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  •  Will anyone discuss the undiscussable? (16+ / 0-)

    Two strong liberal movements seem to be at odds here.

    One is the renovation of NOLA and its return to its rightful inhabitants.  ASAP.

    The other, in all other contexts, is a questioning of where we locate our centers of population.  Even before global warming was making its first undeniable effects felt, many environmentalists questioned the wisdom of building along fragile coastal areas that are prone to flooding.  There's a reason why the affluent districts are on high ground.  Global warming only makes the situation worse.

    So what's the plan?  Do we rebuild where maybe nothing should have ever been built?  Or do we preserve the unique culture, the community, and the daily living of the people of the 9th Ward, at all costs and in denial of all predictions?

    Can we even have this discussion?

    •  I say rebuild as it was... (9+ / 0-)

      and redevelop the wetlands surrounding New Orleans that in the past protected New Orleans for centuries from the kind of storm surge that destroyed New Orleans last year.

      You cannot relocate New Orleans.  You cannot relocate Miami.  You cannot relocate Gulfport.  

      I mean, should we relocate Los Angeles and San Francisco simply because they are vulnerable to devastating earthquakes!!!

      •  We need to ask an expert in wetlands (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Coffee Geek

        But in the interim, I'm not sure that wetlands can do what they need to do if NOLA is built back where it was.  From what I heard months ago, When the French were first settling the area, the ground was a slosh of mud with huge tree trunks immersed in it.  There's a human arrogance about the idea of building wherever we want to live.

        Wealthy people take their risks voluntarily; the poor don't.  I don't know what to do about LA and SF, but at least there isn't an annual earthquake season.

        •  well, some of us inlanders.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          balancedscales, llbear

          ....wonder about californians. between earthquakes, brush fires and mudslides, it seems pretty crazy to rebuild their outrageously overinflated pricey homes...

          The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

          by FemiNazi on Thu May 11, 2006 at 10:16:45 PM PDT

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      •  yes, but build it up (6+ / 0-)

        we should absolutely not try to relocate it, whether as far as baton rouge or iowa either.  although that seems to be how the GOP would like the population to go – dispersed, dispirited and powerless.

        but building it exactly as it was is a bad idea.  think blue is right that we should be discussing it.  my take is that we should take this opportunity to bring the land well above sea level to keep the flooding from happening again, which it certainly will since it has happened in the past.  second best would be building hundreds of miles of really tall seawall/dykes like the netherlands has to keep the north sea out.  i mean cripes, if the frickin' tulip-growers can do it, surely it's not beyond the capability of the world's last superpower, right?  (don't answer that...)

        it's not enough to survive: one has to be worthy of surviving — admiral adama

        by zeke L on Thu May 11, 2006 at 07:04:09 PM PDT

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        •  Building it UP (5+ / 0-)

          Isn't this what Galveston, TX did, like, 106 years ago? and at the time, it was considered one of the most expensive and high-tech endeavors of land reconstruction. Why can't we do that with NOLA and other areas in this century?

          Read more if you're interested in learning how the 1900 rebuild effort for Galveston worked. It involved building a seawall around the city's coastal perimeter and elevating the city, in some places, up to 17 to 20 feet higher than its original elevation.

          After the devastating hurricane of 1900, which claimed about 8,000 lives, Galveston at its newer, safer elevation has not experienced anywhere NEAR the devastation from a hurricane strike since; and it, too, is a Gulf Coast city.

    •  Rebuild The Skeleton (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      think blue

      Building a city below sea level is stupid.

      Period.

      It was and always will be. So I'm not big on rebuilding. I am, however, sickened by how this is all going to rot, and how there still isn't the support promised before.

      •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

        Building a city below sea level is stupid.

        No. What is stupid is trusting the government to build levees and pumping stations that do what they are supposed to do.

        Without music, life would be a mistake.

        by Cory on Thu May 11, 2006 at 07:55:31 PM PDT

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      •  there's a whole lot of.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phemme texxii

        ....utterly fantastic cities at sea level, no matter how stupid it is...

        The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

        by FemiNazi on Thu May 11, 2006 at 10:18:48 PM PDT

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        •  True (0+ / 0-)

          true, but we dont' often go around building new ones.  The cities around the world that I'm aware of, that are below sea level, didn't start out that way.  NOLA has been sinking for longer than there have been Europeans there, while the city has grown out into the immediate coastal areas.  The question being asked is do we rebuild in a way that repeats the ignorant and disastrous environmental mistakes of previous generations in the name of social equality.  

          history shows..that the party with the tough primary usually wins Bob Casey, Jr

          by Austin in PA on Fri May 12, 2006 at 04:56:06 AM PDT

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          •  we wouldn't be building.... (0+ / 0-)

            ....a new city. we'd be rebuilding a vibrant, unforgettable part of our country's history. and we could rebuild it in a way that would make it safe...

            The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

            by FemiNazi on Fri May 12, 2006 at 08:43:16 AM PDT

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    •  rebuild it (11+ / 0-)

      and if there are low-lying parts of town that are better to let return back into wetlands, then those people - renters and homeowners alike - deserve guaranteed housing in the new new orleans. there is a need for a port there, even with the flood issue, and all of the people displaced deserve a home over their heads and a community to be a part of. if we must sacrifice parts of old new orleans to build a new one, than that scarifice must be shared between the people, rich and poor alike.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Thu May 11, 2006 at 06:55:04 PM PDT

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      •  yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        I don't have the expertise to know if they should rebuild the low-lying neighborhoods as before, but I do know that if that's the decision, it needs to be made clear right away. We then need to set about building adequate new housing immediately for all the displaced residents. We can't just say "sorry" and let them scatter to the four winds with no help.

        Gonna be a judgment, that's a fact. A righteous train rollin' down this track . . . -- Bruce Springsteen

        by saucy monkey on Thu May 11, 2006 at 09:04:38 PM PDT

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    •  Andre Codrescu has a (5+ / 0-)

      wonderful piece -  (sorry I can't quote where from, my friend had printed it out and I read it during a great discussion of this topic ) saying that NO should be rebuilt as a water city - like Venice, embracing the water, not trying to keep it out. He spoke of water taxis, canals, house boats being subsidized by local government - an annual water festival to add to Mardi Gras - it was wonderful ! It was a whole vision full of creative ideas and may well be a subject for real discussion on some other plane of reality, not here in Bizzaro-Amerika.

      'We're sick and tired of being sick and tired' ~ St.FannyLou Hamer

      by Dvalkure on Thu May 11, 2006 at 07:08:20 PM PDT

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    •  The Sierra Club, the Corps, and (3+ / 0-)

      a handful of other organizations had developed a smart, eco-friendly, and practical system for saving the city and the marshlands - years ago.  It never got implemented.  Guess why?  

      No funding.

      The river deposits tons of sediment every day.  If you know how to channel that sediment properly, you should have no problem preserving the city for at least as long as every other major center of population near the coasts.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu May 11, 2006 at 07:20:52 PM PDT

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    •  But what is being repaired first? (5+ / 0-)

      Oh yes, the Gulf Coast casinos!

      Now THAT'S precisely where the UNDEVELOPED LAND SHOULD BE in order to provide a buffer for towns like Pass Christian.

      New Orleans should have been well protected by wetlands to the south.  Instead, there were pockets of encroaching development and some numbnuts though it would be a great idea to build a straight canal between the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico for "international shipping."

      But the canal was never used and it ended up amplifying the storm surge--as was predicted by environmentalists.

      I guess one could argue that the wetlands to the south should be reclaimed--along with some high-priced development--THAT'LL never happen-- and the International Shipping Canal should be drained and destroyed.

      The Ninth Ward will keep flooding.  It always has.  Thing is, can we avoid a storm surge that tops the levees and can we reclaim enough wetlands to soften the blow of a hurricane or at least absorb the water that collects after a flood?

      That takes clever, thoughtful planning.  Not a hallmark of this Administration.

    •  also undiscussable (0+ / 0-)

      is the massive influx of illegal immigrants who have come to NOLA to do the rebuilding work, especially since Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon act, eliminating the need for anyone to pay prevailing wages.

      usually, when i get into this, i am called a xenophobe. But the situation in New Orleans is at the heart of my argument. I don't personally care to preserve the culture & way of life of the most typical American white people, to be perfectly honest. No offense to them, that's just not a concern of mine. However, a sudden massive influx of people from Latin America does currently threaten the cultural existence of Louisiana Creoles, Cajuns, & New Orleanian / Southern American Black people, whose cultures I have always found to be rich and intriguing, especially since they are American- they evolved right here in this country.

      i've mentioned it a lot lately: I actually went to the rally in Crawford last weekend on the immigration issue. Minutemen and New Orleanians were both in attendance. Liberal movements are definitely at odds here too.

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