY.

    They who? Halliburton doesn’t have anything. I think whatever you’re smoking went out while you were holding it in your hand there Dr. D.

  361. Rob says:

    Julian: The reason that the port facilities are are in the N.O. area (actually many are farther out in the gulf) is because of the depth of water on the river at that point. Panamax vessels have a draft that is too deep to run up river so they discharge cargo at platforms and facilities where the water is capable of handling them, then place those cargos on barges and smaller vessels with a lesser draft. That is why you cannot build the same infrastructure up river. In fact, a lot of it is actually down river from New Orleans, but many of the workers lived in New Orleans.

  362. magichands says:

    First off no company writes flood insurance, anywhere, any more. What do you think they are stupid? FEMA writes it. Even they are getting smarter and requiring people to rebuild so that they can not be harmed in the future. Things like moving to higher ground or raising the house are required.
    The head of the army core of engineers said today on C-span that the dikes that broke were already completed to the level they were going to be completed even if the funds had not be cut. Their funding is an on going project lasting generations.

    The Emergency Plan for New Orleans forgot about or never planned for the people who could not evacuate. Is this a unique situation? I would say not. What happens if you have a fire in a high rise building. What happens to the people in wheelchairs and such? The fire protection industry is just now building places of refuge into their designs for handcapped people.

    Who is responsible for writing the Emergency Action plans for New Orleans? Some jack-ass in Washington or a local who understands the people? FEMA was always ment to work with the local people. Not take over.

  363. Paul Lucero says:

    Contact your representatives ASAP!!!

    I just sent a letter to my senators asking them to spend what is necessary to ensure the welfare of the displaced. I also asked them to NOT spend a dime rebuilding New Orleans until a comprehensive safety plan is in place and if need be to either abandon all or portions of the downtown in pursuit of this goal. YES – save the port and the airport.

    I believe after listening to discussion of structural engineers that the levee system is compromised (all of it). Today there was another announcement about a new breach that was stabilized by the Corp of Engineers and the New Orleans Public works dept. The whole system is undermined and below surface view in very bad shape.

    When the rains come the levees will come under strain and then we will see. In other words no additional storm will be required to finish off the job Katrina started. This is terrible and peoples lives are in the balance. No government offical in my mind can justify putting a population back into a sinking city which is only 3 meters on avg. below sea level today and will be 5 meters on avg. by the end of the century.

  364. Sam says:

    Bush’s Impeachment

    Three charges come to mind:

    * Gross negligence – Failure to use even the slightest amount of care in a way that shows Recklessness or willful disregard for the safety of others.
    * Dereliction of duty – One willfully, through negligence or culpable inefficiency fails to perform one’s expected duties.
    * Depraved indifference – Recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to other persons, and thereby causes serious physical injury to other persons.

  365. Sheri says:

    Shoot To The Moon~

    I’ve had a while to cool off from my initail disgust and I have figured it all out. This question as to whether New Orleans should be rebuilt is a moot question. It will be rebuilt. Leaving it as a permanant graveyard would only make America look defeated. Whether or not it is safe or within common sense to do so. It’s like landing on the Moon for us now. It made no sense to do it, other than the fact that it made us feel like we could acheive any goal we set our mind to. The question of what it will become will only be answered by the sands of time. What investors and citizens will brave the risks? Plenty. And why would they do so? For many reasons but namely for the love of their city and because it has been made so darn easy by the federal government. It will happen again and we will rebuild again. I am seeing similarities here between this city and NASA’s space shuttle program. It’s kind of scary but we must do it for the sake of our national pride, we tell ourselves. We ignore the obvious risks and we blast off!

    New Orleans has brought to the forefront another issue which many people would rather forget exsists. Poverty and the current welfare state in America. There is a gap between the wealthy and the poor which is fast growing in all major U.S. cities, not just N.O. People are living in poverty for various reasons. We saw among those recued from the floods the physically disabled. I am a single woman and a disabled American and I can tell you that living on Social Security Disability in this country is a difficult thing to do. It leaves you living among the gangs and the violence of the poorer neighborhoods if you have no one else to help support you. Yes, some people simply do not want to work but for the most part these people have limited skills, no experience other than collecting welfare or are Disabled like myself. If you think you are too proud to collect government assistance, just wait and see how humbling watching your children starve is. That is what sets it all into motion. The vicious circle of poverty. So now the children of this humbled man are raised this way and they think to themselves when they reach 18, “I have to have a baby so I can get some money of my own!” But unless you’ve ever been in the welfare system you have no idea what kind of helplessness and hopelessness it can breed in men and women who had dreams of what they would become just like you had. The minimum wage in this country is not sufficient to raise a family and minimum wage is all that most of these people can ever hope to receive if they work for a living. Most of these women had their first child in the years when she should have been going to college. Well, think about it! For centuries women had good men to go out and “bring home the bacon” while they raised the children. Their sons had the examples of strong fathers. Their daughters had the knowledge that her father would protect her until she was married and then her husband would protect her and her children. So then came Women’s Liberation in the 60’s and 70’s and then women had to not only raise children, but go out and earn the living as well. So The children were neglected and sent first to day care, then they became latch key kids, coming home to four empty walls after school. If they were lucky enough to have raised themselves properly, they went on to be semi productive members of society. But what about the pain and emotional damage of seeing their fathers beat their mothers, and their parents both drink and drug themselves to death? Or in a situation where the Father leaves and suddenly they can’t afford the things the other children have like lunch at school. So they see what it means to be an adult. It means to drink and work and slave away for nothing and never have anything or to collect welfare. A person who grows up in this and has any spirit left in them to become something better than their parents is a miracle. This is the vicious cycle of poverty.

    If you had the great fortune of growing up in a wealthy family, or a family with values and work ethic and there was food on the table, then you should be thankful, not angry at those less fortunate than yourself.

    Sincerely, Sheri

  366. mistyb says:

    Has everyone forgotten about holland? They rebuilt with a tremendous dyke system, and there economy is very good. I don’t think you can put a price on culture and history. This is a unique culture that cannot be found anywhere else in the country and by scattering these people around everywhere it will soon be lost. That’s the tradgedy in this not money New Orleans can and will be rebuilt. People not from the area will never understand. These people have been through countless hurricanes and massive flooding and still forged on. This is my culture, one i wish everyone could have a chance at experiencing, maybe after that all the pessimists will understand the true soul, beauty, history, and love of New Orleans. This is a special place with special people. New Orleaneans love life, and they celebrate it every chance they get. It’s my history my roots my people. New Orleans is a great city and will be even greater after rebuilding. Theres just an indescribable feeling you get from the city. I look at this disaster at a rebirth for the city of New Orleans, maybe this rebuild will be a better invitation for more corporations to move into the city which will boost the economy which will lower the rate of unemployment which will also lower the rate of drug use and crime. It all goes hand in hand.

  367. Paul Lucero says:

    Good Comments all

    As to the Holland references. There are really little to compare. The Dutch are not surrounded on three sides by water. The Dutch do not have Cat 4 and 5 storms hitting their sea walls. Additionally, all Dutch engineers will tell you that they are less than 25 years from hitting the limit on what engineering can do to prevent a system wide melt down. So the Holland comparison is a very big stretch.

    For those persons that have noted the insurance issue, this is the deal killer for New Orleans. I saw that one posting noted rightly that FEMA flood insurance now comes with strict limits. In fact FEMA flood insurance was not available for most of the west coast for many months as FEMA had to find new funding to replace the losses from other Gulf storms and rewrite government standards.

    Businesses will not go to a place that has such a high potential for destruction. There is a guy on the 10th floor of a Data Center in New Orleans whose blog is updating now. This guy and his firm are relocating. Go to follow the link. No Business or the loss of business will finish the destruction with economic ruin. The government can rebuild it but there will be no jobs.

    With regard to the need to rebuild this cultural center/historic city. The argument is false because it does not address the fundamental problems that have nothing to do with poor versus rich issues but exclusively is one of bad location, bad soil, sinking soil, and the high potential for repeatedy producing very large loss of life.

  368. Norma says:

    I agree that we need to help those people to survive and re-start a new life but since the delta of Mississippi River is changing twice every thousand years, meaning that it will have a flood like this again, we should consider re-building this city again but in another location… if not, we will be risking our money and more important human lives.

  369. mistyb says:

    Paul they’re only relocating temporarily

  370. Andy says:

    get everybody out and dont look back

  371. Frank Rabalais says:

    As a refugee from New Orleans currently sheltering in Baton Rouge, I’ve got a few thoughts. Most importantly, New Orleans CAN be made safe IF Federal resources are applied. Levees can be raised to withstand Cat 5 storms (Nola’s levees were built to hold up against Cat 3’s – Katrina was a Cat 4). The city can be further partitioned into sections with internal levees, which would act like watertight compartments on ships, isolating flooded sectors but leaving remaining areas dry. The final key to safety involves investing in the eroding wetlands surrounding the city and buffering it from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The cost will be great, but, as the Stratfor link and excerpt posted above indicates, it could well be peanuts compared with the cost of completely reprogramming our nation’s infrastructure as a consequence of abandoning New Orleans’ port, sited near the mouth of the river system which drains (and provides commercial access to) one-third of our nation’s lower-48 land area. Remember, too that while New Orleans itself has (or had) just under 500,000 inhabitants, the metro area – no higher in elevation and no less vulnerable to levee collapses – comprises over 1.3 million residents. That’s a lot of people to move wholesale. As others have noted, global warming, rising sea levels and the capricious course of the Mississippi River are other perils, but a careful combination of engineering and wetland regeneration can probably effectively combat this. Indeed, New Orleans could serve as a technological testing ground, as cities like New York, Singapore and London are not so far above sea level in many places that they wouldn’t be affected in short order by the same sea level trends.

    I too am alternately saddened and enraged by the behavior of what is, TO BE SURE, a small minority of the city’s poor. And I do think that a careful distinction needs to be made between those taking necessities and those stealing plasma-screen TVs or carjacking their neighbors. Nonetheless, these scenes will surely pose an enormous stumbling block to attracting new investment. However, maybe New Orleans will emerge from Katrina’s trials with far less poverty, the breeding ground for the depravity that the nation witnessed. One effect of this storm could be a demographic reshaping of the city. Tens of thousands of poor New Orleanians have been evacuated to the more vigorous economic climate of Houston, Dallas, etc. Let them better themselves; their chances will certainly be better there. For arguably more than 100 years, New Orleans has been caught in a vicious bind, the chicken-and-egg paradox at its most vivid: the city fails to attract sufficient investment because of its crushing poverty and consequent social ills, but poverty cannot be ameliorated without sufficient investment. Perhaps that cycle will now be broken. On a more micro level, the city itself has been recently mired in a cycle of vigilante killings and retribution killings; that cycle has obviously been disrupted, and the opportunity exists to quash it for good.

    Visionary urban design could induce, if not private insurers, than perhaps federal and state agencies to write flood insurance for a rebuilt New Orleans. The city’s geography is simple, but musn’t be over-simplified. Areas along the river, and extending back from its banks for 1/2-1 mile are ABOVE sea level. Also above sea level are the parks and neighborhoods reclaimed in the 1920s from Lake Pontchartrain at the northernmost boundary of the city. BECAUSE of this geography, unsurprisingly, practically all of the city’s historic built environment lies within the former zone (i.e., near the river). Look at the maps of the areas flooded for confirmation. Not only the French Quarter was spared. This historic swath of the city contains perhaps 100,000 residents and possesses mile after mile of stunning architecture and beautiful boulevards, still there – and dry – according to the satellite photos I’ve examined. Much of the rest of the city could be rebuilt as a marvel of sensitive eco-design: houses on tall piers/neighborhoods of marshy preserves teeming with life and interlaced with canals, etc.

    I’ll leave the cultural rhapsodizing to others; many can do it beautifully, and I agree with their sentiments wholeheartedly. Remember, though, that in a nation where everywhere seems to be looking increasingly like everywhere else, there is one soulful, special place. It is not destroyed, only parts of it are. And the best bits remain. And I am determined to return.

  372. Sam Perry says:

    Going right back to the top – Jeff and db are obviously BOTH correct – for cultural and economic reasons NOLA will always exist somewhere – and for meteorological, geologic and climatic reasons, like many ancient cities, the exact location and construction will shift as has the silt.

    Remember, as those of us who’ve resided among the hollows of West Virginia and Kentucky are well aware, some of the best crops of the Mississippi Delta are grown on good ole West Virginia soil…

    West Virginia soil

    Not to tilt too far to the Disney-esque, Jeff – perhaps proceeds can be focussed on the people of NOLA lest we repeat injustices regardless of how much more protected a new venue or venues – or a combination of historic and new venues – may be.

  373. Jonathan Fraser says:

    To Frank… Here Here!
    We have to rebuild, and I’ll be there to help when they do!

  374. Harry Smatter says:

    As far away as New Zealand our insurance premiums are increasing to help pay the underwriting costs of the Katrina disaster. Then I read America diverted funding from New Orleans levee maintenance program to pay for a war! Put your house in order.

  375. Darren says:

    Having lived in hurricane and typhoon ravaged areas for the past 30 years… the answer is NO.

  376. Heidi says:

    The major problem isnt Hurricanes its population,the USA is going to see more disasters like this on a regular basis as population in major cities gets even larger and people move into Hurricane danger rural area’s.The population projection of the USA is seen at 571 million people by 2100,as population projections show from past records they are always hugely underestimated.If the urban area of New Orleans is rebuilt in its present location,it will be left to fututre generations to deal with this catastrophe yet again.When was the last time anyone heard a present day politician say the words,”We owe it to future generations”.

  377. Saul says:

    Who could tell us how many person are there to met with disaster on the ground?

  378. George W. Bush says:

    New Orleans will never be rebuilt!

  379. Kevin says:

    Rebuild? What happens next September if another hurricane comes and wipes it all out yet again? Hmmmmm……….

  380. sinman says:

    Nature wins every time. Why do we constantly keep trying to fight her? New Orleans was doomed from the start. Amazing that she lasted this long. Cut our loses, let the Gulf of Mexico and/or the Mississipi River have her…forever.

  381. Will says:

    What most of you are forgetting is that rebuilding really isnt up the “public”. If I want to build myself a building down in New Orleans. Im going to. All I need is the land. You people saying no lets not rebuild or lets cut our losses….What losses, you didnt lose jack shit! If you dont want to rebuild New Orleans, dont rebuild it. Leave that up to people that love Louisiana and love the historic piece of America called New Orleans. After “the big one” hits LA or Mt. Ranier rains pyroclastic flow down onto Seattle are any of you gonna say lets not rebuild those places. You might, but in the end it simply isnt up to you.

  382. kc says:

    I feel so sorry for all the people of New Orleans. However, where is all this polluted water going as it is being drained from New Orleans. What is the environmental impact of it being thrown into Lake Ponchatrain and the Gulf of Mexico? It is full of human waste and petroleum products. Thank you

  383. laura says:

    Will, I lost in New Orleans. I lost everything I own, and I’m lucky. I don’t have lost loved ones. I still shed tears over this, but I am never going back. Maybe my ties to new Orleans aren’t as significant as others. I’ve only lived there for the past 12 yrs. If someone wants to rebuild, more power to them. Want me to help pay for it? As John Wayne said in Big Jake, “not hardly”. I’ve relocated already, not just physically, but emotionally. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in NY. I never should have left!

  384. Sarah says:

    Ever since I’ve known geography, I’ve known about New Orleans. Though I’ve never been there, I know how much it means/should mean to this whole country. New Orleans is a part of tradition, culture and celebration. I agree that we should not worry about this until everyone possible is saved, however. For the future though, what would a new generation be with out such a big part of this one?

  385. Vicki says:

    How nice to find a few other people who voice the opinions that I have been sharing at home with my husband for days (and sometimes in the same words — such as “New New Orleans”.)

    “Then create the largest public works project ever to rebuild “New New Orleans” somewhere nearby above sea level” says John “the baptist”

    “in sum: preserve what we can of the Historical sections of NO, make it part of the National Park system, and let nature have the rest. There is plenty of higher ground to build upon!!!! ” says c ray davis.

    My thoughts: Top architects from all over competed to design the new “Freedom Tower” (whether or not it should be built). Top architects and urban planners could design the New New Orleans above sea level and slightly back from the ocean, of course! (Hopefully they will retain some of the good things about the city like the lack of need for a car for many peoples’ everyday life.)

    I’m sure not all of old New Orleans will require leveling — even some non-historic areas may be reclaimable — but large areas of the most flooded and destroyed parts should be permanently flooded and/or declared part of a park. I’ll be one of the first to visit the New Orleans National Historic Park once it is developed!

    Ah, but it won’t be — private property rights will trump eminent domain and good sense.

    And old New Orleans will look prettier than before — I remember driving through an old beat-up Homestead, Florida back before Hurricane Andrew. And a few years after, when it got all prettied up. But at least Homestead isn’t below sea level to my knowledge.

    But when are the pollsters going to start asking us (the public) whether and how New Orleans should be rebuilt?

  386. janet says:

    we dont think they should rebuild the whole city. esp. the contaminated areas, where they are dumping water on buildings, etc. and if they do rebuild, they should rebuild way away from the water

  387. rocky says:

    The biggest problem may yet to be discovered. There are 2200 facilities with underground fuel storage in the affected region, with an average of 3 radioactive containers at each site. That is 6600 radioactive containers.If these containers have leaked into the flood water, it could spell disaster for the city.For the victims, and the heroes that are saving them, let us hope that this is not the case. The article was found at May God Bless this country of ours.

  388. Sherri says:

    To Gunther…..I have said this over and over again …..this disaster just like any other is Not about blacks and whites or the haves or have nots!
    The clean up is about human spirit and helping one another in a time of great need.By the way I assisted my 9 y/o (his idea) in selling lemonade this weekend. He raised over $1400. He purchased toys and games with every last cent. I took him to all of the area shelters where he gave all who were there a present! One last thing although I have lived in Louisiana for a year( I live on a military installation ) I never visited NO and I am sorry that I missed out on such great history.I spent all my life before coming here in Florida. Hurricanes are a risk you take to live in a paradise. NO may very well be paradise to those who live there.

  389. Tish says:

    I live in KY. I have been to New Orleans only once. Needless to say, I fell in love with the city. My heart simply aches for the city, the people and the spirit I was priviledged to see. It’s hard for an outsider like me to comment on the rebuilding of the city, so I won’t. But I have a friend who insist that she heard the reason why it took so long for relief is because New Orleans doesn’t pay taxes. I have listened to just about every story covered about this catastrophe and I have not heard this. So I turned to this avenue to possibly get the truth from someone who actually lived there in hopes you can clarify this point for us. It’s not an important fact. We were just trying to make sense of why it took so long for aid. We both can agree on one thing……….the red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy was responsible for the serious aftermath. How sad is our government. God bless.

  390. Tim says:

    Absolutely not,

    Yes, the destruction and human suffering is great. History has shown us that this will continue to occur in areas that were not topographically inhabitable. The rebuilding alone will take billions of dollars not to mention the insurance rates that are passed along to everyone. Grand Forks North Dakota was flooded a few years ago, no one rebuilt unless they had flood insurance, a flood plain designation, and the understanding that help was not available from the government. Even when they decide to rebuild, certain standards need to be met. The cost is incredible, as it should be. But most people opt out or move to safer locations, as they should. Our government should not be in the business of funding rebuilding. The City leaders of New Orleans have been remiss in their responsibility and now have blamed virtually everyone in this country for their lack of leadership. Not during the storm, but before it ever came to be. As for historical value….New Orleans was a beautiful city, a city whose time had come and gone.

  391. gbl says:

    Right now I live in Los Angeles, also a ticking time bomb. Just last month my neighbor and I were talking about earthquakes and the fact have we have not had one in a while. We’re over due for one. I too have live in New Orleans during my college years on the corner of Uptown and St. Charles some 20 year ago and visited the city and friend I made very frequently. I has good food, good times, etc. I has however always been a city I loved to go to but could not wait to get out of. I don’t think the question is “Should New Orleans be rebuilt?”, but “Can it be rebuilt?” There have always been charming places and neighborhoods, but just a few blocks away were places I would never, EVER, wonder into. My friends already are lining up jobs, in other parts of the country. The longer it takes to “ready” the city to rebuild the less likihood peopel will return. They are not going to take there kids out of schools or leave their jobs to go back. New Orleans will never be the same, just a shell of what it was. This may be good. The French Quarter, a few other neighborhoods and that’s it. It will become a tourist trap. If they truely want to rebuild, for the better, do it on the northshore. Even then will New Orleans really be any better off? It’s lagged behind other Southern cities in business growth and 10, 20 years off I really see no change. Again I just don’t see a lot of folks moving back and disrupting their lives again.

  392. gbl says:

    Tish, NO residents do pay taxes. They also receive benefits. That not the reason and I don’t believe their is “one” reason. It was a cascade of events. Other than those that truely could not leave there were a lot that decided to sit it out. They still refuse to leave which I cannot, under the circumstances, understand. The local government screw up, the state government screw up and the federal government screw up. I also think that between the various branches of government it got to be a pissing contest as to who was in charge. Frankly the federal government, only because of the size and magatude should have taken over immediately. I’m sure that would have ruffled a few feathers, but more live may have been saved.

  393. The people who have been made homeless from New Orleans ,should be given the chance to be able to re-settle elsewhere,even in other countries.
    Australia is as big as the US and is similar to the US in many respects,it has only 18 million people. Australia should offer their American cousins a chance of a new life,instead of buying its way out as it did with the tsnumi victims of Indonesia.and offer no re-settlement.
    The people of New Orleans who have been effected the greatest, are poor and majority black will be re-settled in huge cities,that are crime and drug ridden,Australia can offer so much better.Australia is a huge country,small population and very safe a country when compared to the US and it would be a fantastic idea if Australia could offer re-settlement instead of cash.

  394. Julian says:

    That’s 20 million people Rhandy, and as for resettling in Australia, get real. If they want to go to Australia, they will. If these people you’re advocating came to Australia, they’d probably end up in Western Sydney, which would not be dissimilar to where they’d come from, except for the fact it’s miles from the sea. There’s no need to have some sort of mass-evacuation plan to Australia, I’m sure these people are keen to stay in the USA, any who aren’t, let us know!

    Also Rhandy, most of the middle of Australia is desert, not HABITABLE! Very different place to the USA, if you want to put these people in Alice Springs, I hardly think you’ll be doing them a favour.

    And no, they should not attempt to rebuild New Orleans back up to what it was pre-Katrina.

  395. clevelander says:


    of course it should be rebuilt – inasmuch as it’s THE port city of the Mississippi. whaddaya gonna do? not have a port? build different – that’s all.

  396. Markus says:

    Obviously the people and the problems of living in low level area’s of New Orleans have been ignored for decades,you cannot blame the present administration for this,its an hereditary problem.
    The city proper seems fine,but so the greater urban area has to be rebuilt in a different location,the fact that it has taken a catastrophic disaster for governments too come too the party is not unusual,its typical.

    Sending the people of New Orleans too Australia,”my god”,not another disaster please,80%of Australia is like Roswell New Mexico.If anyone is thinking of it forget it,”New Orleans all the way”

  397. Leacroft says:

    My wife and were there some years ago (even though it’s a long way from the UK !!) and we loved it.

    I think there’s a strong case for rebuilding it and creating a properly constructed – deep pile bores and all that stuff; new canals; elevated and sunken freeways; multi storey underwater car parking and warehousing etc. etc. – version of a ‘Venice in Louisiana’.

    It will probably mean destroying most, if not everything, that’s there and starting from scratch; and it must certainly include providing better accommodation and work opportunities for the poor and low paid than they’ve ever had before.

    The key infrastructures are there such as the roads, electricity, drainage and the airport – and over time they would need to be re-engineered to protect them from the elements.

    And the ‘soul’ of New Orleans will never fade.

    Even more so … a key part of this concept is also there – the waters of the Mississippi – kept clean and softly flowing through and past the new ‘Venice of the South’.

    Spread the city north, west and east; knock down all the old stuff and re-create it the way it should have been made in the first place.

    That will bring back a new prosperity – and bring back all those businesses and industrial heravyweights that have left over the past 25 yeras.

    Do it guys … and encourage the recreation of all the good that was in the old City.

    That’ll show those misguided souls in Iraq (and in plenty of other places too …) just what the US can do when there’s a will for something to be done well !!

    For me – I’d rather see America spending $1,000,000,000,000 on raising a ‘new, New Orleans’ than any similar amount spent on airplanes, tanks, rockets and spaceships.

    Just stop for a moment … and think about how much the whole world would benefit from the technology fallout that would derive from it. Think about how much we could all learn from solving the problems of living in a wetlands’ high risk environments.

    We should not be spending our lives trying to protect people from the ‘dangers’ of the land/water interface. We should be learning to live with it.

    Think of how much better off some of the world’s most deprived nations would be if their populations could live closer to the sea. Close to an unending supply of desalinated water, with good water pumped inland for farming and living irrigation and industry and with easier water borne communications. Think of the stunning tourism opportunities.

    My blessed mother was misguided when she told me, as a young man, to ‘Buy land, they aren’t making any more of it …’ She just could not imagine what we would be able to do.

    Your erstwhile, beleagured, President wasn’t completely wrong when he once again put his foot in his mouth and spoke of enjoying a seat on his political friend’s new verandah.

    As ever, he just wasn’t seeing further than his nosehairs.

    If he’d said he was looking forward to standing on the steps of the rebuilt New Orleans City Hall … in the new ‘Venice of the US South’ … he’d have been much closer to the mark. He might have even motivated a couple of people to start to plan to do just that.

    Enough with this prattling … Go to it People of Louisiana … Show the world how to turn disaster into success !!

  398. Franki says:

    How can anyone in America question if the city of New Orleans should be rebuilt. As an American citizen paying taxes for the rebuilding of Iraq, I know sure I would prefer that my money be spent more wisely rebuilding the beautiful and old gumbo that is New Orleans. New Orleans is a part of America, in so many ways it is America…the poor, the rich, the ugly and the beautiful. To let go of New Orleans would never be an option to anyone who ever truely knew what it has meant to love and miss New Orleans.

  399. Joe Buck says:

    HELL NO should New Orleans Be Rebuilt. The City is Sinking.

  400. Bodacious says:

    Anyone who thinks New Orleans will not be rebuilt is an idiot. The is a major metropolitan center that is important to the economy of this country, especially the energy industry. People are not being asked to move away from Los Angeles which is built right over the San Adreas fault. This is no different, the people of southern California have been warned that the big one is coming also, not a matter of if but when, just like the cat 5 hurricane to hit NO, but they are still putting up buildings and moving in everyday. I grew up in NO and know the city very well, the people and there love of the city, the burbs, the restaurants, the culture, the history, the historic buildings, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, the Quarter, the Jazz Fest, I could go on and on. I may take a while, and it may never be the same, but New Orleans will be back some day and the curious or others that have never been will come to see it, and some of them will love it and stay. I have spoken to about 30 locals that are displaced today by Katrina and only 1 of them told me he wasn’t going to move back there. I can guarantee you NO will be back someday, the local, state and fedral governmnets will pull together to make it happen. Just last night I spoke to a man from NO that told me he found a job in Lafayette Louisiana but would return as soon as he could, He said he would quit that new job and take whatever kind of work he could that would he rebuilkd the city. That is the spirit of these people, don’t for 1 minute underestimate them.

  401. Dennis L. Klein says:

    By Law, they can’t rebuild New Orleans!

    It seems that nobody has realized (YET) that there is already a very stringent Federal Law that prohibits rebuilding most of the New Orleans and effected areas as they existed. It is a simple law, it’s called the 50% rule and is implemented by FEMA. This law controls all buildings in the country constructed in Flood Zones by building code.
    The law states that any existing structure in a Floodplain or SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area) that is damaged 50% or more by ANY means shall be rebuilt at or above the BFE (Base Flood Elevation). This means that ALL the structures (like all those under water) that have substantial damage (Defined as over 50%) MUST be rebuilt to meet or exceed the BFE. Obviously the required BFE for these structures to be rebuilt is much higher than the existing grades these structures are built on.
    I was unable to access the FIRM maps to get information on the exact Flood Zones and BFE information due to server failure operated out of the New Orleans municipality. I could get enough information to confirm the area is at the minimum a SFHA and this law would apply. Were probably looking at a BFE of about +8′ (plus eight feet above sea level).
    The reason for this law is so that the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program), a federal subsidized flood insurance program doesn’t have to pay twice for the loss of a structure. You will find that many structures destroyed will have to be replaced by the Federal Government via the NFIP, not private insurance companies. It should be noted that no lending institution would mortgage any real estate in any flood zone without Flood Insurance. This sound a bit complicated but it really is not. I am a professional Building Designer and own a design firm on the West Coast of Florida. I specialize in structure designs in coastal flood prone areas and barrier islands. I have extensive knowledge on this subject.
    Naturally this is a sensitive subject but in no other place in the country would you be able to rebuild under these same conditions. There are some exemptions but very limited.

    Dennis L. Klein
    Klein Coastal Designs, Inc.
    Englewood, FL 34224

  402. Leacroft says:

    Interesting ….

    4 posts earlier I suggested that the rebuilding of New Orleans might be a no brainer. The post before this outlines clearly why, how and by whom it should be done.

    What a golden opportunity for you all to look to the prototype work done by Disney and create a world masterwork in New Orleans on a really grand scale.

    A water-borne wide area transport – the New Orleans Area High-speed Rapid Transport System – NOAH’s RTS.

    Wide open spaces, road traffic free, buildings and business/industrial facilities under and over water wherever possible.

    Build North, East and West for the people … build in steel and shatterproof acrylics … build deep and high … and build economically for real people’s pocketbooks.

    Teach the world how to do this; for the sake of the billions of world poor and disenfanchised.

    If America can put men and women into space – surely building a new New Orleans in the style of a ‘Disneyesque’ Venice is also possible?

    Good luck and God Speed ….

    A well wisher in the UK.

  403. M. Johnson says:

    I hear that it would take 40Billion to rebuild New Orleans.
    Total Population:484674
    Total number of Households:188251

    This comes out to about $266,000 per household.

    For the same expenditure, it sounds like you could give home ownership to many households, instead of new city with housing projects and no home ownership.
    Also, the city is sinking…

  404. M. Johnson says:

    If the private sector wants to rebuild, that would be great.

  405. Glen R says:

    Off the subject…there is a karma involved the looting…when they take that 32″ Sony with HDTY …the same one that has been UNDERWATER for two days..IT DOESN’T WORK!

  406. It’s playing with fire to rebuilt New Orleans.

    Here in Holland we all know about living with the sea.
    Frankly I was surprised to see the dykes which were protecting New Orleans were so weak. You’d could have know one day a major hurricane would swamp the city. Well, this has happened now, and for all sake, the US budget it’s so large (almost 1200 billion dollars a year), please rebuilt the city somewhat 10 miles inland, out of reach of the Mississippi and the ocean. If not, get soms real loads of earth and rise the whole place with several meters. And build some real dykes.

    The Netherlands

  407. Dennis reminds us of FEMA’s 50% rule. However, it’s clear that a very large number of buildings in New Orleans would not be deemed more than 50% damaged. As an earlier post pointed out, the historic structures in the city are incredibly sturdy, and were built without Gypsum board, southern pine framing, particle board, or any of the other crap that’s typically used in new construction these days. Besides, many of the buildings are already raised 8-10 feet above the level of the street and probably haven’t suffered sufficient damage to place them anywhere near the 50% damaged category. A simple review of satellite photos (available on the NOAA website) reveals the inherent strength of the older construction in the city. Further, much of the historic part of the city didn’t flood. All we need is sufficient protection, as Patrick notes above. The construction of a barrier across the Rigolets and Chef Menteur passes (proposed in the 60s but never approved) would eliminate the threat of Lake Pontchartrain storm surges (the cause of the levee failures). That’s good, because a port at near the mouth of the Mississippi will still be needed.

    M. Johnson makes the usual mistake of conflating the city with the metro area. Greater New Orleans is no higher and was no less vulnerable than the city itself. GNO’s population is over 1.3 million. A proper relocation effort, using his figure of $40 billion, would produce approximately $78,000/household, not $266,000/household. That’s not enough for new housing, but it would easily repair damaged structures. No, the answer is to rebuild smarter, saving both one of the world’s great cities and ensuring the continued viability of crucial national infrastructure.

  408. KSR says:

    I read one awhile back by Gunther that suggested that talk of abandoning New Orleans was racist. It asked, “I wonder if you would be so quick to abandon New Orleans if those who where displaced were white?”
    Forgetting something? Giving up parts of New Orleans that are not suitable for building can only save the poor black population the fate that they suffered this time.

  409. mew says:

    Read Slates article on rebuilding the town. Why would we consider replacing the destroyed portions of the town that will always be prone to flooding? These portions of town have very little economy, are the highest density, have the highest crime rates, and generally are considered the lacking in suitable housing. If it is rebuilt, we should not use tax dollars to build the same model of poverty that was wiped out by the flood. We would be better suited to relocate some people and only rebuild portions that are at an elevation that is at a minimum, level with the river and lake.

  410. Heidi says:

    Maybe if the greatest influential medium on modern society “the media” spent less time focusing,the publics attention on the trials of Michael Jackson,the sex life of Clinton,and the frolics of Paris Hilton,(WHO KNOWS).

    New Orleans has been placed in the “to hard basket” for years,and every politician who has had a connection to New Orleans while in office, would have know of the problem but chose to ignore,hoping it would never happen while their time in public office.

    The disaster of New Orleans may go down in history as the greatest preventable loss of human life and of a cities destruction outside any conflict involving war.

    Nothing exemplifies the word,”Apathy”,more than this disaster.

  411. Tyrone Baker says:

    Yes it should be rebuilt, think of it as your own home for 30 years, land, memories, growing up, goofinig off getting your first job, your first date and getting married there would you let all that go because of a natural disaster. Why no you wouldn’t, look at all the other cities that had natural disasters, they rebuilt and improved there cities bigger and better. So why can’t N.O. rebuild, do I think it should be rebuilt the same way no.. They should think of the property owners and long term storms coming up and the safty of the new town and people in it, think of the idea of little Itily a water town with bridges, boat docks and water garges for your boats under your own home, having a ocean veiw and access to the ocean 24/7. Having a lttle Itily in United States right in our own front yard with only minutes or hours away from fun and adventure filled with all of the new technolgy and designs of the new age.

  412. Eric the Adventurer says:

    Here’s a well-thought-through article which appeared on the Op-Ed page, Page
    A23, in the National Edition of The New York Times newspaper, dated Friday, September 2, 2005. on the subject of New Orleans and the disaster there caused by Hurricane Katrina (please do take the time to read this article carefully – its writer makes some very good points – Eric):

    By Mark Fischetti (a contributing editor to ‘Scientific American’

    Lenox, Massachusetts

    How a 1998 plan to save New Orleans fizzled out.

    The deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina are heart-rending. The
    suffering of survivors is wrenching. Property destruction is
    shocking. But perhaps the most agonizing part is that much of what
    happened in New Orleans this week might have been avoided.

    Watching the TV images of the storm approaching the Mississippi
    Delta on Sunday, I was sick to my stomach. Not only because I knew
    the hell it could unleash (I wrote an article for ‘Scientific
    American’ in 2001 that described the very situation that was
    unfolding) but because I knew that a large-scale engineering plan
    called ‘Coast 2050’ – developed in 1998 by scientists, Army
    engineers, metropolitan planners and Louisiana officials – might have
    helped save the city, but had gone unrealized.

    The debate over New Orleans’s vulnerability to hurricanes has
    raged for a century. By the late 1990’s, scientists at Louisiana
    State University and the University of New Orleans had perfected
    computer models showing exactly how a sea surge would overwhelm the
    levee system, and had recommended a set of solutions. The Army Corps
    of Engineers, which built the levees, had proposed different projects.

    Yet some scientists reflexively dis-regarded practical
    considerations pointed out by the Army engineers; more often, the
    engineers scoffed at scientific studies indicating that the basic
    facts of geology and hydrology meant that significant design changes
    were needed. Meanwhile, local politicians lobbied Congress for
    financing for myriad special interest groups, from oil companies to
    oyster farmers. Congress did not hear a unified voice, making it
    easier to turn a deaf ear.

    Fed up with the splintered efforts, Len Bahr, then the head of
    the Louisiana Governor’s office of Coastal Activities, somehow
    dragged all the participants to one table in 1998 and got them to
    agree on a coordinated solution: Coast 2050. Completing every
    recommended project over a decade or more would have cost an
    estimated $14 billion, so Louisiana turned to the federal government.
    While this may seem an astronomical sum, it isn’t in terms of large
    public works; in 2000 Congress began a $7-billion engineering program
    to refresh the dying Florida Everglades. But Congress had other
    priorities, Louisiana politicians had other priorities, and the magic
    moment of consensus was lost.

    Thus, in true American fashion, we ignored an inevitable problem
    until disaster focused our attention. Fortunately, as we rebuild New
    Orleans, we can protect it – by engineering solutions that work with
    nature, not against it.

    The conceit that we can control the natural world is what made
    New Orleans vulnerable. For more than a century the Army Corps, with
    Congress’s blessing, leveed the Mississippi River to prevent its
    annual floods, so that farms and industries could expand along its
    banks. Those same floods, however, had dumped huge amounts of
    sediment and freshwater across the Mississippi Delta, rebuilding each
    year what Gulf tides and storms had worn away and holding back
    infusions of salt water that kill marsh vegetation. These vast delta
    wetlands created a lush, hardy buffer that could absorb sea surges
    and weaken high winds.

    The flooding at the river’s mouth also sent great volumes of
    sediment west and east into the Gulf of Mexico, to a string of
    barrier islands that cut down surges and waves, compensating for
    regular ocean erosion. Stopping the Mississippi’s floods starved the
    wetlands and the islands; both are rapidly disintegrating, leaving
    the city naked against the sea.

    What can we do to restore these natural protections? Although
    the parties that devised Coast 2050, and other independent scientists
    and engineers who have floated rival plans, may disagree on details,
    they do concur on several major initiatives that would shield New
    Orleans, reconstitute the delta and, as a side benefit, improve ports
    and shipping lanes for the oil and natural gas industries in the Gulf
    of Mexico.

    * 1) Cut several channels in the levees on the Mississippi River’s
    southern bank (the side that doesn’t abut the city) and secure them
    with powerful floodgates that could be opened at certain times of the
    year to allow sediment and freshwater to flow down into the delta, re-
    establishing it.

    * 2) Build a new navigation channel from the Gulf into the
    Mississippi, about 40 miles south of New Orleans, so ships don’t have
    to enter the river at its three southernmost tips 30 miles farther
    away. For decades the Corps has dredged shipping channels along those
    final 30 miles to keep them navigable, creating underwater chutes
    that propel river sediment out into the deep ocean. The dredging
    could then be stopped, the river mouth would fill in naturally and
    sediment would again spill to the barrier islands, lenghening and
    widening them. Some planners also propose a modern port at the new
    access point that would replace those along the river that are too
    shallow to handle the huge new ships that are now being built

    * 3) Erect huge seagates across the pair of narrow straits that
    connect the eastern edge of Lake Pontchartrain, which lies north of
    the city, to the gulf. Now, any hurricane that blows in from the
    south (as did Katrina) will push a wall of water through these
    straits into the huge lake, which in turn will threaten to overflow
    into the city. That is what has filled the bowl that is New Orleans
    this week. But seagates at the straits can stop the wall of water
    from flowing in. The Netherlands has built similar gates to hold back
    the turbulent North Sea and they work splendidly.

    * 4) Finally, and most obviously, raise, extend and strengthen the
    city’s existing but aging levees, canal walls and pumping systems
    that worked so poorly in recent days.

    It’s hard to say how much of this work could have been completed
    by today had Coast 2050 become a reality. Certainly, the delta
    wetlands and barrier islands would not have rebounded substantially
    yet. But undoubtedly progress would have been made that would have
    spared someone’s life,someone’s home, some jazz club or gumbo joint,
    some city district, some part of the region’s unique culture that the
    entire country revels in. And we would have been well on our way to a
    long-term solution. For there is one thing we know for sure:
    hurricanes will howl through the Mississippi Delta again.

  413. Mark says:

    Bulldoze it. Clean it up. Knock down all the levees. Turn it into another Everglades. We’ll call it New Orleans National Park and Monument. Please don’t rebuild that city. It was a mistake to have put anything in that geographical location in the first place.

  414. Karen says:

    It has been said that New Orleans is a city in a bowl and one of the most vulnerable of American cities. Scerarios have been run for years predicting the exact results we are seeing now, but despite that funds to prevent erosion and strengthen levis, etc. have been diverted to other areas. With all the discussion of global warming and more hurricanes as a result, how many times do we have to witness death and devastation before we realize that it does not make sense to play the odds. We all pay through increased insurance costs and taxes. A memorial of some type makes sense and the creation of a New New Orleans may be possible in a less vulnerable spot. As we see that business is not strong – it seems to make more sense to spend the billions improving the economy, and education systems and working to bring business and skills to the residents. There is a wonderful culture that can continue to flourish – just not in the bottom of a bowl that has water always at the rim and always vulnerable. Rest assured there will probably be more category 4 and 5 hurricanes not fewer and if we don’t learn from this, we’ll see this scenario in many more coastal communities.

  415. rod says:

    New Orleans is a major import and export port for the United States of America. The city needs to be re-built in Australia cyclone tracey struck Darwin in 1994 and the city rebuilt and came back stronger and more vibrant than it was before. Likewise where I am from we had the floods in Brisbane in 1974 much like the situation in New Orleans today in 2005 we came back from that our city was under water and we re-built the city center. Rebuilt New Orleans and make it a bigger better and stronger city. My thoughts go out to the people of New Orleans I know how you feel having been through cyclones. My prayers are with you in this time of need and hope that you come back a bigger and stronger city like we did in Brisbane Queensland Australia in 1974.

  416. magichands says:

    When you talk about restoring the wetlands. There used to be large cypress forests between New Orleans and the gulf. These were cut for lumber. They have not regrown because we also imported by accident a critter called a nutria. They eat the small cypress saplings and other vegetation. So, it isn’t all about flood more sediment. When the animal
    rights groups started throwing paint on fur coats in California the price for nutria went through the floor and the nutria population went through the ceiling. So, they eat the marsh lands into the sea.

  417. Jett. says:


    Your’e comparisions of New Orleans too Brisbane is ludicrous,both in terms of the scale of comparison destruction,and also just the fact you are mentioning a city like Brisbane with a city of the greatness of New Orleans.

  418. Will says:

    Im not saying we should rebuild all parts of NoLa but the historic sections and some surrounding areas need to be saved. The surrounding land could simply be restored back into wetlands. New Orleans could turn into a city about the 75% the size of Manhattan. The saved area could be protected by a dam-like levee system. Monorail lines could be the preffered means of transportation. In my mind I see an area like lower manhattan in the saved areas of the city (aside from the garden district).

    It really sickens me to hear Americans say “sure we should abandon one of our most historic cities”. When you all know if this was San Francisco or Los Angeles or New York everyone would cry out to save them.

    Im sorry but I have to call BS on everyone who says we shouldnt rebuild. Your opinions are simply invalid unless you say we shouldnt rebuild any city on the west coast if it gets destroyed by an earthquake. Lets make a rule. No cities on fault lines. No cities below sea level. No cities near volcanic activity. As a matter a fact lets just go ahead and evacuate the Hawaiian Islands now for safe measure. By the way we should ban all airline flights because we know with total certainty that in the next few years atleast a few flights will crash and hundreds will die.

    I swear people’s need for total 100% safety at all times is laughable. Earth is not a safe place. You live on a violent planet…..get used to it.

    We shouldn’t even be having this discussion.

  419. Dennis says:

    in this poll: 54 percent of americans say that New Orleans should be “abandoned”. I have to say that it make sense to me. I don’t think our country can afford to foot the bill to rebuild it knowing that we will never be able to guarantee that something like that will never happen again.

    But I understand that this makes many people sad. I’ve never been there, so I have no way of knowing the culture and feelings that make people so attached to it. But in many ways, don’t think they can ever get that back. I don’t think they can tear down a historic building and rebuild it and have it be just as historic. I don’t think it can ever be the same again.

  420. frankNguyen says:

    I say, we look at N.O in both way. Advantages and Disadvantages( Look at N.O as a piece of property investment). If the lever on which side is more heavier than the other, then we will follow thru with it. Need analize it in all aspects more carefully before do it. God HELPs America at this century since we have to many troubles.

  421. CurtB says:

    It appears that the oldest parts of the city the French Quarter and the downtown skyscrapers are mostly intact and not under water. The place must have the most outrageous stench right now. I suppose in that, New Orleans has its own character too…. I can’t imagine how it will look and what the smell will be once the water is pumped out. The animal carcasses, waste and oil will be left to bake in the sun for a few months. How much are they going to pay construction crews to go work in the contaminated waste anyway? What sort of new disease strain have we invented now? New Orleans syndrome?
    We’ll have a lot to deal with if we intend to rebuild the city. It’s been great having the irreplaceable culture of New Orleans, but are we trying to rebuild the culture with bricks and mortar too? Thanks.

  422. alan says:

    I think the whole city should be relocated to higher grounds

  423. Nick says:

    Why would we rebuild with federal tax money.. (our money) a city below sea level?
    Also, can someone explain to me why the people of New Orleans couldn’t have just walked out of the town if they were too poor to own transportation.
    Setting up another human trap for the beat down poor in that town doesn’t seem to me to be helping them.

  424. Patrick says:

    Can the likes of Will, and others, who advocate rebuilding New Orleans, explain to me how a city entirely dependent on a levee system can ever be completely protected from a terrorist atrocity? As i understand it, the levees that breached were towards the Lake Pontchartrain side of the city, not the Mississippi side, which is higher.

    What happens when terrorists set off a series of bombs in the middle of the night and the city is flooded at night, hundreds of thousands of people die in their sleep? This whole situation was expected and it was still a complete disaster, how on earth can the levee system be protected from terrorists?

    And then, do we rebuild again? Can someone explain to me, given the high level of unique risk in building a coastal city surrounded by water below sea-level, how on earth can you protect this city from terorists?


  425. Jim Bruett says:

    The petrochemical industry, port facilities, and the old sections of town where the tourist industry exists are the least affected. The tall downtown buildings are in good shape.

    Now all that is needed is housing for the workers. That’s FEMA’s job.
    Local small time corruption will be replaced by big time beltway corruption.

    In the end, many of the evacuees will never return, by the time the place is fit for children and the old and frail they will have put down new roots.

    Others will arrive however, and every year they will have a reenactment of the historic local festival.

    Politicians will cut ribbons upon the completion of the new mile high KBR levies.

    But the new city won’t be NO.

    So given the realpolitic of the issue, it’s a silly question.

  426. Barry Brown says:

    In the end, nothing anyone says, whether the Mayor, Governor, or Congress, will have any effect on whether New Orleans is rebuilt. The city was built where it was because it answered a need – and it will be rebuilt because that need has not gone away in over 300 years. Galveston was rebuilt after a hurricane literally wiped out the entire island and it has never recovered to its original affluence, but that was because the need that caused Galveston to be built in the first place went away. Opening the Houston Ship Channel and Port of Houston virtually guaranteed that Galveston would fade. It was much easier to provide rail and trucking service to and from Houston than from an island. I don’t see that happening to NOLA.

    However, Galveston did raise the entire island (and all the buildings left on the island) seven feet and built a seawall all the way across the ocean side of the island. And they built a new causeway to provide easier egress from the city for those fleeing the next hurricane. And this was done in the early 1900’s. And without Federal aid, I might add.

    I would suppose that if I were given the option of overseeing the restoration of NOLA, I would attempt to raise as much of the city as possible above sea level. Even if existing building were allowed to stay at their current level, all new structures would be required to be at least five feet above sea level. And yes, I understand that raising the city an average of ten feet would be an engineering challenge, but the one natural resource in plentiful supply in NOLA is river silt.

    Raising the city would have at least a two-fold effect. It would reduce the effect of flooding whenever the next disaster strikes, and it would cover the existing level of possibly contaminated soil with ten feet or more of clean soil.

    Again, if I were in charge (perish the thought) I would probably lay out the city using pretty much the same layout as it had before the Hurricane. While it would be nice to have nice wide streets that all went in a sane direction, it would also be pretty boring. You don’t want to change the character of the city that has developed over centuries.

    And last, I would require all new building to be built to withstand 140 MPH winds. And yes, I realize that Katrina had winds up to 175 MPH, but the highest recorded windspeed in NOLA was 102 MPH. This might require steel framing for houses and certainly incurs expenses for high-rise buildings, but the additional engineering and materials cost would be small compared to having to rebuild everything again.

    So, basically, here is my personal rebuilding plan for NOLA:
    1. All new structures have to be at least five feet above sea level at the lowest level.
    2. All new structures must be built to withstand 140MPH winds.
    3. All new structures have to be built along previously existing roads.

    And I would prefer that all new structures fit into the ‘spirit’ of NOLA. After that, it’s up to the companies and residents to build their city. And, because the need for New Orleans is still there, it will be re-built. Let’s just try to make it less expensive and dangerous next time!

  427. J. Foran says:

    The bible says, do not build on unstable ground. Look it up.

    New Orleans should never have been build where it was. I say – DO NOT REBUILD New Orleans in the old location. If the USA is to foot this bill, why throw away all of that money on ‘unstable ground’.

    Mr. President and FEMA – are you listening?

    True the misplaced persons of New Orleans is terrible and not to blame – but they DO NOT have to be put back in the same situation on ‘unstable ground’.

    REBuild only where levees ARE NOT needed.

  428. Stephen says:

    Ok, fuck you bitches that say “don’t rebuild”. Let’s just demolish Los Angeles while we’re at it. That’s a disaster waiting to happen, too. IT’S SITTING ON A GOD DAMN FAULT LINE!! If there was an earthquake that destroyed Los Angeles, REBUILD!! I bet you republican basterds would say that, too. What is something like this happened to racist Texas? The government would be there in a heartbeat. I was born in New Olreans, so it kills me to sit here in North Carolina and watch you fuckers say “Don’t rebuild, it’s pointless”. DAMN YOU TO HELL!!! Let’s wipe out your city and see how you feel. And the posts about Iraq. The blog archive’s called “SHOULD NEW OLREANS BE REBUILT”, not “Should we be in Iraq”, you fucking retards!!

  429. Look, the bible has nothing to do with this. It’s a government, not a church you idiots. What about separation of govenment and state? The argument of whether to or not to rebuild New Olreans should not be based on religion. Isn’t that what we are trying to avoid in Iraq and Afganistan? Isn’t that what our founding fathers did NOT want? We can’t EVER make federal laws and actions based on religion. It’s unconstitutional. And I know someone’s gonna say, “What about the pledge? It says “under God”?” That shouldn’t be there either.

  430. Ashley says:

    Yes i do agree that we should rebuild New Orleans. Some people are saying no dont rebuild it bc its not safe…OF COURSE ITS NOT SAFE, THERE ISNT A PLACE IN THE FUCKING WORLD THAT IS SAFE! i mean come on people! there are dangers everywhere and no person in the world is able to make the world or just one place completely safe, so y not just make the ppl who loved new orleans happy and rebuild the city! i’ve never been there b4 but it sounds like it was tons of fun to be there specially when it was mardi gras! :-)

  431. Linda says:

    No,all of New Orleans should not be rebuilt. The city was in a shambles even before Katrina hit. The French Quarter should be built back because of historical purposes. The port should be restored and their families put in houses raised 18 feet above the ground.In fact any residential housing should be rebuilt 18 feet above the ground,just like beach houses on the gulf coast.The seafood industry should be rescued also. The shrimpers and fisherman should all have their boats replaced by the government Lord knows we waste enough money on things like Iraq.I also believe no building in New Orleans should be insurable. When the next hurricane hits it should just come out of the pockets of those who choose to live in paradise.

  432. Nick says:

    Once again I will say…why should the U.S. taxpayers be asked to rebuild a
    city built below sea level? For an opening volly…we just sent them 51 billion, with a “B” to get things started. To put a few things in perspective, that would be a train car load of quarters!…well, anyway I wish that is all it was. In reality it would be 102 trains, each with 100 cars! Each car loaded to the max. with approx. 200,000 pounds of quarters in each car! Will that save one man, woman, or little child from the hands of an out of control dictator in the world or another such non self-serving purpose?
    After approximately 60 years of democratic liberal rule, it would seem to me that all social problems, such as poor people living in substandard housing below sea level and infrastructure problems in the area would have been solved. Instead it seems to conjure up thougths of what else can the government do for us. Liberalism has failed there also.

  433. Linda says:

    Southeast Louisiana born and raised. YES rebuild my hometown. There is no other place like it in the US. Would you want people to write off your home after a castrophe?

    • Lol says:

      Because it is a disaster that keeps happening and will keep happening often. Because we have enough common sense to know when an area is not suitable for a city. Because some people have to pay for homeowners insurance rather than have the government step in over and over as if they are surprised by flooding in the bowl that is N.O.

  434. Julian says:

    If it’s such a good idea to rebuild the place, all you folks advocating it should have no trouble dipping into your own pockets and paying for it! If you want to live there, PAY FOR IT! I have no problems with that, but I don’t want to see my money going into a place that’s going to have to be rebuilt again in 10 years or 20 years or who knows how long?

  435. Heri says:

    I say all the refugees should be relocated to Philadelphia. They will never know the difference.

  436. Ken Shigley says:

    Abandonment of New Orleans is unthinkable. It’s not just a cultural icon. The port and petroleum facilities are important to the national economy.

    Just as unthinkable is reconstruction in a bowl below sea level and below the level of the river and lake in an area subject to increasingly frequent hurricanes on terrain slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.

    New Orleans should launch an urban design competition with a focus on long-term environmental and economic sustainability. New construction standards should be resistant to hurricanes, flooding, mold and Formosa termites, and should respect the architectural and cultural traditions of New Orleans.

    The deeply flooded areas should be condemned and bulldozed, preserving the most historically significant structures in the flood zone. Even buildings that appear sound will be infested with toxic mold, pollution and Formosa termites, and commercially uninsurable. Compensate the owners and provide relocation assistance to the residents. Let the occupants back in to search for salvageable remnants of their lives, but not to live in the damaged structures.

    Fortunately, the areas most vital to recovery of the New Orleans economy are mostly either undamaged or repairable. The facilities vital to the tourism, convention, port and petrochemical industries must be repaired quickly to provide jobs and restore the regional economy.

    The areas bulldozed should be divided into two categories.

    Areas flooded more than, say, 12 to 15 feet deep should be converted to a greenbelt that would be a legacy for all future generations of New Orleanians as well as an adjunct to an economy dependent on convention and tourism business.

    The areas flooded less deeply should be built either on stilts or by raising the ground level to an elevation above sea level. Thousands of barges of rock could be brought down river from quarries across America. An earth conveyor of the sort recently used in construction of the Atlanta airport’s fifth runway could be built to transport rock and dirt from docks on the river to the area designated for infill.

    New construction should reflect the flavor and architectural standards of New Orleans, while incorporating the constructions standards and amenities of today. The new New Orleans would combine a mix of residential, commercial and public construction, both stronger and denser than what it replaced.

    Housing patterns that were a legacy of slavery and discrimination must not be repeated. A light rail transit system could combine the technology of today with the spirit of the old New Orleans streetcars.

    Simultaneously, there must be a restoration of the wetlands and coastline that have been destroyed over the past 70 years. Breach the levees with floodgates to allow controlled flooding and help restore marshes. Selectively close canals through the marshes, that contribute to erosion and allow storm surge to approach the city. Use sediment traps, sand pumps and dredging to help restore marshes and barrier islands. Rapidly develop a strategy for management of the Mississippi and Missouri River basins to reverse the loss of sediment coming into the Delta over the last 70 years. Immediately increase the bounty on nutria (invasive rodents from South American that eat marsh vegetation) and reduce the bureaucratic red tape for the bounty program.

    Someday I hope to take my grandchildren to visit New Orleans, stroll through the restored French Quarter, walk on through a vital, modern city that rose from disaster, and watch them play in a park with the grandchildren of today’s flood victims.

  437. Pat r. says:

    The issues of rebuilding New Orleans or reinforcing the cliffs in California where mudslides occurs reside in whether or not the entire nation is prepared to subsidize the expense of these vulnerable areas, or whether it’s time to recognize that they are not suitable for housing.

    While this generation inherited the problem, curing it will undoubtedly leave the legacy for future generations to pay for – a topic of concern already with the aging of America and how to manage that problem.

    Even animals learn to build their nests elsewhere when nature destroys it repeatedly. For humans to defy nature by building where known geologic problems exist is much like building on a volcano or an earthquake faultline. Good logic suggests that pride or defiance should not be the false pride that substitutes for safety. While man may defy God, defying nature is far more likely to produce disaster.

    Where America offers a land mass large enough to accomodate its people without having to sacrifice safety to nature, citizens would be well advised to resist the temptation to challenge nature by working harmoniously with her for their own safety, and less costly recoveries. It’s possible that a location further inland than New Orleans may be more ideal than rebuilding what nature has swiftly already washed away.

    • Lol says:

      You had me until you said God. It’s kind of like mentioning Santa in a serious conversation.

  438. KnowItAll says:

    I think i have come up with a practical solution:
    Lets all go back to where we came from and let the indians have their country back.

    Everyones talking about racism? White people better start thinking about how this country came to be, by slaughtering the people that were here before us. Black people, terrible how they got here, should now be glad they are in this country instead of africa. If the government was offering an all expense paid relocation program to africa in attempt to make ammends i wonder just how many would go. All other races should be thankful that this country allows them to come and enjoy the benefits of this free and prosperous nation. Think about an american relocating to jordan, saudi arabia or any other country to open a gas station or something with that government’s blessing. This country was destined to become a melting pot of all races and religions to live in harmony, not a white supremist nation. Hitler allready proved that aint a good idea. After thinking about things the past week in regards to N.O. I say rebuild it if thats what makes New Orleanians happy. But I just can’t see how it will ever be again what it once was. I don’t think its fair how the federal government seems to be getting all the blame. I may be wrong, I don’t know all the facts, but it seems the local and state government abandoned the people, and the federal government had to come in and save the day. disaster planing and preparedness should start at the local level, and I think think N.O.’s local and state authorities failed their people miserably in that respect. I’m not saying the feds should no blame, but did the mayor and gov. not know that N.O. contained alot of poor black people? why didn’t they have a better disaster plan? there didn’t even seem to be any sign of a central command to kick in to handle the situation until the federal folks stepped in. the local government just seemd to disapear. The news media doesn’t seem to be saying much about what the local and state gov. tried to do to prevent or control this mess, just bashing the feds about they should’ve but didn’t do and don’t care about the people their. Maybe some of you folks that know more about this could provide some insight on this matter.

  439. Niner says:

    why the hell would we rebuild it just to watch the same amount of people die. and the same amount of buildings lost. i mean i like throwing away money too. but only for something that i’m going to enjoy for a while. nobody knows how long it’s going to be until the next hurricane it could be tomorrow or it could be next year. IDIOTS.

  440. Niner says:

    i just a comment from stephen. i’m sorry for what i said and i feel you on your comments. i’m sure if my city was gone i would feel really bad especially if i knew some people that lived there. but it’s not like you guys can’t find somewhere else to live why not start a new huge city some where else instead of on the gulf.
    and about los angeles it’s not like there’s an earthquake every month. but hurricanes. they are actually very common. i mean florida deals with this shit like four times a year. they’re doin just fine. so suck it up and move.

  441. New Orleans says:

    A note to “What The F***:”

  442. New Orleans says:

    Continued from above:
    so you dont like po’ black people and white trash??
    with your negative opinions and choice of wording, you sound like white trash yourself, Sir. Reality check.

  443. kalli says:

    After reading over 300 of these postings I have one conclusion….It’s not about rebuilding or not rebuilding. But look at our Country, our World. I feel shame at times for being a white person after reading some of these postings, (Although I wouldn’t kiss my child with the potty mouthes some of you have) and my heart weeps for the lose of life, property, heritage and spirit that so many have to sleep with tonight.

    I thank God we live in a country that we can express our selves and feelings on a website! But pointing the finger calling foul!! at anyone that does not share you point of view, is NOT what America is about. I don’t have to agree with what you say, But I (we all) can take someone elses point of view and consider it, maybe even be a little respectful for why they may fell this way.

    Since when is profanity an effective way of communication? People you don’t have use filthy language to be an effective leader. Such vocab just makes you look ignorant…

    Which leads to my conclusion, ignorance / lack of education is the REAL enemy. People–Further yourselves… education is so powerful. (Although very few things compete with an open mind).

    Be respectful of people’s feelings in a time of crisis- That is ONE thing that separates us from animals.

  444. Dan says:

    Reply to Stephen:

    Re: Stephen Says: (September 10th, 2005 at 2:54 pm)
    “I bet you republican basterds would say that, too.” Apparently, you’re a Democrat?? That would explain why you want something from your government (and from taxpayers).

    “What if something like this happened to racist Texas?” Racist Texas huh? Has YOUR state or ANY OTHER state taken in close to as many refugees as Texas? Why would a racist state do that? I guess that makes you wrong doesn’t it?

    I say, those who live in areas predisposed to natural disasters can move or pay whatever premiums insurance companies would require to insure your assets if you choose to live in those predetermined hazardous areas.

    Does that make to much sense?

  445. Greenhouseray says:

    New Orleans should be rebuilt for sure. How about disassembling all of the historic buildings and storing them. Relocate temporarily all of the cemetaries. Invite all the States that have no place to dispose of thier clean solid waste to fill up the bowl of New Orleans. Cover the mound thus formed with the Mississippi silt that is clogging its entry in to the gulf. Rebuild the stored buildings, bring back the cemetaries. Build new homes. Repopulate the city. Celebrate the largest ,best ,most magnificent Mardi Gra the world has ever experienced.
    In the meantime pray that all swuffering will soon be ended.

  446. Why says:

    Why rebuild NO? Just visit your local strip club if you want to see tits!!

  447. dude love says:

    check this out…what a typical idiot. him and the blame game. accusing natural disasters on things that are completely irrelevant to the situation just so he can get more attention.

  448. john says:

    new orleans should be built cuz mardi gra was there and mardi gra is sweet and dont even say otherwise that mardi gra isnt cool cuz it is and shut up Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell ur jus jelous cuz u suckas got served

  449. Raymond says:

    New Orleans should be built because mardi gras goes down there every year and if u dont like mardi gras, there is severely something wrong with your mind perspective and u are a sick/twsited individual….Pat Robertson and Jerry Faldwell need to shutup…oooo shutdownnnnn!

  450. pat says:

    Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell aboviously are jelous wish they went to ardi gras t get action

  451. Joseph says:

    Pat Robertsone and Jerry Faldwell are seriously just jealous becuase they do not have any female remotely close to them in there life..the only girls they have kissed, is there mothers…i agree with Pat up above

  452. mike says:

    Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell wish they got ass

  453. frank says:

    Pat Robertson And Jerry Faldwell are gay

  454. A.R.T. says:

    –In response to Pat Robertson and Jerry Faldwell comment,
    It is very intriguing how a person can come to the conclusion of why Hurricane Katrina happened to New Orleans when their thoughts can’t reach the clouds. No man on the this earth can speak for God only God knows why He allowed Hurricane Katrina to take place. So you remember this, nothing disaterous occurs without a warning.

  455. Craig says:

    I look forward to your post on rebuilding lower Manhattan and Queens….

    • Lol says:

      The financial hub of the world with millions of residents which floods every 100-200 years (and not to the same degree as Louisiana) and cost less to repair than Louisiana? The party city that is below sea level and is constantly destroyed by flooding only to rebuild the very same walls that never hold back the water? I look forward to hearing your plan on moving manhattan and paying for that. It would only bring down the world economy. Same thing though, makes sense.

      • lolatyou says:

        Rofl New York is a shithole that everybody is moving out of now because nobody can afford to live there. Meanwhile people are flocking to New Orleans, even people from the ripoff capital off the world.

        But New Orleans is just exporting half of the nations grain and are a top 20 GDP per capita metro area in the nation. Nice try.

  456. lolatu says:

    So… nearly 10 years later!

    “A recent report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center concluded that over 10,000 energy, petrochemical and related advanced manufacturing jobs could be added in the region by 2020; in contrast the digital media sector was projected to expand by roughly 2,200 positions. Finding ways to accelerate this development, while using new revenues to shore up the fragile ecosystem, needs to become the primary focus of new development efforts.”

    “The municipal government is hoping to capitalize on, and reinforce, the trend by developing a $2 billion state-of-the-art medical research center and attracting top-flight scientists to run labs in two new research hospitals. It wants the “knowledge economy,” as the mayor puts it, to take hold.”

    And you jerks were about to throw away one of the worlds most fun, beautiful, friendliest cities at the mouth of our most important waterway. All because a freak storm packing more energy than any that has ever hit the US overwhelmed levees that were not maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers in the first place! Oh, let’s not mention the shipping canal that was put in place by Uncle Sam that funneled that 30′ storm surge and busted the levees.

    In summary, the feds helped screw us and some snarky little jerk many miles away wanted to abandon us the next day. Well we’re back and we’re going stronger than ever. Millions of others thought differently and came to help us rebuild. But thanks for the vote of confidence anyways, asshole.