Rebuilding New Orleans?

There’s a good discussion going on in the comments under my post asking how New Orleans should be rebuilt.

To get an idea of what it would take to make New Orleans safe, go to this story in the Times-Picayune’s all-too-prescient 2002 series, which I linked to before Katrina hit the coast and which exactly predicted what would happen when the big one hit the city:

Based on current plans and proposals, here are some changes that coming generations may see:

# A giant wall, more than 30 feet high in places, cuts through New Orleans and across Jefferson Parish to create a “safe haven” should a storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain top the levees. The levees themselves are 10 feet or more higher than today, and some are crowned with a sea wall, blocking views of the lake. A large collapsible wall sits atop some levees, ready to be raised during hurricanes….

# From New Orleans to Morgan City, thousands of homes have roofs fortified to resist high winds and are equipped with steel storm shutters. Outside the levees, most homes have been raised on pilings 15 feet high or more. Main roads and highways are at similar heights.

# Some communities have built elevated shelters capable of withstanding 175-mph winds, similar to those being constructed in Bangladesh today….

: See also this all-too-accurate prediction from the T-P on the success of evacuation:

Once it’s certain a major storm is about to hit, evacuation offers the best chance for survival. But for those who wait, getting out will become nearly impossible as the few routes out of town grow hopelessly clogged. And 100,000 people without transportation will be especially threatened.

The question of rebuilding New Orleans — whether and how — is not just an understandably emotional decision and certainly an economic one but it is also an ethical issue. We knew this was going to happen and we were not prepared.

  • kat

    I have wondered why no sandbagging was done to try protect the levees. Would it have been a futile exercise? I remember Florida doing tons of sandbagging at one warning–why not New Orleans?? Or is it a stupid question? I’m not an engineer, just wondering.

  • David

    >We knew this was going to happen and we were not prepared.

    Looks like our fearless leader didn’t know.

    “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

    It’s hard to “anticipate” anything when you can’t think of asking questions on you own but rather just delegate all your thinking over to Condi and Dick.

    It really is amazing that you are wasting bandwidth on if NO should be rebuilt or not even while thousands are in harms way. Did you ask days after 9/11 any “hard” questions because they “needed” to be asked? Have you ever asked if the WTC land should ever be rebuilt? Why don’t you go ask all them retirees in Florida if their homes should be rebuilt after a hurricane comes through there, why don’t you ask those in the midwest who deal with toradoes if their land should be rebuilt, after a massive earth quake hits Cali will you be asking if it should be rebuilt while thousands are still accounted for? I think not.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    David, I strongly suspect you’re a moron.

    Jeff, the other thing here is that there are PLENTY of places where people live happily in the face of a hundred-year catastrophe: people still live on the slopes of the volcano that did in Pompei. People will rebuild in New Orleans because they can reasonably expect that this won’t happen again in their lifetimes.

  • Angelos

    “For instance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested $27 million for this fiscal year to pay for hurricane-protection projects around Lake Pontchartrain. The Bush administration countered with $3.9 million, and Congress eventually provided $5.7 million.”

    But hey we need more money for tax cuts.

    The Dutch are laughing at us, because we actually allowed ourselves to be unprepeared for this. Granted, they have a whole country to protect, not a bunch of mostly poor black people. And really, when I can get me some tax cuts, who cares about the poor black people?

    Look, of course the real estate will be reused, because of the ports/trade/oil. But the history is gone. And the new prices there will be out of control, so it will become completely gentrified. The souls of the city is likely dead.

  • Angelos

    Argh, bring back preview! But glad you got rid of the code…

  • Angelos

    Olbermann has a great post about this.

    “…Yesterday, an e-mail went out from the league to each of the 30 [NBA] teams instructing them to make provisions for playing the Hornets somewhere else this season.

    There’s only one reason for that. The NBA has examined the situation and has serious doubts that there will be people in New Orleans to go see basketball any time this winter, or roads for them to travel in, or public health conditions permitting 15,000 people to gather in one space.”

    Yes, sports are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But business is business. And there will no business in NOLA for a long time.

    “And the remedy might even be worse than the cure. Guy Gugliotta and Peter Whoriskey write in The Washington Post this morning that scientists are afraid of what happens after they drain the floodwaters back into Lake Pontchartrain. It’s not just water any more, they say, it’s a toxic soup now being dumped into the delta surrounding the city. Getting it out of people’s houses is one thing. Getting it out of the ecosystem is — in the worst-case scenario — more expensive than the Gross National Product of this country.”


  • kat

    There should have been a plan in place long before Bush took office.
    I doubt the Dutch are gloating as you are, Angelos–they have some class and compassion.

  • Were they prepared, yes or no, leaves out a third possibility: deliberately going unprepared. That is, you only prepare for the events small enough that you can imagine having a plan that “fits” the scale of the disaster. Once the crisis gets so large than no feasible plan can be devised, the very idea of preparation becomes a myth. Then the authorities move over to the probability side, and console themselves with how unlikely that particular event is.

  • It is now official. President George W. Bush, Mr. Compassionate Conservative, has a Compassion Deficit. And as I predicted yesterday, he is turning to conservative uber-villain Bill Clinton to save him from it.

    For the full story, see:

    “Bush’s Compassion Deficit: Clinton to the Rescue.”

  • Angelos

    Brilliant, AA.

    BTW, the’ve taken to calling New Orleans “Lake George”…

    Tells you something.

  • Angelos

    I should take “class and compassion” lessons from a rascist!

    There was a plan, and a budget for levee work, and a working FEMA, from 1993-2000, kat.

    But we can’t afford preparedness when we have to give out tax breaks. Did you not think the chickens would come home to roost?!?!?!?

    If this was a bomb in a container sitting in a NO port, is this the response you’d like to see from your dear leader? WHAT THE HELL have they been doing for 4 years, in the name of homeland security?

    4 days later, your president decides to send help that will take another number of days to get there from FRIGGIN BALTIMORE!!!!

    We. Had. 5. Days. Notice. Those ships should have been trailing the storm by half a day, or as close as would be nautically safe.

    Now the horse lawyer is lying on national television “I must say, this storm is much much bigger than anyone expected.”. Bush said the same thing. The governor wnet on TV to lie today, saying they only had a “couple hours” notcie! Chertoff went on TV this morning to blame the people who were too poor to evacuate! They spent more fucking time on their SPIN PREPARATION than they did on the emergency response.

    Crawl back under your rock, idiot.

  • kat

    I have better things to do than converse with classless pricks. Yeah, it was all Bush’s fault. What a leftist imbecile Asselos is!!!!

  • Ravo

    Angelos…GET REAL

    The facts are … we are up 15% in yearly tax revenue as a result of those tax cuts.

    The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%!

    “Top 5% pay 53.25% of all income taxes (Down from 2000 figure: 56.47%). The top 10% pay 64.89% (Down from 2000 figure: 67.33%). The top 25% pay 82.9% (Down from 2000 figure: 84.01%). The top 50% pay 96.03% (Down from 2000 figure: 96.09%). The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.97% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 17.53 (2000: 20.81%) of all income. The top 5% earns 31.99 (2000: 35.30%). The top 10% earns 43.11% (2000: 46.01%); the top 25% earns 65.23% (2000: 67.15%), and the top 50% earns 86.19% (2000: 87.01%) of all the income.

    The Rich Earned Their Dough, They Didn’t Inherit It (Except Ted Kennedy)

    The bottom 50% is paying a tiny bit of the taxes, so you can’t give them much of a tax cut by definition. Yet these are the people to whom the Democrats claim to want to give tax cuts. Remember this the next time you hear the “tax cuts for the rich” business. Understand that the so-called rich are about the only ones paying taxes anymore.

  • Ravo

    Ya know, I get tired of this liberal rhetoric. You can’t give tax cuts to those who don’t pay taxes.

    We all use this countries roads, defense, resources. The sad truth is there are many sitting on their butts…who have contributed nothing to the support of this country and it’s benefits, but have lead parasitic lives.

    And… They are the ones whose voices complain the loudest.

    Often I think, they are the ones who have vast amounts of time to complain in forums like these….the rest are working too hard to spare the time.

    I’ve often thought things would be fairer if EVERY healthy person over 18 were to be made to contribute a minimum for the privilege of living here. Say $1,000 or $2,000 a yr. for every year of living here between the ages of 21 and 55. (So if you paid $30K in ONE year…that covers 15 years) It’s not fair to live here if you are healthy and contribute nothing over your lifetime.

    So many do.

    If you are healthy parasite whose made a career of never finding a job, then you can stop posting all day on the internet and WORK your $2,000 a year off in a work program.

  • tonynoboloney

    I’m not sure how the levees and Lake Pontchatrain in New Orleans became a “federal” problem, and now that a major disaster has struck it is now the governments fault for being unprepared. Where I come from (Michigan) along the shore of Lake Huron, soil erosion & flood control is a “local” issue. Each municipality is responsible for its own health and saftey. If sea walls, dredging or drainage is nessessary permits are obtained from the State, grants are applied for through both state and feds and the work is done by the county or local muncipality.

    Although this is a tragedy of epic proportions and my heart and prayers go out to the victims, in all due respect; this should not be construed to be a Federal government problem. The residents, city council, mayor, state senators, govonor, and other state officials are ultimately responsible to their constituants. City planning protecting its citizenry from flood waters, evacuation, police protection and security are local problems best handled by local government. After the fact it is only right all assistance from every quarter be given. The decision to rebuild, how, when and where should also be decided locally.

  • Angelos, I am no Bush lover. And Angelos I am so glad I’m not relying on your help in this. I can only imagine being stuck on the roof of a building, or trying to survive in NO, with you wasting all your energy cursing people far, far away, who didn’t create the hurricane. I would quickly get rid of you in order to ensure my own survival.

    How about if you started thinking about how to SOLVE problems, and offer new insights? You can save the “blame and shame” game for a few days, and then you can spend the rest of your life blaming Bush for everything.

    One other thing, though first: I need to know how to make Bush responsible for the folks shooting at rescuers. Your insight will certainly help here.

  • penny

    We. Had. 5. Days. Notice. Those ships should have been trailing the storm by half a day, or as close as would be nautically safe.

    Did we? For God’s sake, the intensity and track of a storm in the Gulf changes repeatedly from start to finish. Could anyone have know with certainty that it would hit New Orleans dead on until a few hours before? The vast majority of people did evacuate the area in time. That’s as good as it gets.

    Your bombastic ranting is cheap hindsight. Bush didn’t call upon the gods to create the storm – the pathetic core of what you would really like to say. Give it, up, Angelos.

    Oh, and Olbermann is an idiot too.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Folks — first of all, you don’t follow a storm that size by “half a day” in any ship of any size, except possibly the Starship Enterprise. You get them the hell out of the wqay, and since ships can only go around 30 mph, it takes a while to get them back. Rule Number One in sailing is “The sea is big. My ship is small.”

    Writing. Your. Conclusions. In. Words. With. Periods. doesn’t change that.

    Beyond that, Jay, your point here Were they prepared, yes or no, leaves out a third possibility: deliberately going unprepared. That is, you only prepare for the events small enough that you can imagine having a plan that “fits” the scale of the disaster. Once the crisis gets so large than no feasible plan can be devised, the very idea of preparation becomes a myth. Then the authorities move over to the probability side, and console themselves with how unlikely that particular event is is exactly right. NO didn’t prepare for a force 5 hurricane because it would be really expensive, it would mess up the city (it means putting walls around the whole thing that would block all the views and require changing all the hiughways etc) — and for the same reason people didn’t evacuate: the chances that it would be a REAL disaster were slim.

    You could even make a pretty good case for it being a good bet, especially when NO knew it would be backed up by the US Treasury. They just lost the bet.

  • Ravo

    Tony, So True…

    NO’s charm, as you can read here, was in it’s attitude.

    It’s not fair to blame the feds.

    While the city had a long while to dance and play, they knew their house was not built of bricks, yet it doesn’t seem the city planners were focused much on these mundane matters as you mentioned:

    “City planning protecting its citizenry from flood waters, evacuation, police protection and security are local problems best handled by local government.”

    The CANCELLED focus this week was

    “hosting a weeklong celebration of “Southern Decadence Day” with 100,000 gathering there to commit unspeakable acts in public.

    Previously, publicly lewd acts & events were photographed and sent to the mayor and police officials but they did not care.”

    The winds came and down went the house of NO.

    And now, yes, all we can do is offer assistance from every quarter.

  • Angelos

    Ravo, don’t be an idiot. Taxes are up because of “the shift forward in revenue resulting from temporary depreciation relief for business firms in 2002 and 2003.” That tax meme was killed weeks ago. And considering how low the base was that the increase was measured against…

    The failure to act in a reasonable manner sure as hell is the preznit’s fault. People have no food and water, and are sitting in sewage, but Bush can talk about looting and zero tolerance, and McCLellan can talk about all the food and water that are somehow magically going to appear in 4 days.

    It’s been well documented in the last couple days, and I’ve already written about many of the things that could have been handled better Jenny, you just don’t listen.

    5 days notice, 5 days notice, 5 days notice. Is it sinking in yet?

    Call me names kat, but tell me where I’m wrong. You can’t.

    tony, on a certain level, you are right, but the government DOES collect taxes to defend and improve the nation, the latter of which requires wealth distribution. Not to individuals, mind you, but to projects in the nation’s best interest. If they didn’t, only 20 or so states would actually have paved roads and electricity. I’d think that the potential of losing a whole city, the shutdown of a dozen refineries, etc. etc., is a national problem. And sure enough, it is! States are ALREADY running out of gas, and it’s only been 4 days. Airlines can’t get jet fuel. A major port city will be a disease-ridden wasteland for a year.

    Look at the billions in pork projects that were just approved in the energy bill. Not one of them useful, just payouts to donors and Bush-voters. The money is there tony, it’s just not being used for anything good.

    Think what a well-funded and professionally-run FEMA, a well-manned National Guard, and a bunch of Navy ships could be doing right now.

    Ahhh, can you smell the leadership?

    Drudge alert!!!
    Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

  • Angelos

    Ravo, you’re one of those psychopaths that claims that Katrina is god’s revenge, aren’t you? That the eye of the storm looked like a fetus, hence it must be punishment for abortion clinics?

    Thanks for putting your comments in perspective for me.

  • Ravo

    In the majority of localities, it is the city fathers and the residents that take the local responsibilities you are trying to shove onto a President.

    NO wasn’t paying attention. You can’t blame the rest of the country for that.

  • Ravo

    Angelos…do you even work or pay taxes? Do you do anything constructive, or do you merely post what others should be doing about all the world’s problems, and then critique their efforts?

  • penny

    5 days notice, 5 days notice, 5 days notice. Is it sinking in yet?

    Right. The local government did everything humanly possible to protect lives. People were evacuated in an orderly manner.

    Are you suggesting that the leeves could have been rebuilt and oil refineries moved in the 5 days?

    You really are sounding like a moron.

  • Angelos

    People with the MEANS evacuated themselves.

    Why wasn’t the Superdome stocked with food and generators?

    Why wasn’t more public and military transportation available for the evacuation?

    Why wasn’t the Navy mobilized at t-4 instead of t+4?

    Watch the news. Watch people dying right in front of your eyes. Now again, ask yourself, what if this was a dirty bomb? Where is “homeland security”?

    Ravo, I work and pay taxes. Sorry, I don’t have any patronage jobs that I’m unqualified for.

  • Angelos

    Good thing we have our priorities straight. Hey everyone, party on the Mall for Freedom!

    But here is another important link.
    “New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

    Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

    Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security — coming at the same time as federal tax cuts — was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

    Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: “No one can say they didn’t see it coming. . .Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation.”

    I guess it’s just me…

  • Angelos
  • Angelos

    Broken link, repaired.

  • Angelos

    Wesley Clark:

    Then just this morning, the President claimed that no one could have anticipated the levee breaches we’ve seen in New Orleans after Katrina hit. That’s not leadership, that’s an excuse. In fact, people have predicted this kind of disaster for many years, including President Bush’s own FEMA in 2001, when they ranked hurricane flood damage to New Orleans among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing America. Instead, funding was significantly cut back, leaving key engineering projects on hold. Instead, this Administration focused on the war in Iraq, tax cuts, and private sector economic growth without asking the American people to make needed sacrifices for the good of the country. Again I ask you, where is the leadership?

  • Ravo

    Angelos, a local group in our community raised about $20,000 from volunteers and got it to the Tsunami victims. They are organizing and sending people and supplies and money to NO as well.

    Instead of directing that taxes be levied on fellow citizens, no one is stopping you who obviously feel New Orleans should be given lots more tax monies…from giving them YOUR aid and any you raise.

    The government can only spend whatever money it takes from the pockets of it’s citizens.

    It used to be all social aid was voluntary, and none came from taxes.

    You are so upset that NO wasn’t/isn’t given enough? You can buy a few generators and send them if you wish.

    Put your own shoulder to the cart. No one is stopping you. Stop telling others they aren’t taxed enough…and start giving your own efforts.

    I suspect you only want to be the bossy armchair general, and avoid any real responsibility

  • Ravo

    Angelos, a local group in our community raised about twenty thousand from volunteers and got it to the Tsunami victims. They are organizing and sending people and supplies and money to NO as well.

    Instead of directing that taxes be levied on fellow citizens, no one is stopping you who obviously feel New Orleans should be given lots more tax monies…from giving them YOUR aid and any you raise.

    The government can only spend whatever money it takes from the pockets of it’s citizens.

    It used to be all social aid was voluntary, and none came from taxes.

    You are so upset that NO wasn’t/isn’t given enough? You can buy a few generators and send them if you wish.

    Put your own shoulder to the cart. No one is stopping you. Stop telling others they aren’t taxed enough…and start giving your own efforts.

    I suspect you only want to be the bossy armchair general, and avoid any real responsibility

  • Mary Ann

    Angelos: Over at he makes the point that there is a reason they tell us to stock emergency supplies for a week or more – because it takes a week or more to get things going. You have to give big behemouth agencys and organizations time to assess before they execute. So sending them in a T-4 days instead of T+4 days makes no sense. I’m sorry, but I’d rather those ships be sent a day later so that they are completely prepared. They would be ineffective if they had to send the ships back for different supplies becuase they left without knowing what the situation required. Your analysis and subsequent conclusions are flawed, but I think that’s probably because it was the other way around, your conclusions preceded your analysis.

    Was there much more that could and and should have been done ahead of time? Yes. But that meant the local and state officials who know their towns and state better than the feds, should have taken the lead. Why weren’t buses running?!!! They should have been running out of town filled with people! They should have been shuttling the elderly to shelters. There was so much individuals and local governments could have done.

    To me the only place the Feds are culpable is in the authorization of funds to build up the levees. That’s a discussion where things have fallen through the cracks (no pun intended). Why it takes 5 years to study it before doing something is beyond me. So another question I’ll have as we look back on all of this is why it takes so long to analyze a levee when the engineering principles are there and need only to be applied.

    But we can’t just say, oooh something bad happened and it must be because of a guy I hate. We have to look critically and with some sense of discernment. Get the partisan blinders off so we can all work together and do something constructive.

  • Angelos, am I allowed to buy shoes at this time? Or do I have to wait for the evacuees to arrive in Houston? How about the mayor of my city? Can he buy shoes? Can the governor? What about the Bush daughters? Or Rice’s secretary? How about Michael Chertoff? Is he allowed to buy shoes today?

    I’m sure that Rice buying new shoes is the cause of the next round of violence in New Orleans.

  • Just look at all those newly unemployed people who would be available for CCC work to rebuild the city. Does this give anyone an idea? Maybe some one with the means or forum to get it started?

    And three cheers for the Senators who are sponsoring a bill to prevent bankruptcy proceedings from recycling all the properties of all the disaster victims.

  • Angelos

    It’s moments like this when you need a party in power that actually believes in the affirmative power of government to help its citizens, rather than the party that sees government’s role as protecting the property of the well-off from the predations of the underclass. It’s when the true ugly soul of American conservatism is borne out for what it is: a rationalization of selfishness and the hysterical denial of community. America is about to see what happens when the government is staffed by people appointed to their jobs precisely for their disdain for the whole notion of policy in the public interest. It’s won’t be pretty.

  • Angelos

    Jenny, go right ahead. Shop away.

    When you’re the Secretary of State, however, and there is a national crisis, I want you at your desk working. Maybe Chertoff would have been better off working too, instead of spinning on Fox.

    Get a clue.

    Ruth, the CCC is/was a great idea. Hell, if I was 26 and un-/under-employed, I’d pack my tools in my truck and go hang my contractor’s shingle in NOLA.

    Alas, I’m older, have a house, a new wife, and a whole different type of business to run.

    Ruth is right about this too:

    Voters, ALL voters, of any stripe: if your local politicians do not support ##109-JUD-9/1/05##, get them the hell OUT OF THERE!

    Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mel Watt, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that when Congress returns next Tuesday, they will introduce legislation to protect the thousands of families and small businesses financially devastated by Hurricane Katrina from being penalized by anti-debtor provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, scheduled to take effect on October 17, 2005. Reps. Conyers, Nadler, and Jackson Lee released the following joint statement:

    “We are concerned that just as survivors of Hurricane Katrina are beginning to rebuild their lives, the new bankruptcy law will result in a further and unintended financial whammy. Unfortunately, the new law is likely to have the consequence of preventing devestated families from being able to obtain relief from massive and unexpected new financial obligations they are incurring and by forcing them to repay their debt with income they no longer have, but which is counted by the law.

    When the Judiciary Committee considered the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act earlier this year, Ms. Jackson Lee offered an amendment to protect the victims of natural disaster like those now devastated by Hurricane Katrina. While the amendment was defeated on a party line vote without any debate, we hope that in light of recent events our colleagues will recognize the importance of protecting our most financially vulnerable Americans.

    The legislation we plan to introduce will prevent new bankruptcy provisions from having adverse and unintended consequences for the hundreds of thousands now facing financial catastrophe by providing needed flexibility for victims of natural disasters in bankruptcy proceedings.

    Our common sense bill will insure that we do not compound a natural disaster with a man made financial disaster. We hope to obtain bipartisan support for expedited consideration of this critical legislation.”

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Angelos, are you somehow under the impression that the Secretary of State is somehow responsible for relief in New Orleans? She’s in charge of foreign affairs.

    Did anyone mention to you that New Orelanshas been part of the USA since Thomas Jefferson bought it in 1803?

  • Angelos

    I know exactly what the Secretary of State does. I was in Model UN and all! Spoke in front of 1500 other “delegates” at the Hague. Of course my school was representing Syria when Assad was at his worst and TWAs were getting blown up at an alarming rate, but still.

    I know that when I have an important business or personal matter, I surround myelf with my best people. Call the woman back to Washington. Granted, she’s as useless as the rest of them, but…

    Or at least get her off the streets! If anyone in the administration took this seriously, the Secretary of State would not be taking her Secret Service entourage on a very public shopping spree.

    Right or wrong, the people see and hear the government saying “let the eat cake”.

  • No Angelos, you see her and think let them eat cake. I see the Mayor of New Orleans and wonder how he let his city end up like this, particularly after the Times Picayune told him this would happen. I wonder who thought evacuating to the Superdome was a good idea. I wonder why thed mayor and governor didn’t commandeer the buses on MONDAY when the levee was breached. Surely the governor of the state could have ordered the National Guard (under her control) into the city. I’ll bet she could have issued martial law or whatever and sent buses in then to get people out. There is no reason those folks sat for so long at the Superdome, and it’s not because of the feds.

    If you are going to blame people, place it where it belongs. The feds are no day at the beach and screwed up. But I’d like to see you go into depth about the culpability of the mayor and governor.

    Or have you sworn an oath to only criticize Republicans?

    And what about civil servants? Are they to be blamed too? How do you parse this, politically?

  • Thanks, Angelos, it seems like a good time to put people to work, and there’s surely enough to be done. Also, looks like the blame goes all around and plenty enough of it.

    In Mississippi, (I pointed out in another post on the subject) there wasn’t even a serious call to evacuate, and in Gulfport the gambling was still going on Monday a.m.

  • Ravo

    Sure hope you are not having a drink, smoking a cigarette, or doing or spending ANYthing unecessary today Angelos, while people are hurting.

    And, since there will always be someone somewhere in the world hurting, best not to do those things anytime.

    And yes, clamor for more money to be taken more money those who are busy making our country prosper, so they have less to create more wealth with. Clamor for THEM to do more for New Orleans

    Angelos last I heard, any citizen is free to donate however much money and help you want of your own. They need cooks to help feed the evacuees. I am sure you will find many your age there doing so.

    No, he writes: “Alas, I’m older, have a house, a new wife, and a whole different type of business to run.”

    Newsflash….so are most of those businessowners whose pockets you wish to pick.


    Only then, one would think, would you have the right to complain about someone buying a pair of shoes at this time.

  • Ravo

    By the way, I’m older too. Have a home. My spouse died long ago and I have no one to help with anything. Used to make decent money, now subsist on meager savings, and a small amount of income from a much smaller business than I used to have. Don’t take a government cent.

    Gave 5% of this years income to the Tsunami effort….many Muslims there….many Americans helped.

    Americans are among the most generous people in the whole wide world.

    Has there been even one oil rich Muslim sitting on top of oil riches they themselves never labored to develop or distribute, offering to help out New Orleans at this time?

  • Ravo

    Seems liberals ALWAYS love to donate the monies and labors of OTHERS.

  • Jim S

    Angelos goes over the top in my opinion but that doesn’t stop some of what he says from being right. The increase in government incomes and decrease of the deficits this year is largely the result of one time events such as the partial tax forgiveness plan to encourage businesses to bring some of the money they stashed overseas back into the country. Pretty much all independent analyses show that deficits will be where they stand now or higher for the foreseeable future. With these forecasts in mind the Republican congress had as one of its primary goals when returning from recess to pass $40 billion in spending cuts, including $10 billion in from Medicaid and $70 billion in further tax cuts. I have no doubt that these plans haven’t changed.

    And yes, the Bush administration cut lots of money from the Corps of Engineers that should have been going to improve the levy system. And the system of levies along the Missouri, Mississippi and the systems protecting New Orleans have been Army Corps of Engineers projects for decades now, not local responsibilities since there is basically no local government that could afford it. Those who keep spouting the “local responsibilities” line apparently have no idea how extensive and expensive these systems are. And for those who are going to spout some crap about how I’m an evil liberal wanting to spend other people’s money I both donate to charity, probably pay more taxes than the majority of you and was tossing sandbags around a friend’s place during the floods of ’93.

  • Angelos

    I pay my taxes Ravo, a shitload of them, and I write my charity checks and put in my charity man-hours.

    I’m asking for some accountability for my dollars. You should too.

    Jenny, any wonder why Louisiana and New Orleans keeps geting screwed out of financial aid for works projects? Oh, wait, maybe you said it yourself: Democrats are asking for the money…

    You should be embarrassed that this is the state of your nation. But you’ll sit there and defend your AWOL government. 5 years of failure haven’t changed your mind. One would think that this new wake-up call would show our true colors. Well, it did. And our national color is black.

  • Linda Edwards

    A little story about $250,000,000, originally appropriated for levee reconstruction projects in NO, that got diverted by the Bush adm to pay for other “pressing issues” in 2003.

    Gee, what happened in 2003 that could have cost so much?

    Again, Jim S is correct. The U.S. waterway projects come under the direct responsiblity of the Army Corp of Engineers, NOT local governments.

  • Walter

    After years of experience with the Red Cross in Disaster Damage Assessment… I can confess, this is one many of us REALLY feared. God bless the survivors and victims, but God help everyone understand the risk of attempting to rebuild N.O.

    There is a threat that very few outside the walls of Washington discuss regarding New Orleans… a terrorist strike on a levee. We have just seen what a single breach can do to the city in a matter of hours. A breach of any size would grow rapidly requiring a massive mobilization to stop or evacuate the city. A relatively small IED, car bomb, small aircraft or similar tactic could be employed and virtually impossible to stop.

    Can we afford billions of dollars to build a breach-proof/bomb-proof levee? Do we build redundant walls? Do we risk (tens of) thousands of lives?

    I would much rather see our great country spend $50B now to rebuild/relocate “New Orleans” on higher ground, than spend $25b now and risk having to do it again and again.

    Above all, God bless you all… for taking the time to care and take action.. regardless of agreement or disagreement… a voice unspoken is never heard.

    – Walter

  • Genji

    Napa Valley Register, Napa CA
    Out of the devastation, an opportunity
    Friday, September 2, 2005

    New Orleans is mostly under water and much of its termite-weakened housing stock is disintegrating. The remnant population is being evacuated, and officials expect the city will be empty for several months.

    Let’s consider not repopulating most of New Orleans, rather creating several permanent communities for the refugees in cities around the southern Mississippi Valley as far north as St. Louis, Mo. For several reasons, human and financial, this may be a superior alternative:

    * No matter how strong levees are made, hurricanes may be growing stronger for a number of years. Nothing can ensure the safety of a large city lying below sea level and between a huge lake and a powerful river. Moving 500,000 people back to New Orleans puts them back in danger.

    * Putting people to work immediately creating their own communities will take them out of the helpless victim mentality. Government can provide organization and funds, but the key to community recovery is turning every able person into an active resource. The young can work at construction; the older people can do less strenuous jobs; everyone able can help children and the disabled. A job for everyone who can work, and every job part of creating a new community.

    * Downtown St. Louis, Mo., has a huge area of empty land that used to be densely populated neighborhoods. If other cities of the lower Mississippi basin have similar waste land, due to decades of suburbanization and abandonment of city centers, then there is enough unused land for new homes and employing industries. Distributing the refugees among 10 or 12 locations makes the logistics of reconstruction much easier than concentrating all resources onto one flooded location.

    * Industry will be needed in every new “Little New Orleans,” as close as possible to the homes so the impoverished people won’t need to buy and operate cars to get to work. This is an opportunity for good planning for more convenience and less cost than typical in American cities.

    How many jobs will be needed? Maybe 80,000 productive, exporting jobs (exporting from the community to the rest of United States or abroad). These jobs would foster at least as many community-serving jobs. Can that be done? It will be necessary to accomplish nearly that much in the New Orleans area if people are moved back. That number of productive jobs may not have existed in New Orleans, but we need a higher level of employment in a community that has experienced major disruption. Mass unemployment and a dependent mentality are bad enough in a settled community, but far worse in one that has been shattered by disaster.

    * The U.S. government should be generous in funding industry and home building, since it will be cheaper than rebuilding New Orleans and probably more permanent. It will be cheaper to turn refugees into productive people as soon as possible. And the new construction and investment will stimulate the economies of several southern cities. People should get fee simple title to the land on which they build their homes, itself a big step out of poverty.

    * The alternative of keeping people’s lives suspended while they await resettlement in a rebuilt New Orleans will create immense social ill. Even if the refugees are to be the main work force rebuilding New Orleans, it will be months before most of them can be employed. And then only the fittest will be employed, and they will be separated from families in barrack housing.

    * The oldest historic district of New Orleans could be restored and protected by new levees, but this is only to save an important part of American history. The historic district would be small in population and area. The levees wouldn’t be so expensive as if the whole city were protected, and the large area left unprotected would take flood pressure off the small historic district.

    * Finally, the Mississippi Delta demands general rethinking to make human practices there compatible with nature. Levees along the Mississippi have prevented silt from depositing in periodic floods, resulting in subsidence and loss of land throughout the Delta. John McPhee’s book “The Control of Nature,” which deals with this issue, has an intentionally ambiguous title. In New Orleans and the Delta, humans and nature will prosper better if people accept that in the long run, nature is in control.

  • GaryPenton

    Listen you fuckin’ thesaurus totin’ plagiarists. Let’s keep this conversation at your paygrades. I’ve lived in New Orleans and I’ll tell you that the population is nearly 70% black. That is why people are immediately labeled “racist” when they show or report blacks looting. They are black.

    They are murdering, raping and robbing each other. It’s as if they were reverting to their natural state. “Think central Africa.” Hell, think any Africa.

    Simpletons blame President Bush for the failures of the leadership[sic] of the southern states, meanwhile the mayor of New Orleans is hysterical and screaming for his entire police force to cease rescue operations and concentrate solely on “anti-looting” efforts. Believe that shit?

    Did you notice the absence of white people? Their intelligence switches are wired in the ON position at all times, so they packed up and hauled ass when they were told to.

    Oh, the working class didn’t have the means. Bullshit! This isn’t the working class we’re talking about, this is the leeching class.

  • Dutchwoman

    No we are not laughing at the Americans.
    We had to face a disaster in 1953 were lots op people died before thinking of the Delta-Works Plan.
    We have some expertise, though. So there are dutch engineers sent to New Orleans to assist, when needed.
    Most Dutch people were amazed to see the ‘levee-patching’ technique used. Dropping sandbags one by one takes forever. Here we usually dump sea containers in the hole in case of an emergency. Close the leak first. Restoring the levees is a problem to be faced later. A leak 200 feet long takes a few hours to be closed here. But hey, the water is not going to rise anymore in New Orleans, so the patching technique won’t make any difference now.

  • cheryl

    I’m tired of all the “Bush diverted money from the levee projects” The real truth is that the city of New Orleans voted down a property tax increase for levee repair (and passed one for superdome maintenance).
    Levee repair is a matching funds project-the state pays a portion and federal govt kicks in the rest. That’s how Corps of Engineer projects are paid for. Louisiana didn’t qualify for the funding because the voters chose not to. I guess they decided to take their chances and ended up losing.

  • Hilton

    Back to the original question as to rebuilding New Orleans. Why not turn New Orleans into an underwater city with the charm of Venice? Building 30 foot walls would make the place less desireable. Add floating structures, gondolas, water taxis, and lets party. Just thought I would throw this out there.

  • LW

    Does anyone realize the scope of devasation down there in NO? How much money do you think this will cost…only to have it potentially happen again? The illogical nature of building in a flood plain is ludicrous! I don’t doubt the suffering, but at what point does the cost of rebuilding become nothing but a P.R. move instead of logic? Those who say “rebuild NO” are speaking from emotion, not common sense.

    I’ll give money to save people in need, but I won’t give money to rebuild a house in a flood plain. Give a man a $ and he’ll eat for a day. TEACH a man how to avoid disaster, and you save his life.


  • LW

    I’m not alone. Food for thought:

    Two-thirds say either “do not rebuild” or “build with private funds”. If you want to risk danger, do so at your own peril.

  • Robert

    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…

  • Buchanan

    Unbelievable. I’m a teacher who pays her share of taxes and our student scores are the highest in the county, so don’t knock me or my kids to try to make yourself look better or more righteous. As adults, you should know what our country stands for, and it’s not just ONE thing…it’s many. Yes, we try to improve ourselves, but not at the expense of others. How can we defend democracy if we look like a bunch of selfish pigs? Didn’t you ever belong to 4-H, FCA, or to a church? Weren’t we ever taught to REALLY be compassionate to our fellow man? Do you honestly believe that a few people make the whole? Some of you act as poorly as the folks looting. Are you raising your children to be as self-centered as you? I hope not.

    WE TOOK TOO LONG. Period. The folks in Louisiana are fellow citizens of the United States. If we can’t take care of each other, we are a poor excuse for a nation. We pay taxes to help EVERYONE, not just ourselves. God help me, how can I teach students to be good citizens when ADULTS act like three year olds who don’t want to share their toys?

    As for being prepared-didn’t Benjamin Franklin say it best when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” When you consider that one-fifth of our nation’s consumable goods come from that part of the country, one would think that our federal (yes, I said it-FEDERAL) government would be a little wiser about allocating resources?
    I understand that we want to be loyal to our beliefs and elected leaders, but let’s stop compounding mistake after mistake and do something smart…and caring.

  • Buchanan

    LW- that survey was conducted on August 31. I’d like to see it done again today.

  • Greg

    Levies broke, thousands drowned, because the government took a gamble. Then the same Army who were trusted to keep the levies and the pumps running and the city from going under; turned on the people forcing them from their homes at gunpoint. They are being evacuated, because the government wants them out. Out of site and out of mind at the mistakes it made in the use of the peoples monies. Now we’ll pay even more. The first amendment allows for the people to recieve redress from the government when it fails them. This looks like a time for redress to me. I’m a Bush fan too and I am for the War in Iraq. But when you loose a bet you pay and this one we’ll all pay for. We are the government and we are to blame. May we never let our wants be more important than our NEEDS again. May God help us and guide us now and in the future. We are human and WE made a mistake.

  • Roger

    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 truly available. “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”

    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 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…

    But how will New Orleans be rebuilt? As an ex-New Orleans building contractor, I would like to caution against wholesale demolition. While health considerations, structural assessments 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.

    I find it difficult to believe that heartpine would be affected by long-duration emersion in water and 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 rare few of the 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…

  • GaryPenton

    Hilton Says:

    September 2nd, 2005 at 10:55 pm
    Back to the original question as to rebuilding New Orleans. Why not turn New Orleans into an underwater city with the charm of Venice? Building 30 foot walls would make the place less desireable. Add floating structures, gondolas, water taxis, and lets party. Just thought I would throw this out there.

    GaryPenton Replies:
    That would be nice Hilton. I truly like that idea but it wouldn’t work for Mardi Gras. When the drunk girls stood up to show their tits their gondolas would tip over. More dead bodies.

    “Who’ll stop the rain.” Light rainshowers forcasted. Murders, rapes, robberies also forcasted in downtown areas.

  • GaryPenton

    Seriously folks, the water that sits stagnant behind the levee walls is entirly and incredibly toxic and CANNOT be pumped directly into Lake Panchartrain until it is treated.

    Some ideas are to employ a two step process: Allow water to flow into an intermediate pool to be treated before release into the lake and later on into the river.

    Another idea is to shock the entire city street canals and drain them in a full-on pumping assault

    No matter what the approach, the water must be treated before draining the New Orleans basin (that may just as well been flooded without a break in the levee.) THe right hand side of a Cat-5 hurricane generates enough water to flood the NO basin just as well. I lived through Camille and it happened that way precisely.

    Even if New Orleans became Atlantis (and I think it should,) the next CAT4 or above will reak the the same havoc on Baton Rouge and the same surrounding cities and towns.

    It will be years until NO becomes liveable enough to start personal cleanup. If we think with logic and not with lumps in our thoats, its obvious that the Atlantis option is so much more logical than the beautiful Venise sentiment. (See Hilton Says: September 2nd, 2005 at 10:55 pm)

    Venice has a culture and legacy of centuries and the population take care of their beautiful and unique city. The Ethnic mix there proud and educated. They are majority Italian, and 1.7 % legally registered foreign minority.

    New Orleans Ethnic mix is 68% black and 32% other (the other are the citizens who evacuated in advance of the hurricane.) We absolute cannot hope to see such a city such as Venice succeed in this demographic. Before you attack me reflect on yourself and admit my truth.

    Jesse Jackson complained that we don’t treat blacks as equals and this is after he ignored questions about his donations to the disaster. He was quick to remark that he provided buses. Actually, He boarded a bus that lead a convoy and claimed the convoy as his own. When are we going to stop putting microphones and cameras in front of this creep?

    New Orleans will never be a Venice but it will make a great muddy Atlantis, home to great big catfish, croaker, mullet and crab.

  • EERIE Futible

    I am in Florida (Pensacola) and felt some of the residual from Katrina. I have had my share of hurricanes lately, including Ivan last year, which btw was a BITCH! My thought about New Orleans is … lets face it and call it Old Orleans. Leave the broken levee alone , and let the water recede on it’s own. Whatever is left above… rebuild, but don’t spend 26 billion dollars to polish the “Cresent” when that money can be better used to enhance the exisistance of life that goes on! Use that money to offset the lost oil and refinery cost hindered by Katrina, ultimately bettering the USA.

    Don’t get me wrong…. I have been to the French Quarters, and it is … was, an experience to be rememebered, but it is no more. Picture the pothole you fill with sand… repeatedly, because it keeps washing out. Wouldn’t it be better to just finally pave it over and start new? I say let the water follow it’s natuaral path, that of least resistance, and don’t resist it! If it isn’t under water then build on it, but don’t build under it!!

  • Ravo Said:
    Has there been even one oil rich Muslim sitting on top of oil riches they themselves never labored to develop or distribute, offering to help out New Orleans at this time?

    Actually Kuwait has offered half a billion dollars in aid.
    This is a case where everyone, from the mayor all the way up to the administration screwed up and continues to screw up. I’m no liveral nor am I a democrat but I gotta tell you GW is a dissapointment as is his cabinet. Thier false compassion is mathced only by thier inane and idiotic denials of blame.

  • Jayel99

    It is unbelievable what I am reading here. I think Angelo said “5 days, 5 days” – As a military member “mandatory” means without question – there was an evacuation order given – there should have been no one in the city left to die because they should have all been gone before the storm. If blame needs to be laid – blame the NO mayor and LA governor as it was their responsibility to ensure the evac was carried out. The governor controls the National Guard – Not the President so why didn’t she activate them before the storm to aid with the evac and ensure it happened. Complcency was / is the problem here – the belief was it will never happen here – well it did and now the local people in charge should take responibility for poor decision making and not enforcing a “mandatory” evacuation.

  • RE

    In past Disasters , San Francisco’s earthquake, Chicago’s fire:

    the Rubble was used to Add land by filling in the Bay or Lake.

    I’m just thinking about filling up the Under Water areas inside the Levees with Rubble; Followed up with it later being Covered by Dredged Silt from the the River, Canals, etc.

    Obviously this is a Creative Solution;

    but, I just feel that all of the Rubble in the 3 States needs to be Disposed of ; and it could Raise New Orleans well above the Current Leveee Levels.

    This would be a long term Program–

    But, one that should be considered before disposing of all the Rubble.

    and , within New Orleans, the Rebuilding would need to be Delayed in Consideration of this Elevating of the Land Plan .

    Just my Thoughts,

    Best Wishes to All.


  • jeff

    Put every city block on a raised area above storm surge level with a concrete retaining wall all the way around it. This will require far less time/material than filling in ALL of new orleans, and with some strategically placed floodgates that can be lowered into the street area between city blocks, you’ve got a very flexible series of “backup levees.” Put more & better pumps on concrete pylons along with their power supply so the flood won’t turn off the flood pumps. Make the building codes require that ALL buildings can weather the storm (cinderblocks filled with concrete and rebar are pretty cheap. So are the hurricane strips used to hold your roof on during a storm. No more wood frame houses please.) and at least a small cistern in every home. Build a few storm-proof warehouses full of boats, MRE’s, and other post-storm essentials. Hospitals should have the first couple levels as parking garages with generators and fuel above the level of any prospective floods. Put concrete caps on the levees so water can slosh over if need be without destroying the levee… the pumps can pump it out after the fact if it comes to that. Don’t allow buildings to be built if they aren’t on areas where the ground has been raised above flood level or are on stilts. Basically make it so that EVEN IF measures for improving wetlands, bigger levees, establishing protective barrier islands etc are used and fail, the city will simply be “venice” for a couple of days without any serious long-term disruption to the city. It’s worth it. It is possibly our most important port. You can’t run a port without people to work in it, and that’s what New Orleans was…. and will be.

  • desertwind

    Some cool solutions other countries have.

    Thames Barrier

    The Holland dam/levee system

  • NewOrleanian

    Bottom line, it is the govenor and mayors fault for this disaster. There should have been a plan in place to evacuate those without transportation.

    As far as the levees breaking, they have been saying it as long as I have lived around the city, since 1970. I’m not sure who’s responsibility it is to build levees and make sure they are safe, but whoever that is, its their fault for not doing.

    Now, all of you just shut the fuck up, because while you are all bitching on the internet, there are people dying regardless. Either get to work to support the economy, make a donation, or get your ass out there and help with the relief effort.

  • Rachel

    Having lived in Nebraska all my life I must say it’s absolutely crazy that the federal government helps rebuild these coastal regions that are destroyed by hurricanes EVERY year. We have our fair share of damaging weather here but the difference is that when a tornado occurs most of the time it does not even touch down and if it does it is in an open area and no damage is done to buildings or people killed. People living in the coastal regions know hurricane season comes EVERY year and it is not if it will hit, but when and how strong. I say FEMA bails you out twice and after that you are on your own. As far a NO goes, my vote is to NOT REBUILD. It is not logical. No, I am not being racist, insensitive or anything else…I am being RATIONAL! God bless all the victims of Katrina.

  • Don

    Our leaders should make the right decision and not rebuild New Orleans.

    a.) First and foremost, the loss of life from another future flood makes rebuilding a criminal enterprise

    “A Category 4 or Category 5 storm, geologists long theorized, would exploit the eroding Louisiana coastline and the gradual settling of the city’s earthen foundation, and compromise the more than 500 miles of levees and floodwalls holding back the river and lake. Armed with computer models, they predicted that hundreds of years of engineering would make little difference.”

    b.) The selection of the site for the city was itself a mistake to begin with:

    “In 1718, French colonist Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville ignored his engineers’ warnings about the hazards of flooding and mapped a settlement in a pinch of swampland between the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and a massive lake to the north.”

    c.) The city is sinking due to subsidence (the silt it is built upon is compacting)
    d.) The river is rising (millions are spent annually to dredge the river bottom)
    e.) The seas are rising (global warming)
    f.) Hurricanes are becoming more powerful (global warming)
    g.) Marshlands are disappearing (a direct result of the levee system)
    h.) As a result of the loss of marshland, the coast is gradually creeping closer to the city
    i.) An earthquake along the New Madrid Fault could cause even more damage to New Orleans
    than Katrina did through a process called soil liquefaction (see below)
    j.) Rebuilding the city at a location above New Orleans will boost the economy, provide jobs for those displaced – and most importantly – as the new is being built the old city will have time to drain and dry so existing property, goods, toxic wastes, metals, and gas and fuel depots can be properly salvaged. It will also assure that future storms will not result in such a massive human tragedy.
    k.) The ease with which a break in the levees can flood the city also proves that New Orleans is extremely vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Terrorists desire visually stunning acts of terror. A few well placed explosives at key places along the levee system would destroy even more of the city than Katrina did – resulting in millions dead. New Orleans had been over 95% evacuated when it flooded. What about a city packed with residents and flooded in the middle of the night with no warning? I am not saying we need to cave in to the idea that terrorists may strike New Orleans, but in the face of all other considerations, why should we build them a ready made disaster?

    While it true that the country does need a port that serves the same function as New Orleans, and a city to support the port.

    However, it does not need a port that is located in the same place as New Orleans. The sheer loss of life that WILL occur again if New Orleans is rebuilt in the same location is reason enough to relocate. All the human suffering now visible just doesn’t justify doing it all over again in the same place.

    A port need only consist of the bare mechanics necessary to get the ships loaded and unloaded and a road to move the goods to the support city – which could be many miles, inland. Piers, wharves, and whatever else is needed can be built above sea level and just up river of New Orleans. This type of port will serve the nation’s needs more safely than the present site of New Orleans. The port itself can be evacuated very quickly with no damage to homes and no loss of life. We don’t build cities in cofferdams next to oil platforms and there is no need to build a city (with residential areas) next to a port.

    Roads and rail leading up to Baton Rouge (only 75 miles away) already exist and it would serve as a much better support city for such a port. It sits at a higher elevation, is more resistant to flooding. Good roads already exist leading down to Donaldson and Reserve and there are other sites that do not sit between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River in a bowl [cofferdam] below sea level.

    There are additional reasons for relocating at Baton Rouge, or another city to be built farther inland – in fact, there are two reasons. Baton Rouge sits on the continental shelf, New Orleans does not.

    “The north American continental shelf ends at Baton Rouge, La and land comprising the Mississippi Delta south of Baton Rouge has been built of soil carried by the Mississippi River.“

    Why is this important? – Because of another natural disaster that awaits New Orleans, one little known to the majority of Americans.

    Three words – New Madrid Fault. Remember what happened to areas of San Francisco that were formerly marshland (now fill dirt) during the Loma Prieta quake in 1989? The frequency of the vibrations from the quake turned the soil into a kind of temporary quicksand – the process is called soil liquefaction and it happens in areas that are comprised of marshland, silt, or fill dirt during an earthquake.

    Soil liquefaction also happened along the coast closer to the epicenter of Loma Prieta as well – I know because I saw it. I was living in Salinas at the time of the quake. In fact, my bedroom view was of Loma Prieta Mountain just a few miles away. In many places along the coast, the soil and sand had “boil” marks where bubbles of air literally percolated out of the ground as the soil liquefied.

    Large areas of San Francisco were damaged as a result of this phenomenon.

    Geologists and engineers predict that when (not if) the next New Madrid quake hits New Orleans could suffer even more damage than that visited by Katrina. The 1811 New Madrid quake devastated the Mississippi Valley – at that time there was a small fraction of the millions that live there now.

    I have included background information on the subject(s).

  • Stefanie

    I think that we should rebuild New Orleans because it was a home to those people for so long. How would u like it if your own home town was under water and then the government said that you wouldn’t be able to return home? I would hate knowing that all my possessions and everything was gone and then find out that I couldn’t return to my house and the place where I grew up. Natural disasters happen and the people of New Orleans deserve to have a place to live. Plus, everyone in all the surrounding cities will get irritated and they will become over populated. The towns will run out of medical treatments, hospital space (which has already happened), and stores have ran out of everything because so many people need food and supplies. I don’t think people understand what it’s like to be without food, shelter, clothing, etc. Not to say that I know that myself, but seeing all the people hurting becuase of what happened is so hard. I couldn’t imagine ever being in a place my whole life and then having to up and move in a day. To be left with nothing. No family. No food or clothing. No one. To be all alone. It’s so sad to see the loook on the faces of those people. So do I think that we should rebuild New Orleans? Yes. I do. They deserve that. And I think we should all pull together to make sure that gets done. To do whatever it takes. I know that the activity that I’m involved with feels greatly for their community. And that’s why we are going to have a Hurrican Katrina drive. We are going to see how many school supplies, clothes, canned foods, whatever people can bring and we’re going to send it to the people that need it most.

  • Greenhouseray

    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.

  • jeff

    “…..there is no need to build a city (with residential areas) next to a port.

    Roads and rail leading up to Baton Rouge (only 75 miles away)”

    I’m sorry but… are you out of your mind? No one is going to live near the port? There’s no NEED for anyone to live near a port? People are going to drive or ride trains 150 miles a day, 3-4 hours out of their day every day running your port from their new homes in Baton Rouge??? Name a single commercial port that DOESN’T have people living within a mile or two of the port facilities… right, you can’t because you need people closer than 75 miles away to run the port facilities. Then you need people to feed, clothe, police, entertain, them, then they get married, they have kids, the kids need teachers etc etc and there you’ve got a city. That’s why every commercial port is a CITY.

    A good comparison for the rebuilding of New Orleans would be to take a look at the building of St Petersburg in Russia.

  • Greg Walter

    How about FREE lumber for the rebuilding of the devistated communities left by Katrina?

    The state of Michigan is experiencing the devistation of the Emerald Ash Borer. This bug native to Asia made it’s way here in the mid nineties and is killing millions of these hearty trees. These dead trees are still the perfect source of strong, hard wood. Many healthy ash trees are being cut right now to help stem the tide of this pest.

    While most of the trees are being chipped and burned for electricity, why not save the trunks which are almost always straight, and cut them into 2X4s. The entities cutting down the trees GIVE this wood away to anyone that will take it. The federal government should set up mills here in Michigan and cut this FREE natural resource into usable quality lumber. Then it should be shipped down to the towns that need it.

    Or they can help deplete current lumber sources and line the pockets of Weyerhouser and Georgia Pacific.

  • Marisa Christy

    My husband came home from work today (Universal Forest) would be working overtime because there was an order for trusses from FEMA. He was told that this was just the start of thousands to come. Just thought I would mention it.

  • Frankly, I believe that the people of Louisana should insist that their government move New Orleans to another part of the state, and out of the flood hazards that are associated with their current location.

    Most of the city has been destroyed and damaged. I agree that there is a nostalgic affect on people that visit that area. I have been there and all along the gulf about 15 times over 20 years.

    It would cost less to salvage all the historical locations, than to rebuild and restore them. Pick a place up the Mississippi river some place and plan a grand new New Orleans, making a bigger and better French quarter for more tourists, and the annual Mardi Gras, which could be bigger and better. Plan a new and modern city that the people of Louisana would be proud of.

    Our climate is changing, and there will be more and bigger storms coming in the years following in that region of the world.

    Moving a city because of a unsafe location has been done in the past, and the new locations has proven successful to that community.

    You may loose a few buildings, but you don’t loose the attitude and spirit of a people.

  • Keith

    My cousin has a construction company in Mass and he wants to locate down in New Orleans to help rebiuld. Any Idea who to contact to find out how to set up down there?

  • Kim Barnes

    The headline on most web sites has been “Huge storms likely to come for the next several years” My question is, why would you rebuild a city that is already so far below sea level, in the path of hurricanes and naturally receding anyway? Knowing that it can be done is not enough. You have to weigh the benfits against the losses and the losses definitely win here. Is it just in the human makeup to fight nature whenever possible? Why don’t we just use a little common sense, save ALOT of money and rebuild farther inland?

  • jeff

    keep in mind that its location in relation to the ocean didn’t cause the disaster, it was the proximity and level of the lake. The levees held up to the hurricane just fine and the ocean never made it in. Had there been a spillway to empty the lake when it started rising, the city would have never flooded regardless of its location below sea level and proximity to the ocean.

    The problem was reliance solely on the levees. There was nothing in place to protect or help people if the levees didn’t hold. There was nothing in place to prevent the levees from getting overrun by the lake.

    The whole gulf and atlantic coast needs better zoning laws. While they look odd, domes seem the way to go… hurricanes and tornados go up to about 400psi on the surface of a structure. Normal, even strongly-built conventional structures go down at far lower than 400psi. Domes can stand over 2,000 psi of direct pressure, and this isn’t factoring in the fact that a dome is also more aerodynamic and will not be affected in the same way as a conventional structure. You can get as much as or even MORE square feet of space in a dome for the same cost as a conventional structure. heating/cooling is apparently much much cheaper for a dome. People have been worrying over how much MORE it’s going to cost to “storm-proof” communities bordering the gulf and atlantic… how about NO additional cost? Just stop building with wood. There’s a dome in florida that’s been through 3 hurricanes with essentially no damage whatsoever:

  • jeff

    The building codes for hurricane-affected areas needs to be changed.

    While they look odd, domes seem the way to go… hurricanes and tornados go up to about 400psi on the surface of a structure. Normal, even strongly-built conventional structures go down at far lower than 400psi. Domes can stand over 2,000 psi of direct pressure, and this isn’t factoring in the fact that a dome is also more aerodynamic and will not be affected in the same way as a conventional structure. You can get as much as or even MORE square feet of space in a dome for the same cost/amount of material used as a conventional structure. heating/cooling is apparently much much cheaper for a dome. People have been worrying over how much MORE it’s going to cost to “storm-proof” communities bordering the gulf and atlantic… how about NO additional cost? Just stop building with wood. There’s a dome in florida that’s been through 3 hurricanes with essentially no damage whatsoever: (these seem to be a superior product, comparable price to conventional structures, apparently very little maintenance required) (CHEAPER than conventional buildings… probably only a litte less sturdy than the monolithic type but still much more resilient than standard wood frame, a little more maintenance required)

    …or if you absolutely must have a home that looks conventional (they say they are competitively priced vs. conventional homes)

    if people will only rebuild with one of these, they won’t have to rebuild again… and the taxpayers won’t have to bail them out again. The rule should be, rebuild like this or move inland. We don’t need to spend more money for this to happen. We need to spend the same amount of money on something OTHER THAN wood frame construction.

  • well its very funny that i stummbled on this website… a student at the college of staten island and studing enviornmental ethics. i have a debate nov 2nd in class about the rebuilding of new orleans… first i was for the rebuilding of new orleans but when i found out more info im not for the ebuilding of new orleans… u guys know that we created the problem in new orleans with the levees??….did you know that New O was a time bomb ticking……if we rebuild new orleaans we are just wastng our money, setting up our selves for another disaster, and putting people’s lives indanger again……another hurrican is destine to hit the area maybe it wont be katrina but its 100% sure it will happen. it could take a month weeks or years but the same thing will keep happening….this is not the 1st time this has happened to new orleans. we could sit here and blame bush even though its not directly his fault but the government is well aware and knew this problem was going to happen….but we are such greedy people and money and the economy is our only concern…….we distrupted mother nature and this is the result of it….the levees were put in to make the water flow a certin way which is not the way it was supposed to flow….i think we should take out the levees and just let nature be…this will stop lives from being lost and another disaster from happening…..this is y the french move upward….and the french quater was not hit as bad…..we should let the water just come in the area where the hurrican hit…and let it become new O wetlands…this is good 4 us and nature……we need more wet lands……we should relocate the people to be away from the coast where harricans hit the most…………well thats just my idea……

    by the way interesting quote to live by for some stuburn ppl on this:

    great minds discuss ideas
    average minds discuss events
    small minds discuss people

  • Ruj

    The lake is north of N.O. and the River is south. Both water bodies are much higher than the city which is like a bowl inbetween. The solution is obvious! The entirety of New Orleans is destroyed and must be completely bulldozed – the building are unsound and uninhabited – there is no sewerage or power or water. There are lots of toxins. Raze all the buildings and carry off the toxic wastes. Treat it as a toxic waste site and use the superfund to clean it up. (especially Chalmete). The dig New Orleans deeper. Then use that fill to fortify the levees all around Jefferson Parish, east and west bank to Cat 5 levels. Now dynamite the old levees along the lakefront in New Orleans only and let the Lake which is already much higher seek its level. It will completely flood the old N.O. Let it. Fill in with mud, organic matter like the millions of lbs. of trees removed after the storm, gravel and sand. Now Lake Pontchartrain has moved. Parts of the old Lake area can be filled in completely and built upon. Other parts around Jefferson parish can be wetlands. Now, even if a Cat 5 hits again, all of Slidell and Jefferson will not flood becasue the Lake has moved and now has a great outlet – the Mississippi. Install flood gates where the lake drains into the river so another storm can’t travel up the mouth of the river and dump the lake onto Jefferson Parish. All personnel who run the port can live in Jefferson or St. Tam parish and easily commute to work. This additional new “harbor of the lake” can be a great new asset to the Port of New Orleans. Who pays? Everyone who uses the port pays an extra surcharge. In addition, Louisiana gets a higher than OPEC price for oil and gas from now on with the difference in price going toward refunding the bonds the city floated to pay for the “moving” of the lake.

  • Melissa Gatlin

    I ran across this site and am amazed to read the “total of New Orelans is destroyed”, “all the historical is gone” … maybe that is because I was there last weekend, and have been there several times since Katrina. Magazine Stree, 90% of the businesses up and running; Port of New Orelans open and working (otherwise the midwest would not be shipping 80% of their export grain/soybeans and the river shipping ports from Minnisota down would be almost shut down as well and I assume that ya’ll are not paying 50%+ more for fruits & vegtables up there so the midwest is still getting shipments up river as well); Tulane, Loyola, Xavier and UNO reopening January, did not see UNO myself as I was mostly downtown, midcity, and uptown, but was by the other three; Delgado (community college) reopening January as well; most of the street in the uptown, mid-city area open (tons of mud and debris bulldozed off the streets to clear them), still missing a lot of street signs (first time I can remember that many gone); in mid city a lot of the downstairs garage apts are gutted but since that area was mostly built pre 1920 (well yea, a lot built pre-1900 and quite a few pre-1850) so the downstairs was garage with house above and over the years back parts of garage had apts. put in) most of the housing was pier & beam anywhere from 3 to 8 ft off the ground so they have survived; so sorry to those that were wishing New Orelans lost all thier shotgun, camelback and other distintive architecture .. most of that was off the ground … post 1950 GI bill housing in the suburbs didn’t fare as well but then in the 50’s ,60’s, 70’s was the time of the great suburban sprawl in the U.S. and most cities have had problems from that ever since (sorry not only the south allowed the filling in of wetlands or building near rivers, lakes that periodically flood, or cause downstream flooding by causeing higher runoff because we were in this huge building rush); even though I personally did not make it to New Orleans East (mostly built post 60’s) my mom (83) and her boyfriend Joe (78) have been all over that area and said it had major flooding, majority of houses took water; of couse 9th ward (by the industrial canal levee break) also major flooding (these are where a lot of the pictures came from of houses flooded to the roofs); for those that where worried about wood under water, actually that is one way of storeing logs, as long as they are under water they are o.k., you can buy water stored cypress in the Gulf Coast and other types of trees as well from other parts of the country (woodworker for fun myself); standard method for dealing with flooded housing is to remove the sheet rock & insullation, let the studs dry, spray with 10 -20% clorax solution to kill mold, let dry, reinstall wiring & sheetrock – those who got 3″ of water have to do the same as those that got 6′ of water as sheetrock and bat insullation wick – if you are in a area that gets less than 3 feet it is a good trick to run cross members between the studs at 4 ft to use as a water break and cut your insullation in half, that and the using of a chair rail/wainscoatting to have a break in your sheet rock so it doesn’t wick and if you are real smart you place your electrical outlets above the chair rail line so they are safe, currenly live in Houston area and South Texas floods. By the way, estimate of $50B to relocate a city of 500,000 not inculding the suburbs is way low … $50B would probably be the cost of relocating the port alone … and relocating all the oil and gas plants would be even more … but then the NE doesn’t need heating oil or natrual gas heat, let them freeze is my attitude … anyone stupid enough to live in snow bound areas should just live in down and not expect the gulf to supply them with heat. Now for the relocating of the oil and natural gas reserves (if you are a creationalist, you will need to tak to God about that) … that might be a little harder … and unfortunately you need people to work those rigs and plants. Now for the kicker … are we not to rebuild any of the Gulf Coast? Next year it could be the Texas Gulf Coast (70% of the petro-chemical industry is on the Texas coast and about 50% of the refineries) and I guess we shouldn’t rebuild Freeport, Galveston, Clear Lake, Seabrook, Pasadena, South Houston or the other 2-3 dozen communities as a Cat 4 – 5 storm hitting between Freeport/Galveston would basically wipe most of Texas Gulf Coast cities off the map as well, the first natural ridge off the coast from Galveston is the Heights ridge which is about where I-10 runs across Houston, a 30′ wave surge would come to about there before stopping. Ya’ll don’t want cheap gas, and are going to give up anything made with plastics (which of couse means your computers as well) willingly aren’t you??? While we are at it why don’t we move all citys from any coast line … Pacific coast we have to worry about Tusamis, southern Atlantic coast also gets hurricanes. We can close all our ports, quit building ships, rigs, etc., close down our oil fields, and everyone can give up seafood. That will make everyone happy. Let see we close the shipyards in New Orleans & Mississippi .. that only takes out 40-45% of our shipbuilding in this country but if we don’t have ports we won’t need ships. We also know now not to build in Oaklahoma … those idiots there don’t know to water thier grass in dry periods … and we definetly need to get rid of farming in Illinois … they have droughts up there .. we just have given 80 counties there this past year alone federal relief due to the droughts … hell have those farmers move to somewhere it gets rain and not expect us who live in areas with adequate rainrall to pay for thier stupidity. And hell, who cares about historic buildings … New Orleans was a city in the 1700’s and most of the historic buildings from the 17th and 18th century are still there. Actually for those who have only visited New Orleans you have probably never been to the suburban areas that were flooded, just the areas that survived. But then I guess the US is just a country of runners … run away, run away .. we can’t solve anything because we are running away so fast. We don’t have the tecnology or abilitys to do anything but run. Abandon ship all who live here. Well thats fine for you … me … I’m moving back as soon as my son finishes this semester here in Houston … houses go on the market this spring and I will be helping rebuild. Luckily, since I’m a uptown/mid-city girl I won’t be held up by FEMA not being able to make a decision and will be restoring older houses … unlike those in Metarie, New Oleans East, Slidell, Mississippi and Alabama who are not being allowed to rebuild because FEMA can’t make a decision on what they are going to allow to be rebuild or what code to use and every day they delay drains the people of monies and hope. And for those “good christians” out there … there are 2000+ references in the gospels saying to help others … 0 saying to tell everyone to fuck off.

  • Marshall A. Kidder

    It is a disgrace that we can spend millions of dollars and loose countless young lives for a country that hates us and spits on our flag, and yet we cannot seem to help our very own people rebuild New Orleans. We sure have billions to spend in Iraq however. Why have we not heard anything from our poor excuse of a president recently about this? Not only should he be empeached, he should be tried as a terrorist himself. My heart goes out to the forgotten people of New Orleans.

  • sabrina

    How many african americans are coming back or can find away to come back to rebuild the community? I’m from Rochester, NY and the local talk show host here says that nearly 10,000 latinos per month are coming there to rebuild the city and also staying there permanently. How are the latinos coming what route or way- who is sponsoring their travels? He implied that the blacks are lazy and aren’t willing to come back to help out- are there any stories about blacks who are trying to come back. I find that most people are insensitive to this story and to the experience that these people went through? THANKS

  • joy

    this dosen’t make any sense new orleans should be rebuilt and it will be

  • joy

    ok that is enough why in the hell presitdent bush is not doing anything in this situation there acting like they don’t even care so presitdent bush you need to get your butt out of office because you should be ashamed and if it was oklahoma one of those white cities you will be quit to help them out.

  • recika

    i love new orleans so rebuild it

  • Jim

    I think it makes sense for house boats to be used, rather than single wide mobile homes. Both for FEMA supplied trailers and for homeowners wanting a safer design for the next time New Orleans fills up with water.

    I was thinking that a houseboat with one or more strong anchor chains attached to it, the anchor chains cemented in the ground, and also a way to secure the houseboats by anchor chain higher up the chain near the top of the anchor chain, so that hurricane winds do not blow the houseboats over, but that you can then detach the short anchoring, leaving the long anchor lines in place, so that when New Orleans fills up with water, the house boats merely float at the surface, attached to their anchor lines so they don’t float away, and when the water subsides they settle back down. Then they are put back onto their properties by cranes and the short anchoring is secured again.

    The result is way less financial losses and disruption to homeowners and to the City. Property fences would need to be pretty low or nonexistent, so that when the house boats settle down, they are not resting crooked on a fence.

  • John

    New Orleans should not have been built in the first place, and so it should not be rebuilt.

    It was built on a flood plain. The French settlers were smart enough not to build in those areas, so they built on the highest ground around: the French Quarter. The right decision would have been not to build there in the first place, and let the land flood naturally and regenerate itself as it has done for millenia. This is a golden opportunity not to make the same mistake twice.

    Don’t rebuild it! I know it hurts, because we all like the culture there, but let’s be smart and not make the same mistake twice.

  • taylor

    How can a government be so careless to deny good help. These people from the Netherlands offered to help us build levees so the next flood will not be so hard on the economy. Being the stubborn us government we deny their help because we are and “independent country”. Well if the government of this country were smart then they would rebuild this and get good help when needed.