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View Diary: Katrina Victims: What's Your Proposal To Help Them? (124 comments)

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  •  Use rebuilding New Orelans as a symbol... (4.00)
    ...of adapting to global climate change.

    If the city needs to be rebuilt from scratch, do so in a way to minimize the use of fossil fuels and maximize sustainability.  Rather than just building higher levees, re-engineer the hydrodynamics to restore the natural processes that deposit silt to maintain the barrier islands and wetlands.  For New Orleans proper, either bring in enough earth to raise it well above sea-level or rebuild on stilts and let the natural processes go on in full view under the platforms that people live on, sort of like Venice.

    "Never give up, never surrender"

    by wonkydonkey on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:09:00 PM PDT

    •  Too long term (none)
      We need to focus on rescuing people and keeping them alive and helping an entire city of homeless.

      I wonder if they'll do a benefit concert for New Orleans.

      The GOP Love the soldiers like they love children: Seen but not heard.

      by DawnG on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

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      •  But long term matters too! (none)
        Yes, the focus NOW is clearly short-term but we have to have someone with long-term visioning and this idea of a "sustainable NOLA" is outstanding!
        •  yes it matters (none)
          But we have to prioritize.  Get people to safety THEN start to plan for a rebuild.

          It's a good goal,  but I'm just saying there are more important things right now.

          The GOP Love the soldiers like they love children: Seen but not heard.

          by DawnG on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:27:19 PM PDT

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        •  Absolutley (none)
          The only reason that the city of Galveston still exists is precicely because of this kind of planning.  Within 10 years of the 1900 Hurricane (still the greatest loss of American life to natural disaster for the moment) they had finished construction of the sea wall and raising the entire freaking island by 6 to 15 feet.

          That seawall saved the island from devistation in 1915.

          So lets get moving on this project too...

    •  Maybe the city shouldn't be rebuilt (4.00)
      Why rebuild in an area that's so suspectible to natural disaster?

      I think we need to have a serious discussion in this country about whether the gov't should just cough up the cash to rebuild only to have the rebult homes destroyed a few years later.  If you've built where nature didn't intend for a city to be built,it shouldn't be rebuilt.

      •  good point... (none)
        it is artifical ...and having grown up on the Mississippi and helping sandbag it during the 93' flood you do learn that dams and levees are part of the real problem.....
      •  And... (none)
        I'll bet insurance companies won't insure houses rebuilt there...

        TexasDemocrat
        Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

        by TexasDemocrat on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:34:11 PM PDT

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        •  I'm going to diary this (none)
          Each time there's a hurricane FEMA goes in and rebuilds house that should never have been built in the first place, we need to have this discussion.  I can't think of a moder example, but cities have been moved in the past in recogntion that nature never intended them to be built where they were at.  Maybe  excepting the historic center, and things that can't be moved like ports, the city should be moved to higher ground.
          •  Check out just a few of the U.S cities ... (none)
            ...that have been hurt by natural disasters or could be:

            Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Jacksonville, Mobile, Galveston, Houston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego.

            Shall we move them all?

            "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:45:44 PM PDT

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            •  No (none)
              I think that geographically, New Orleans is at a special risks, but I do think that we need to recognize that coastal land (in particular barrier islands) change in human lifetimes, while earthquakes and the rest occur in geological time(hundred of thousands of years.)  A house can be built to survive an earthquake, unless you build a house on stilts it isn't going to stand a 10 foot wave.
            •  New Orleans (none)
              New Orleans is the extreme case, though. Folks have been predicting something like this for 10 years--predicting it would happen without accounting for a hurricaine to do the work.

              In the medium term, we need someone to take a look at the investment the Netherlands is making into preparing for the repurcussions of global warming (things like building new developments on stilts, to accommodate rising water levels, things like preparing for the time the dikes will no longer hold). If we're willing to make that kind of investment, by all means rebuild. But if we're not, we're just setting up for worse disaster (if that's possible) in the medium term.

              This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

              by emptywheel on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 10:19:59 PM PDT

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              •  With the Mississippi Delta (none)
                rapidly disintegrating, (see this National Geographic article I wonder with it make financial sense to rebuild in an area that without billion upon billions of dollars of investment will be even more vulnerable to flooding than now.  Are we going to left the river up loose to slow the river so it will rebuild the delta, so we are going to sacrifice cities that exist now to rebuild a city that is gone?
            •  San Francisco (none)
              The disaster in the wake of Katrina has made me really think about preparedness.  They've been expecting the big one for such a long time. It just seems that New Orleans is a city without help or hope right now.  Not hard to think of San Francisco in the same place.
        •  You better believe they will (none)
          if they want to be allowed to do business in Louisiana...
      •  no offense.... (none)
        ... but what about cities did nature intend?  I agree that nature provides humans certain features that make the location of certain cities "natural."  But what is the natural location for a city???  This is changing constantly.  Cities are defined by their times.  My recollection is that New Orleans started off as a fur trading post because of it's location at the mouth of the Mississippi.    

        What about San Francisco, LA, Hawaii... low lying areas along our major rivers.  Would you say no to rebuilding in those places also?

        I say rebuild NOLA and put a ton of investment in the levee system.  You can't abandon a whole city... and the cost to relocate would far outstrip the cost to rebuild.

         

        If Rove concealed the fact that he was a leaker from the President, why hasn't the President fired him?

        by wintersnowman on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:36:17 PM PDT

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        •  Exactly, The Netherlands would ... (none)
          ...have to give up a third of its land if it gave up levees.

          "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

          by Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:37:20 PM PDT

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          •  True (none)
            but the Dutch were forced to reclaim land because, they have an acute land shortage in their country.  We have plenty of land in this country.  Even in the Netherlands until the closing of the Zuidersee in the 60's the country was regularly inundated by massive floods.  Does it make since to make the investment needed to protect a rebuilt New Orleans, when there is plenty of other locations to build that are better suited to house a city?
        •  Relocation works... (none)
          The Mississippi River floods of 1993 also were no surprise and they lasted for months (don't even get me started about the heavy equipment that was brought INTO the areas forecasted to flood). Mississippi River floods have occurred regularly and are known, when they happen, to be exacerbated by the channelization and levee systems.

          So, from a policy report by the Environmental Defense Fund (even if you don't agree with their policy recommendations, their relocation facts here are correct):

          Since the Great Flood of 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has acquired, relocated or elevated more than 22,000 structures, sharply reducing future disaster costs by removing many of the nation's repeatedly flooded homes, businesses and farms from harm's way. In particular, FEMA relocated approximately 12,800 homes, businesses and farms in nine states bordering the Mississippi and Missouri rivers - approximately one-out-of-seven structures damaged by the Great Flood. For the first time, repeatedly flooded homeowners opted to use federal relief to relocate their homes to higher ground - ending the cycle of rebuilding their homes in harm's way and instead launching the largest voluntary relocation in the nation's history. In Illinois and Missouri alone, 5,100 homes and businesses were relocated at a cost of $66 million. These structures which had previously received $191 million in flood insurance payments. When floodwaters returned in 1995, approximately 2,500 people flooded in 1993 were now on higher ground; disaster relief for Saint Charles County, Missouri fell from $26 million in 1993 to less than $300,000 in 1995.

          Rebuilding anywhere along Florida and the Gulf Coast should be deeply reconsidered, especially in the face of increasingly active hurricane seasons over the next decade at least. Federal money for reconstruction may be better spent (even from the perspective of people affected by the disaster) by paying for construction elsewhere. And folks should be supported for deciding to get out -- including with WPA-style programs elsewhere.

          But the idea of other posters to use bases temporarily and WPA programs for cleaning up, and then for restoring natural river and wetland funtions would be good.

          •  I thought that (none)
            some of this occurred after 1993, and I think that the rebuild of NOLA should take the saem tack.  We should be building cities on solid foundations, not sand, so to speak. I hope you don't get upset but I'm going to put up a thread so I don't hijack DHinMi's diary here, and I'm going to put this up there.
            •  Sounds fine to me (none)
              The idea isn't to downplay the tragedy that everyone is facing now, but to begin to think about how to keep these sorts of things from happening repeatedly. And engineers are beginning to realize that working with, not against, natural processes works best in long run. When an area is completely destroyed, that's the time for completely rethinking the approach.  And that goes for the entire Florida and Gulf Coasts, not just New Orleans....

              Anyway, enough of the tangent...

      •  Yeah, especially considering the projected... (none)
        ...sea level rise due to global warming.

        (Although in another generation all our coastal cities may be in the same situation as New Orleans. Do we want to abandon all of them?)


        Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

        by Abou Ben Adhem on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:39:42 PM PDT

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      •  Arrrrgh! Since we are only to "K" ... (none)
        ...in what has been predicted to be one of the most active hurricane seasons ever, there may be several cities not to be rebuilt before November comes. Sorry. Natural disasters befall cities everywhere, and unless we're going to give up living in cities near fault rifts, flood zones, volcanoes, hurricane paths and tornado paths, we just have to find a way to make them less susceptible without totally wrecking the environment in the process.

        "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

        by Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:40:52 PM PDT

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        •  Can I at least (none)
          get you to agree that we need to reconsider the wisdom of national disaster policies that encourage people to build half million dollar homes on barrier islands because they know that the gov't or the "pool" will pay to rebuild them when the reality that they have built on temporary land comes home (and carries it out to sea.)?
          •  Absolutely (none)
            as this has been a big issue in the past! In fact, elsewhere down in St. Croix we know a number of people who own businesses who actually "enjoy" hurricanes (of a milder nature) because they collect on the insurance money......similar theory.
            •  This (none)
              is the discussion I'm trying to start.  Sorry to go biblical on you guys, but you know the idea that wise people recognize recognize that some land is "temporary" while other is more permant.  As the bible says,

              The wise man built his house on rock. It rained hard and the water rose. The winds blew and hit the house. But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock. .... The foolish man built his house on sand. It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit the house. And the house fell with a big crash.</div)
          •  Yes. On this I agree with you. n/t (none)

            "The President wanted to go into Iraq in the worst possible way. And he did." -- Nancy Pelosi

            by Meteor Blades on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 10:23:02 AM PDT

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        •  Nonsense... (none)
          New Orleans is a coastal city in a hurricane area that is below sea level!.  Would you advocate just sending a bunch of construction ships out into the San Francisco bay to start building a city there?  If not, why should we act differently in the case of New Orleans.  The bottomline is the city is under water.  Next time a hurricane whips through it probably will be again.  

          It's too bad that the city has sunk, but that's how things now are.  Rebuilding it is just going to allow for another disaster in the future.  

          In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

          by Asak on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 12:09:24 AM PDT

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      •  no, people can adapt (none)
        to construct in a way that those natural disasters are taken into account.

        I heard someone saying one should enforce new building codes that adjust to the international building codes. I don't know what that means exactly, but apparently there is a lot of cheap construction by development corporation that is way below some sort of standards.

        It's the noble cause, stupid!

        by mimi on Tue Aug 30, 2005 at 08:43:42 PM PDT

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      •  nature's expectations (none)
        nature doesn't expect a city to be build anywhere.

        we build them where we like.

        But making the city flood safer in every way, including construction that can HANDLE flood, is fine...

    •  Deputize the refugees (4.00)
      Give them a public work project to save, clean, an rebuild New Orleans.

      No matter what, they will need shelter & food -- make it close and let them help in the recovery.

    •  That means taking out the dams up river (none)
      on the Mississippi and Missouri;  you won't get a lot of support for that from those up river states.  

      Environmentally, I agree about letting the silt rebuild, but I am not sure that we, as a nation, can afford to rebuild NO.  

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