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Original at Booman Tribune.

I'm sure many of you probably saw last night's edition of 60 Minutes in which reporter Scott Pelley interviewed, among others, Prof. Tim Kusky, Greg Meffert, a city planner, and Mike Centineo, the city's top building official about the reconstruction of New Orleans.  The news, of course, is not good.

It also appears that state and local officials had also tried to pressure CBS to postpone this program for fear of losing future investment or funds.  Andy Kopplin, the executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, wrote 60 Minutes requesting that it delay the showing until it discussed the matter with scientists other than Prof. Kusky who have been closely studying the issue.  He professed himself satisfied with the show as indicated by Bayou Buzz, yet asked for another show that would describe the restoration and condition of the coastal wetlands.  However, in its "Pulse of America" series, also had a report on the creeping approach of the Gulf of Mexico, and the inability of the Mississippi River delta to support the city for some time:

The upshot is that New Orleans has been sinking as much as 3 ft. a century. That's bad news for a city that is already an average of 8 ft. below sea level. Making things worse: sea levels worldwide are rising as much as 3 ft. a century on account of global warming. The lower New Orleans plunges, the worse it will be when the big one hits.

Then there was the now-famous 2002 series that the Times-Picayune published, including the fact that New Orleans was sinking.  Science Daily, quoting United States Geological Survey officials and University of New Orleans scientists in 2000, said almost the same thing, titling its report and New Orleans as "The New Atlantis."

University of New Orleans coastal geologist Dr. Shea Penland and coastal geomorphologist Dr. Denise Reed have spent their careers (combined 40 years) figuring out exactly what is driving this catastrophic condition. Their research has identified the specific problems jeopardizing the future of New Orleans and southern Louisiana. "We have the greatest coastal land loss problem in North America. This is more than a serious problem . . . it's a catastrophic one. We're living on the verge of a coastal collapse," warns Dr. Penland.


New Orleans is sinking three feet per century--eight times faster than the worldwide rate of only 0.4 feet per century. Currently, New Orleans, on average, is eight feet below sea level--11 feet in some places.

Many of the low-lying barrier islands will disappear by 2050.

Well, the big one has already hit.  And now we are dealing with the immediate aftermath.

While the city has largely dried out, residents who have returned still cannot receive temporary trailers from FEMA.  Many survivors cannot bury their dead. Many are too poor to return.  FEMA refuses to assist thousands who are still in temporary shelters, hotels, motels and housing after next Thursday, December 1.  And people like 81-year-old Vera Fulton and her family still want to live in New Orleans.

Vera Fulton has lived most of her 81 years on Lizardi Street and returned to her home recently for the first time since being evacuated.

"When they say `storm,' I leave. I can't swim and I can't drink it. So what I do, I leave," says Vera, who has lost her home to two hurricanes.

Vera is intent on coming back. "I don't have no other home, where I'm going?"

Three generations of Fultons, Vera's son Irvin Jr., his wife Gay and their son Irvin, 3rd, live around Lizardi Street.

Irvin says his house is "just flat" and he didn't have insurance.

That's the dilemma. The only thing they have left is land prone to disaster. They want to rebuild, and the city plans to let them.

And most probably, on their own.

Many of New Orleans working poor managed to become homeowners, with homes passed down to children and relatives despite redlining, discrimination, substandard housing, and outright displacement.  Some had home and flood insurance, while some did not.  Even if they were not homeowners, the same practice was true for those who rented housing, no matter what condition it was in.  Many flats and houses in New Orleans were already substandard.  They were allowed to totter because of absentee landlords who patched up rather than rebuild or renovate for their black tenants.

For example, my aunt and cousins were forced to patch the roof of the flat in which they lived themselves because their landlord is still MIA or refuses to answer their phone calls.  Before Katrina, I knew that someone from a particular family would always be living upstairs from my old address, long after my grandparents--who were the original landlords when they arrived there nearly sixty years ago--had died.  Now that tie to the past is broken.  I would not be surprised if the old house is bulldozed.  The foundation was already troubled, causing the lower level (where my family once lived) to occasionally flood and become uninhabitable.  The house, essentially, was allowed to rot from its stairs to its laundry room.  Of course, this did not have to happen.  It was deliberate, and it was because of where it was, and who was living in or around it.

Asked whether allowing people to rebuild makes sense, Centenio says it is "going to take some studying."

Right now, he says the flood level requirement (the 100-year-flood level) is the law.

Twelve weeks after the storm hit, no one has an answer to where people should go. An estimated 80,000 homes had no insurance, and for now, the biggest grant a family can get from the federal government is $26,200.

Those without flood insurance face an uncertain road ahead, trying to piece their lives and homes back together.

But then again, there is the larger issue.  Mrs. Fulton may not have many years left to live.  Her house may pass to her son, who lost his own nearby home and did not have insurance on it.  Unfortunately, the date of 2050 may have people wondering whether this is worth it. This is where Irvin Fulton, III comes in, if he decides to stay in this house.   Because when the outlying bayous, lands and islands off New Orleans disappear, then that means that higher ground in New Orleans will be more at a premium.  The 60 Minutes piece showed that for a couple of islands, this has already occurred.

I'd like to see New Orleans rebuild, with its predominantly black residents given the right of return, according to a recent Black Commentator story:

African American Leadership Project
& The New Orleans Local Organizing Committee
& The Greater New Orleans Coalition of Ministers

New Orleans Citizen Bill of Rights'

  1. All displaced persons should maintain the "Right of Return" to New Orleans as an International "Human Right." A persons' socioeconomic status, class, employment, occupation, educational level, neighborhood residence, or how they were evacuated should have no bearing on this fundamental right. This right shall include the provision of adequate transportation to return to the city by the similar means that a person was dispersed. THE CITY SHOULD NOT BE DEPOPULATED OF ITS MAJORITY AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND LOWER INCOME CITIZENS, and must be rebuilt to economically include all those who were displaced.

  2. All displaced persons must retain their right of citizenship in the city, especially including the right to vote in the next municipal elections. Citizen rights to the franchise must be protected and widely explained to all dispersed persons. The provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 should be examined and enforced in this regard.

  3. All displaced persons should have the right to shape and envision the future of the city. Shaping the future should not be left to elected officials, appointed commissions, developers and/or business interests alone. We the citizens are the primary stakeholders of a re-imagined New Orleans. Thus, we MUST be directly involved in imagining the future. Provisions must be included to insure this right.

  4. All displaced persons should have the right to participate in the rebuilding of the city as owners, producers, providers, planners, developers, workers, and direct beneficiaries. Participation must especially include African-Americans and the poor, and those previously excluded from the development process.

  5. In rebuilding the city, all displaced persons should have the right to quality goods and services based on equity and equality. Disparities and inequality must be eliminated in all aspects of social, economic and political life. It should be illegal to discriminate against an individual due to their income, occupation or educational status, in addition to the traditional categories of race, gender, religion, language, disability, culture or other social status.

  6. In rebuilding the city, all displaced persons should have the right to affordable neighborhoods, quality affordable housing, adequate health care, good schools, repaired infrastructures, a livable environment and improved transportation and hurricane safety.

  7. In rebuilding the city, workers, especially hospitality workers should have the right to be paid a livable wage with good benefits.

  8. In rebuilding the city, African-American should have the right to increased economic benefits and ownership. The percentage of Black owned enterprises MUST dramatically increase from the present 14%, and the access to wealth and ownership must also be dramatically improved.

  9. In rebuilding the city, African-Americans and any displaced low income populations should have the right to preferential treatment in cleanup jobs, construction and operational work associated with rebuilding the city.

  10. In rebuilding the city, the right to contracting preference should also be given to Community Development collaboratives, community and faith-based corporations/organizations, and New Orleans businesses that partner with nonprofit service providers and people of color. No contracts should be let to companies that disregard Davis-Bacon, Affirmative action and local participation. Proposed legislation to create a "recovery opportunity zone" should specifically include Community Development organizations and minority firms as alternatives to the no bid multi-national companies. Over the last 30 years, such firms have demonstrated their capacity to successfully build hundreds of thousands of quality affordable housing, and neighborhood commercials and businesses and service enterprises.

  11. In rebuilding the city, priority must be given to the right to an environmentally clean and hurricane safe city, rather than the destruction of Black neighborhoods or communities such as the Lower 9th Ward. Priority must also be given to environmental justice, disaster planning and evacuation plans that work for the most transit dependent populations and the most vulnerable residents of the city.

  12. In rebuilding the city, priority must be given to the right to preserve and continue the rich and diverse cultural traditions of the city, and the social experiences of Black people that produced the culture. The second line, Mardi Gras Indians, brass bands, creative music, dance foods, language and other expressions are the "soul of the city." The rebuilding process must preserve these traditions. THE CITY MUST NOT BE CULTURALLY, ECONOMICALLY OR SOCIALLY GENTRIFIED. INTO A "SOULLESS" COLLECTION OF CONDOS AND tract home NEIGHBORHOODS FOR THE RICH. We also respectfully request that the CBC initiate its own Commission to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the physical and human dimensions of the Katrina disaster.

I don't know whether this right of return could be implemented with the powers-that-be currently in government, and I don't mean just Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco.  Some, as you might already realize, are already planning how New Orleans is going to look, and it won't be the same. Supposedly Cokie Roberts, the daughter of the late congressman Hale Boggs, came to New Orleans herself recently, and marveled how few blacks were in the city, much less people.  She had always known it to be peopled with blacks. How does the city rebuild and flourish with this kind of future foretold? 

If New Orleans is that important to the United States, then the U.S. should marshal its scientific community to come up with a few answers about how to save it.  New Orleans is more than just a place where people can party in the Quarter.  It is an historic site.  The Venetians and the Italians know this; Venice sits out on the Adriatic and its streets have been flooded for centuries, and yet it still goes on.  It has a few strategies to fight back the encroaching sea.  This was the result of a concerted effort that acknowledges the city's importance.  But time is running out for both world cities.

Meffert has some clear feelings on whether the nation should commit billions of dollars and several years to protect the city.

"Is it commit or invest? I mean this is the thing that that people miss. The country has to decide whether it really is what we tell the world what we are. Or are we just saying that? Because if we are that powerful, if we are that focused, if we are that committed to all of our citizens, then there is no decision to make. Of course you rebuild it," says Meffert.

But how to make the impossible possible? We've already committed the sin of being long on vision but short on implementation.  And one more false move, either by the bureaucracies and the business community could indeed wreck the city for all time far more than just the elements.

Originally posted to on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:08 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar, and please recommend... (4.00)
    My heart is hurt.  I could do nothing but mourn at the 60 Minutes piece.  My neighbors must have thought that I was nuts last night.

    Gone.  In my lifetime.

    This is what the Buddhists mean by the lesson of detachment.  All things must change.  Nothing stays the same.

    An untypical Negro...since 1954.

    by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:08:32 PM PST

    •  The glory and charm of New Orleans (4.00)
      was that there was such Life, such Culture, such Passion flourishing in the shadow of Death.  It was the Party at the End of the World, and sadly now, the Bill has come due.

       I believe in phoenixes, I believe in second chances, but I can't imagine how this happy historic accident of a city, will ever be what it once was.  The glory of magic is that it's fleeting,.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:23:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beautiful words for a requiem (4.00)
        Which New Orleans certainly doesn't need.

        "Happy historic accident of a city" or "fleeting magic" are words that tourists use.  New Orleans maybe just be a destination for some, but for millions of others --it is home.

        New Orleans is as much a part of America's cultural heritage as Boston, New York City or Charleston.  We better think long and hard on cutting-and-running from rebuilding this jewel in our crown.

        Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

        by bronte17 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:04:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Build a mountain there! (none)
          It sounds absurd, at first, but we have the ability to move mountains, today, literally.

          Earth-moving equipment could be used to build NOLA above sea level, with the older sections being preserved as they are.

          It could be done, and we can't lose this incredible historical treasure, especially the old city.

          •  can be reasonable (none)
            Suppose that moving in a cubic yard of dirt cost 20 bucks, which is definitely the ballpark figure.  Then to pile 10 ft of dirt on top of a square mile would cost 800 mln dollars.  I think that a cubic yard of dirt would actually cost less, but one has to compact it, and that takes quite a bit of time, equipment and labor.  Merely dumping dirt would not do.

            Good flood protection for NO would have to cost several billion dollars (was it 20?), so one could raise the level of the center of the city as they are at it.

            Most important is to reverse the destruction of the Missisipi delta.  This ecological calamity makes NO more vulnerable but it would be a calamity even if NO would not exists.  

            •  The real Question is (none)
              FOr how long Can we/Should We, continue to try to alter the Flow of the Mississippi river?  By geologic rights NO should Have been a ghost town 50 years ago as the Mighty Miss followed it's millenia-old habit of Moving its mouth westward.  Without the intervention of the ACE the path of the Missippii would be far from NO by now.  So the question becomes, for how long should we continue to fight nature and artifically alter the course of the river to serve the needs of a already vulnerable town?

              Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

              by Magorn on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 09:11:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Mississippi Delta (none)
              formed a barrier that allowed Hurricane Katrina to create a twenty foot tall flood surge in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Pass Christian.

              The Mississippi Delta should be allowed to fully erode away to prevent future damage in Mississippi.

              New Orleans should redevelop the destroyed areas with buildings having a disposable ground floor level.

              The high-stoop brownstones of New York could serve as a design model.

              The ground floor level could be rented out to pay for the reconstruction mortgage.

              Every hundred years or so a few thousand dollars worth of belongings would have to be replaced in many ground floor apartments and the concrete walls cleaned.

              The city and its suburbs should be segmented with flood barriers every mile so one little breach can't flood almost the whole area again.

      •  phoenix has its own problems. (none)
        maybe it'll improve without senator kyl.

        we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

        by 2nd balcony on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:23:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bush did not spend the $250 million on the levees (none)
      plus pumping oil and gas from underneath the geology that supports New Orleans is a major factor in the annual sinking.

      Stop pumping out certain Loiuisiana wells and you'll reduce future subsidence.

      You're only asking Big Oil to cap profitable wells--so Good Luck!

      (and Good Night)

    •  One of the reasons the local govts objected (4.00)
      to the piece was it presented only one side of this story.

      They wanted CBS to delay the piece until they could get one of the many, many scientists who could testify that New Orleans is not sinking.  Instead they presented only one view, the most apocalyptic.

      This "New Orleans is sinking, nothing we can do" line is what Bush wants you to believe.  They want to abandon New Orleans.

      The fact is, if we build Cat 5 levees and restore the wetlands -- if we spend the $17 billion the Corps and local officials requested from the federal government -- New Orleans can live for many more hundreds of years.  A set of seagates like the Dutch have would come in handy at the mouth of Pontchartrain, and some of the Corps' work must be undone.  But no question, we could have prevented this disaster for a fraction of the cost it will take to repair.

      If the United States chooses to let one of its greatest cities die, it will mark a true turning point in the decline of western civilization.

      •  Kevv, I'm of two minds... (none)
        1. Can we afford to wait another year until the Dems get back into Congress?

        2. Will another Cat 3-5 hurricane destroy more of New Orleans next year?

        3. Will Dems continue the stranglehold Halliburton and the other interests have keeping things as disorganized and disspiriting and frustrating as they are now?

        Remember, in this environment of disarray, they stand to make billions off people and the city, and keep New Orleans indebted to outside interests.  This has happened in Africa and in Iraq, so there are precedents.

        4.  And then I want to see a return to some kind of normalcy, and the people to return to their homes and to rebuild.

        Sorry, there are no easy answers here.  But I want some action on some kind of response to stop some of this mess right now.  Like thousands getting turned out of their temporary housing.  This is uncalled for.

        An untypical Negro...since 1954.

        by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:32:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, that isn't right (none)
        New Orleans is sinking, and there isn't anything we can do about it. It's been sinking, well pretty much since it was built. Bush's horrifying ignorance was manifested by ignoring what scientists have known for decades.

        NOLA sits on mud which slowly compacts under the weight. 3' per century sounds about right, although 3' per century of sea level rise is way off -- probably a foot or less.

        As far as levees go, they actually make the problem worse. NOLA sits at the mouth of an enormous river that should bring enormous amounts of sediments with it. That's what the MS delta is -- all the silt, mud, rocks, etc. that get washed downstream to the ocean. But upstream dams decrease how much sediment makes it to the ocean and levees along the river disconnect the river from its delta.

        So the sediment that forms and maintains the MS delta is either trapped upstream, or goes around NOLA to the ocean. BUT that's bad, because the delta is what keeps NOLA above sea-level. So the normal balance that put the delta there in the first place get's disrupted -- if enough sediment doesn't get to the delta, it goes away.

        So the mud compacts from the weight of the city and the city slowly sinks. And the delta gets smaller because the dams and levees keep the delta from replenishing itself. Deltas slope downward toward ocean, so as the MS delta gets smaller it also gets flatter. That causes salty ocean water to move further inland and kills the wetlands. Seagates work in the Netherlands because the whole frickin' country is flat and doesn't sit at the mouth of one the world's biggest rivers. Seagates won't work in NOLA because they won't keep the city from sinking -- and eventually NOLA will take another direct hit and the storm surge will be high enough to fill it up again.

        The only solution -- and it's temporary --  is to pick NOLA up, backfill it with about 30' of sand or mud, and then put it back down. That last until it sinks below sea level again.

        What happened to NOLA was inevitable. Some proactive measures would have forestalled its demise, but most weren't ecomically or politically feasible. The scientists have been warning about this for years, but corporations and the gov't listened politely, nodded theirs heads wisely, and did nothing. The oil companies took it one step further by cutting canals for tankers through the wetlands and helping destroy to them.

        But in the end, mother nature always wins. The river, the delta, and the ocean were more or less in equilibrium for 6000-8000 years, then we plunked a city right in the middle of it. It was great port city, so it grew quickly. And the more it grew, the more it put the system -- river, delta, ocean -- out of balance. And the further out of balance the system got, the harder it tried to return to equilibrium because nature hates when things are out of balance.

        And weather/storms are how Earth corrects energy imbalances. They move energy from one place to another to keep everything in equilibrium. So when the river, delta, and ocean got out of whack and couldn't correct itself because of the levees, dams, and politicians, that left a good storm to do the trick. Earth is very, very old and patient. And powerful beyond anything we can imagine.

        So it was a just a matter of time until the right storm hit the right place and reset the equilibrium. And if we rebuild NOLA, no matter how we do it, someday Earth will just knock it down again. Because NOLA is a really bad place for a city.

        -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

        by Todd Johnston on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 01:49:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Will NOLA be 60' below sea level? (none)
      I found this in one of Jerome's energy dairies on European Tribune.   If the author is correct NO and the whole delta is sliding toward the bottom of the Gulf due to pumping oil out of the ground.
      •  compression of delta sediments (none)
        combined with flood management that prevents replenishment of sediment is why NOLA is sinking.

        It seems to me the city is not workable in the long term - either you let the river flood and go hither and thither, or you build higher and higher levees.

        Either way the city gets pretty wet from time to time.

        Re Venice - I don't think they have tropical storms there.

        an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

        by mightymouse on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 08:25:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The article says there is more to it (none)
          This comes from the article in the link.

          "The dirty secret of the Oil and Gas business is that in order to get it out of the ground, you have to do things that are messing up the structure of the planet. When you pump the stuff out, the land subsides. It goes down not only from the volume of fuel removed, but also from the volume of all of the other stuff removed as well. A typical oil or gas well will extract 100 to 200 times more brine than oil or gas. This really sinks land. In California at Oak Hills, this lowered the land over 70 feet. In Alabama near Tuscaloosa, this has lowered mountains as much as 20 feet in one year of natural gas extraction operations. (Ref: Alabama Oil and Gas board website and the University of Alabama papers on Coal Gas extraction and CO2 sequestration ) The deeper the recovery site, the more certainly these effects are seen, but over wider areas involving hundreds of miles.

          This is causing the earth to slide. The Norphlet structure which dives below the surface at Tuscaloosa Alabama and across to about Shreveport, La, and well into Texas is 50,000 feet down at the lowest end of Petronius. Petronius, 65 miles south of the opening of Mobile Bay, is an old river delta that is now sliding into the ocean because of Oil and Gas Extraction. The slide is about 1 foot a year and accelerating, taking the whole region -- an area of about 100,000 square miles -- into the deep Gulf of Mexico.

          This slide has caused the failure of one third of all of the wells drilled in Alabama in 1988 to 1990 early developments. The industry is very familiar with this problem although they have not publicized it. There is considerable directional technology going into drilling wells now to compensate for this slide. .

          The Oil and Gas operations which are just getting going in the area are also pumping down the coastal areas at about 1 to 2 feet a year. They are sinking -- never to rise again. So New Orleans is both sinking and sliding -- caused by the Oil and Gas Industry. By the time this plays out, the New Orleans area will have sunk some 30 to 60 feet! For a city already several feet below sea level this is impossible to sustain. The effect of this sinking has already resulted in loss of the Chandelier Islands, and about 2000 square miles of coastal marshes and land in the New Orleans area after Katrina's landfall."

    •  Fascist Ethnic Cleansing like the Nazis (none)
      And Stalin.  Using Katrina as an excuse.

      This is why Bush exclaimed happily "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"

    •  does anyone actually have a final body count? (none)
      How many souls were actually lost in this disaster/debacle?

      Cities come and go... it's the people that really make the city.

  •  Silly Eye-talians (none)
    Can you think of a better location for a Walmart than Piazza S.Marco? It's the twenty first century, time ta move on.

    It is an historic site.  The Venetians and the Italians know this; Venice sits out on the Adriatic and its streets have been flooded for centuries, and yet it still goes on.
  •  I'm sorry that... (none)
    ...I don't recall where I read it, but most scientists, etc., don't agree with Kusky's position.

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:18:16 PM PST

    •  True, I have heard that as well... (4.00)
      which is why I provided links to his letter to the show.  However, time is growing short.  Are they going to continue to patch with inferior resources and personnel or really give this gargantuan task a shot?

      And for the farflung evacuees, time is growing even shorter, with FEMA (and Bush) refusing to pay the bill for them to return or to stay.

      An untypical Negro...since 1954.

      by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:22:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IMO (4.00)
        This administration plans on ignoring New Orleans from here on out...add to that the "no pork pledge for Katrina" (something like that) and the GOP is ready to cut them loose...unless we take control in 2006, NO is screwed.  They'll do their levee patch and then order a study of some sort...minimally funded and its conclusions years down the road...and the next hurricane to hit?  

        I fear for the people of New Orleans.

        Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

        by Barbara Morrill on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:39:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another neocon dump job (none)
          This is just one more example of the neocon cabal's "dump and run" tactics.  NOLA needs billions to help rebuild the local natural infrastructure plus levies?  The deficit is too high--ignore it until the Dems are in power, and let them struggle with the hard choices.

          Reason 4,879 why I hope these neocon bastards burn in hell.

        •  Fascist Ethnic Cleansing (none)
          USing Katrina as an excuse.

          This is why Bush exclaimed happily "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"

    •  see my link downthread... (none)
      ...where I link to the letters sent to 60 Minutes by LSU research scientists.  60 Minutes was simply not interested in hearing from experts who have studied the issue for years.

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:59:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a challenge (4.00)
    With rising ocean levels, trying to go back to exactly the way things were is not a sustainable approach, but New Orleans is an important cultural resource that cannot just be abandoned, either.  New Orleans is the canary in the coal mine.  Many other coastal cities, including Manhattan, will find themselves having to confront the same choices in the coming decades.
    •  New Orleans is lost, move it (4.00)
      The New Orleans that was there is irreparably gone. There's fear they won't have the levees repaired well enough before the next hurricane season, which seems likely with the kleptocracy we have running things.

      New Orleans is the first of many coastal cities around the world to be destroyed by global climate change. They won't necessarily go permanently under water, but the increased intensity of storms and tides will make sustaining them extremely expensive and draining. Venice is forced to spend billions of dollars on flood gates to control the flooding of that city.

      I don't think New Orleans will ever be able to recover. In a year or two or five the progress they make will be set back by another storm. It may just be better to resettle the city further inland, as has happened with port cities throughout centuries.

      GOP: Party before Country

      by puppethead on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:27:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ditto for Florida , Hilton Head, lower Manhattan (none)
        They are all right at ~sea-level. </snark>
        •  In other words (4.00)
          I don't hear any republicans talking about relocating Wall Street, the new WTC, their Low Country waterfront homes or their Boca Raton mansions and Ft Lauderdale  beach rebuilding projects.
          •  Exactly. (4.00)
            And in New Orleans no one is saying Don't rebuild Lakeview, where the rich white folks got flooded.  They're just  saying don't rebuild the poor folks' places.
            •  correct (4.00)
              And Lakeview is several feet MORE below sea level than the Lower Ninth Ward or NO East.

              Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

              by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:54:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Absolute BS (none)
              The City of NO has made absolutely no recommendations with regard to land redevelopment. However, the city is collaborating with the Urban Land Institute for a redevelopment plan that includes ALL areas of the city. The reputation of the URI stands for itself.

              The URI's recommendations to the city included (largely) putting on hold redevelopment of the lakefront areas which are predominantly middle to upperclass white AND black. The recommendation is based completely on depth below sea level, not any racial composition. Any suggestion to the contrary is inflammatory and incorrect.

          •  Ethnic Cleansing is only for ethnics (none)
            not WHITE PEOPLE, silly!

            Bush used Katrina as an excuse.

            This is why Bush exclaimed happily "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"

      •  Abu Simbel (none)
        If they were able to move the Egyptian temple at Abu Simbel they should be able to move and/or reconstruct the French Quarter of New Orleans.

        They moved London Bridge to Arizona.

        Not all of NO; just the historical parts worth saving.  As for the people - sorry, your city sank.  You have to live elsewhere.  We should help with that.

        •  Yeah (2.50)
          It's not like there was anything culturally or historically significant occuring in recent year there anyway. The French Quarter is New Orleans, isn't it?

          Those poor souls who lost thier city should relocate to somewhere that is not prone to natural disasters.

      •  Grrrr (4.00)
        I'm seriously considering giving all "New Orleans is lost, move the pretty buildings to Nebraska" comments an automatic troll rating.

        Nola IS the canary in this particular coal mine, and how we deal with its reconstruction carries important lessons about how we'll weather the coming storm. Everything from coastal restoration to more flood-friendly building and street designs...we can work it out here, and get it right, for when the floodwaters come to YOUR city.

        Or we can give up.

        •  I agree but... (none)
          dKos seems to have eaten this, reposted. By the way, I think Bensdad's comment is worthwhile, actually being from someone who knows the area.

          I didn't mean to sound like "screw New Orleans". I agree with you, it is the canary in the coal mine. But global climate change is now pretty much unstoppable at this point, by many scientific accounts. The question then becomes do you throw billions of dollars into rebuilding New Orleans where it is, only to have it wiped out again? Or do you acknowledge that the area has changed significantly and that part can't sustain a large city anymore?

          While I've never been to New Orleans, it is most assuredly a huge blow to this country's (and the world's) culture. But I don't think it can be restored. As for other cities on coasts, they live on borrowed time as well. We need to take the threat seriously and do the things you suggest, in order to prevent another city from suffering the fate of New Orleans.

          GOP: Party before Country

          by puppethead on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:37:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And we should accept your (none)
            unsupported opinion, and make an historically momentous decision based on that opinion, why exactly?

            Come see TV from the reality-based community at

            by MarkInSanFran on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:00:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My tax dollars? Reality? (none)
              Since it's the country rebuilding New Orleans, and the country paying for the displaced, all Americans are impacted by this. I think Bensdad's approach about protecting the core city and giving up on the outlying areas makes sense. I'm no expert, but consider me a tempered response to those who are emotionally attached to rebuilding what was there. I just don't think New Orleans will ever be the same, as much as we wish it could be.

              GOP: Party before Country

              by puppethead on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:04:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  No one is saying... (none)
              that you should accept his opinion without any supporting evidence. None the less it is not a baseless opinion and it is something that must be considered.

              I have never been to NO, and I really would like to see it as I have friends who are from the area and they have so many good things to say about it. Regardless, it is foolish to adamantly insist on rebuilding the city in place despite the rising ocean's and the lowering elevation of the city. We all want the city to be rebuilt as it was, but that may not be realistic. It requires a lot of serious consideration and no ones unsupported opinion's (either for or against rebuilding) should play a part.

              •  My point is that (none)
                the "I think" of a person who admitedly has zero expertise in the subject is worth just that - zero, zip, zilch, nada.

                That also goes for the people whose "I think" leans toward rebuilding everything exactly as it was, down to the location of each termite. I'm not objecting to the opinion, just to the thought that I, or anyone else in the  Reality-based CommunityTM, would find it useful to learn about that opinion.

                Come see TV from the reality-based community at

                by MarkInSanFran on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 08:12:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  fuck that (none)
         The US drops at least $1,500,000,000 per week on Iraq. We could afford to throw large amounts of money at New Orleans if it was a priority, which it should be. Abandoning one of America's greatest cities because it is difficult to save just isn't right. Additionally, it is a difficulty that we will need to learn to deal with. The climate is changing, there are hundreds of millions of people living in thousands of cities which are risk (and if New Orleans were New York would we even be talking about this?). We should commit the money and resources to rebuild New Orleans and use the project as an opportunity to conduct cutting edge research on saving cities from rising sea levels and erosion. We either learn how to do it now or we wait for the next New Orleans and learn then because there is no way in hell we're going to abandon thousands of cities around the world to rising oceans.
      •  Have you been to NOLA? (4.00)
        I ask that of anyone who I have heard say that NOLA should just be "moved inland"?

        Inland to where?  Displace other Louisiana towns and cities?  Seriously.  To where?  

        NOLA is not just a city.  It is a web of COMMUNITIES.  So is St. Bernard and Lower Plaquemines Parish.  More than 80% of NOLA residents were BORN THERE.  3 generations of the same family lived on the same street.  That cannot be simply "moved".

        And.....if "moving" was the solution for what is considered "the problem", then Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and all points in-between and south would also have to be "moved inland".  

        And I can tell ya this -- they will "move" my little hometown over my cold, dead Cajun body.

        You can tell a Cajun from a mile away, but you can't tell 'em a damn thing up close. Antoine Borque

        Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

        by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:08:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Where are the experts? (4.00)

    --as I stated in my diary, where are the "blue ribbon commissions and panels" to study this huge problem and begin to develop solutions.  My husband says, and I agree that there ARE already meetings - of the oil companies and other chemical producers.  THEY are the ones who will decide the future of New Orleans and the Gulf - not the citizens who live/lived there or the rest of the US.

    As I also said, this is the most important challenge of our time.  What we do with this will predict how we survive as a diverse, economically and socially viable country -- or not...

    Stop Looking For Leaders - WE are the Leaders!!!

    by SwimmertoFreedom04 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:23:34 PM PST

    •  Swimmer, it is effing obvious (4.00)
      that they are not allowing the citizenry to determine their own destinies. Not unlike Cheney and his illegal conferences with the oil officialdom.

      What they do to us damn well will happen to you, too one of these days.

      An untypical Negro...since 1954.

      by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:26:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You forgot the casinos n/t (4.00)

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:00:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  see my comment downthread.... (4.00)
      There have been detailed plans on the books for years by the researchers who actually study this problem.

      Louisiana environmental groups have been ignored by Congress for YEARS.

      We know damn well HOW to do one at the fed level -- then or now -- wants to provide the $$$$$.

      My comment downthread links to my earlier diary, but here it is:

      It talks about all these issues.

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:11:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  btw... (4.00)
      There are commissions and conferences and panels that have been held and are being held in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

      Go to to see their 1 1/2 day conference (it was webcast and the video can be accessed from their site).

      The Urban Land Institute gave NOLA its detailed plan last week, and ULI should have the report available to the public in about 2-3 weeks.

      The American Association of Architects, in conjuntion with the State, held a 3 day conference of experts in NOLA about 2 weeks ago (a few days after ACORN'S conference).

      We have GOT plans, plans and more plans.  What we DON'T have are FEDERAL $$$$.  Bush is drowning NOLA on purpose, all over again, and the Repubs in Congress are taking their cue from the White House and are simply not giving a flying fuck.  Our La. delegation (Landreiu, Melancon, Jindal) is trying like hell.  Senator Snowe (yes, of MAINE) is turning out to be one of our biggest advocates (and Sen Kerry) because of the committee they sit on, but the White House keeps doing shit like ignoring them when they propose things like a $400 Million (not Billion) bridge loan to help our damn near bankrupt State for the immediate needs.  Saying shit like, "we have to study's unique".

      UNIQUE MY ASS.  I am a commercial real estate attorney, and have done more multi-billion dollar and multi-million dollar deals than I care to count for BigCorp.  These sort of bridge loans are done 50 million times a damn day, and can be closed in the time it takes you to figure out whether or not you want fries with that.

      Bush and Cheney are drowning us on purpose, and it is all about the oil and gas facilities that they envisions from the Texas to the Miss. state lines.  Bet that.  LNG terminals have been the "next best thing" according to BigCorp circles for a long time.  Since they won't have the Iraqi desert to put them in, and African nations are getting "all uppity" about keeping their share of the revenues for the ones they are seeking to build there, places like my hometown are the "perfect solution".


      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:24:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, Men at Work! Ethnic Cleansing in Progress! (none)
      THe GOP is just using Katrina as an excuse.

      This is why Bush exclaimed happily "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"

  •  New Orleans will be like Gavleston in 1900 (4.00)
    In 1900, Galveston was a rich city and growing rapidly.  I think it might have even had its own exchange.  When Galveston was hit with its hurricane in 1900, I am sure the local population and its legion of boosters promised to remake Galveston "just like it used to be".  Today, it is a stagnant town that not even tourism can prop up.    

    I imagine that the reconstruction of New Orleans will proceed much the same way Galveston did in 1900.  Plenty of money will be spent, lots of homes rebuilt, the trolly lines will run again, but nobody will come back.  Eventually, the city will empty out  of all but the diehards and the people who are too poor (or too stupid) to leave.  Ever since men and women have lived in urban centers, this is what is supposed to happen when a city is destroyed by a natural disaster.  Did people ever move back to Pompeii?  How about when Rome was sacked in the beginning of the Middle Ages?  The discoveries of archeology point to the direction New Orleans is headed.

    •  Diaspora (none)
      Will we be talking about the New Orleans diaspora in twenty years?

      Remember when we were against torture, before we were for it?

      by pshaw on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:43:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Probably, if diaspora descendants (none)
        are living in worse situations or more likely to swell crime rolls.

        An untypical Negro...since 1954.

        by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:54:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  More like the ethnic cleansing (3.60)
        of Louisiana and Missisippi.
        •  Had to rate you low on this (none)
          If I am wrong, please be the first to correct me, but I do not think Katrina was "whitey's" plan to clean New Orleans of all the brown and black people.    

          I can only suspect you are referring to the fact that most of the residents who fled the city after the hurricane chose not to return.  If I lived in the Ninth Ward (or other impoverished areas) and I had the chance to be put in another part of the country without such concentrated poverty, crime and unemployment, perhaps I would use my change in environment to make things better for myself in family.  

          Also, I think the sad reality is, government was incapable of handling the massive concentration of refuges in a few concentrated cities.  If there was a "diaspora", then it was due to a realization that by spreading the refugees across many counties all over the country, the numerical impact on social services, education and public services (like fire & police) would be much less and help could be given faster than having people wait in line at the Houston Astrodome.

          •  No, correction... (4.00)
            but I do not think Katrina was "whitey's" plan to clean New Orleans of all the brown and black people.

            No, the aftermath of Katrina is manmade.  Dispersing its population so that many will not return is how they have cleansed New Orleans of its people of color.

            f I lived in the Ninth Ward (or other impoverished areas) and I had the chance to be put in another part of the country without such concentrated poverty, crime and unemployment, perhaps I would use my change in environment to make things better for myself in family.

            Tell me something: With what resources?  How can you start if you don't have much already?  People are still in temporary housing and not just because they want to be.  There is nowhere else to be.

            If there was a "diaspora", then it was due to a realization that by spreading the refugees across many counties all over the country, the numerical impact on social services, education and public services (like fire & police) would be much less

            Uhuh.  Right.  There are many towns and cities that cannot withstand the additional weight of the evacuees (not refugees) on their own already straitened resources.  And I do not just mean other major cities like Detroit or D.C. or Chicago.  Some are also still behind locked facilities as if they are prisoners, for fear that they will run amok in certain communities.  This reminds me of concentration camps.

            Some may fulfil your idea of bootstrap pulling, but others, who have lost their jobs and livelihood and their homes are not able to do it with the snap of the fingers.  They need help and assistance to a certain degree and to a certain time if the charities are unable to do it.  And why not the government.  It's their government, too.

            An untypical Negro...since 1954.

            by blksista on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:23:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We agree more than disagree (none)
              I just think the rhetoric of "ethnic cleansing" is over-the-top.  Ethnic cleansing is something very specific.  The situation in New Orleans appeared (abiet from afar) to be simply unsafe and uninhabitable.  I don't recall many instances of people being forced from their homes by the government or paramilitary groups.  We certainly did not see people murdered by roving bands of thugs or policemen.  Perhaps it did happen?  I was not there.

              I absolutely agree with you that the real question is "with what resources are these people going to rebuild their lives?"  I don't have an answer to that question.

              •  look at who was able to return and untouched areas (none)
                My parents live in New Orleans, in the untouched white part.  And, believe me, as is has become obvious to the rest of the world, there are physical lines drawn in New Orleans between the white parts and the black parts.  They live uptown.  Their house is fine.  Their maid's house was flooded.  All her life she has worked as a maid, 25 years of them for my parents.  She has no health insurance, and probably no flood insurance.  She rode out the flood in a room in the Holiday Inn and then drove out when they kicked everyone out.  She moved to a shelter in Baton Rouge, to an apartment there, and then to a FEMA trailer.  My parents drove by her house a few weeks ago.  This is what my father said,"Well the house is probably unsalvagable, a tear down. There was a lot of flooding. But, maybe now she can get some money from the government for it, and rent an apartment and live on her own.  All her life she has been supporting children and grandchildren, and now maybe she has a chance to have some freedom." More recently, he told me she wants to clean up her house and return.  She must get permission from FEMA to park her trailer next to house while she cleans it.  Guess how long that will take.  Until then, she commutes to New Orleans to work from Baton Rouge.  When I called her after the flood to see how she was, she told me, "I asked my daughter, 'go by Miss Dian's (my stepmother's name) house and see if it is okay.' My daughter went by and told me, 'Miss Dian's house is okay, nothing happened to it.' I told her 'Thank God nothing happened to that house.'"  I realized she was more concerned about our house than her own, because that house was and is her livelihood.  There is something wrong with this picture, and the fact that my parents believe that for Gloria our maid to ditch her house and move to a rented apartment would be good for her.  I scraped some money together and sent it to her and her children and grandchildren.  My stepmother told me,"Gloria told us you sent her some money, and you spoke to her."  "I didn't send her very much," I said. "Well, it was a lot for her," my stepmother replied.  It's not just broken levees and flooded houses, bureaucratic red tape we are dealing with, it is racial disparity that is ingrained in the minds, hearts, and mentality of rich white people in the South especially, Bush, and all over our country.  My parents and their friends will return.  They will be the ones to decide who returns and who doesn't and what the new New Orleans will look like, unless all of us do something about it.  I do not want New Orleans to look like my parents want it to.  They will totally screw it up and whitewash it.
              •  What I meant by ethnic cleansing was (none)
                Bush never funded the $250 million promised to fix the levees.

                When Katrina approached, he dropped the ball.

                The Army Corps could have staunced the flow on Monday and Tuesday but DID NOTHING.

                Bush knew the National Guard from other states was needed because LA was heavily in Iraq but DID NOTHING to organize a national NG effort FOR DAYS AND DAYS.

                Food and all sorts of resources were withheld with bureaucratic excuses.

                Plus Bush had cancelled the forward placement plans that Clinton had built up and castrated FEMA, replacing Witt with BROWNIE.

                Then they trucked the people of color they HAD to save off to Republican Texas in the hope that they would never come back--in fact they are making it as difficult as they can for them to come back.

                If you know your history, the fascists did some ethnic cleansing of this type on the cheap.  Like the fascists before them, Bushco excuses themselves with "incompetence", "Bureaucracy", while using the Fog of Disaster to claim they are doing everything but they cannot defeat Mother Nature herself.

                An hour earlier I had interviewed New Orleans' top corporate lobbyist, Mark Drennen. As president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., Drennen was in an expansive mood, pumped up by signs from Washington that the corporations he represents -- everything from Chevron to Liberty Bank to Coca-Cola -- were about to receive a package of tax breaks, subsidies and relaxed regulations so generous it would make the job of a lobbyist virtually obsolete.

                Listening to Drennen enthuse about the opportunities opened up by the storm, I was struck by his reference to African-Americans in New Orleans as "the minority community." At 67 percent of the population, they are in fact the clear majority, while whites like Drennen make up just 27 percent. It was no doubt a simple verbal slip, but I couldn't help feeling that it was also a glimpse into the desired demographics of the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite, one that won't have much room for Nyler or her neighbors who know how to fix houses. "I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone knows how they are going to fit in," Drennen said of the city's unemployed.

                New Orleans is already displaying signs of a demographic shift so dramatic that some evacuees describe it as "ethnic cleansing." Before Mayor Ray Nagin called for a second evacuation, the people streaming back into dry areas were mostly white, while those with no homes to return to are overwhelmingly black. This, we are assured, is not a conspiracy; it's simple geography -- a reflection of the fact that wealth in New Orleans buys altitude. That means that the driest areas are the whitest (the French Quarter is 90 percent white; the Garden District, 89 percent; Audubon, 86 percent; neighboring Jefferson Parish, where people were also allowed to return, 65 percent). Some dry areas, like Algiers, did have large low-income African-American populations before the storm, but in all the billions for reconstruction, there is no budget for transportation back from the far-flung shelters where those residents ended up. So even when resettlement is permitted, many may not be able to return.

                As for the hundreds of thousands of residents whose low-lying homes and housing projects were destroyed by the flood, Drennen points out that many of those neighborhoods were dysfunctional to begin with. He says the city now has an opportunity for "twenty-first-century thinking": Rather than rebuild ghettos, New Orleans should be resettled with "mixed income" housing, with rich and poor, black and white living side by side.

                What Drennen doesn't say is that this kind of urban integration could happen tomorrow, on a massive scale. Roughly 70,000 of New Orleans' poorest homeless evacuees could move back to the city alongside returning white homeowners, without a single new structure being built. Take the Lower Garden District, where Drennen himself lives. It has a surprisingly high vacancy rate -- 17.4 percent, according to the 2000 Census. At that time 702 housing units stood vacant, and since the market hasn't improved and the district was barely flooded, they are presumably still there and still vacant. It's much the same in the other dry areas: With landlords preferring to board up apartments rather than lower rents, the French Quarter has been half-empty for years, with a vacancy rate of 37 percent.

                The citywide numbers are staggering: In the areas that sustained only minor damage and are on the mayor's repopulation list, there are at least 11,600 empty apartments and houses. If Jefferson Parish is included, that number soars to 23,270. With three people in each unit, that means homes could be found for roughly 70,000 evacuees. With the number of permanently homeless city residents estimated at 200,000, that's a significant dent in the housing crisis. And it's doable. Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, whose Houston district includes some 150,000 Katrina evacuees, says there are ways to convert vacant apartments into affordable or free housing. After passing an ordinance, cities could issue Section 8 certificates, covering rent until evacuees find jobs. Jackson Lee says she plans to introduce legislation that will call for federal funds to be spent on precisely such rental vouchers. "If opportunity exists to create viable housing options," she says, "they should be explored."

                Malcolm Suber, a longtime New Orleans community activist, was shocked to learn that thousands of livable homes were sitting empty. "If there are empty houses in the city," he says, "then working-class and poor people should be able to live in them." According to Suber, taking over vacant units would do more than provide much-needed immediate shelter: It would move the poor back into the city, preventing the key decisions about its future -- like whether to turn the Ninth Ward into marshland or how to rebuild Charity Hospital -- from being made exclusively by those who can afford land on high ground.  "We have the right to fully participate in the reconstruction of our city," Suber says. "And that can only happen if we are back inside." But he concedes that it will be a fight: The old-line families in Audubon and the Garden District may pay lip service to "mixed income" housing, "but the Bourbons uptown would have a conniption if a Section 8 tenant moved in next door. It will certainly be interesting."

                Equally interesting will be the response from the Bush Administration. So far, the only plan for homeless residents to move back to New Orleans is Bush's bizarre Urban Homesteading Act. In his speech from the French Quarter, Bush made no mention of the neighborhood's roughly 1,700 unrented apartments and instead proposed holding a lottery to hand out plots of federal land to flood victims, who could build homes on them. But it will take months (at least) before new houses are built, and many of the poorest residents won't be able to carry the mortgage, no matter how subsidized. Besides, it barely touches the need: The Administration estimates that in New Orleans there is land for only 1,000 "homesteaders."


    •  And Baton Rouge might be like Houston (none)
      Houston became the economic center of south Texas after the 1900 hurricane.  People and economic activity moved 50-75 miles inland.

      Baton Rouge is in a similar position today.  The population of the Baton Rouge area more than doubled  right after Katrina.  If the petroleum industry and financial and legal services that were in New Orleans decide to relocate someplace where they can still do business in southern Louisiana, they will go to the Baton Rouge area. Response For Hurricane Evacuees

      by socal on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:36:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh yes, and that city called San Franscisco (none)
      never quite came back after 1906...or 1989...oh wait, it did, didn't it?

      The process you describe is not "what is supposed to happen" after a natural disaster, and incidentally the sack of Rome was not a natural disaster. As for unnatural disasters, Hiroshima was rebuilt, for crying out loud, and so was Berlin.  The real issue is whether people with money and power decide rebuilding is worthwhile. Rich cities always get rebuilt--that is why San Francisco is still here. That is why incredible sums are being spent to save Venice. The problem with NO is that it is America's poor relation, apparently.


  •  Is there no way we could start (4.00)
    by first repairing the eco-system in the flood plain?  Then, why not consider something similar to those floating cities the Dutch build?  

    I haven't studied the aspect of the loss of land from encroachment by the Gulf of Mexico.  You would think a river the size of the Mississippi would build its delta.

    New Orleans is a world treasure and there are other American cities that will be facing similar problems from rising sea levels.  Let's start now in New Orleans.

    Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

    by bronte17 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:33:31 PM PST

    •  Not really. No. (4.00)
      New Orleans is endangered by water on 3 sides: the Mississippi, the largest river on the continent, is already hemmed in by the city; lake Pontchartrain has already breached its levies; and the delta is being eaten away by the waters of the Gulf.  The only feasible way to build up the delta (the flood plain) is to unleash the Mississippi and allow it to once again flood naturally and deposit its silt across the entire delta; however, unleashing the Mississippi would require removing the levies containing it; and doing so would mean drowning New Orleans.

      However, if we don't unleash the Mississippi, the flood plain will get lower and lower every year, and the levies required to retain it will have to get higher every year, instigating a costly, and ultimately unsustainable race against rising waters and sinking lands.

      So the choices are pretty much only twofold, with a false binary in the first choice:

      1. Unleash the Mississippi and return to a natural flood and silt pattern, while either abandoning the city or moving the city to significantly higher ground.  Or:

      2. Significantly increase the size of the structures defending New Orleans (at a cost of multiple billions of dollars) along the lines of the Netherlands' North Sea wall, thereby sacrificing the natural flood and silt patterns of the Mississippi delta, and guaranteeing that the delta erodes ever more quickly as the race continues.

      Note that I consider the choice presented in option 1 to be a false choice because, from what I've heard there is no land proximate to the current city of New Orleans sufficiently high and sufficiently close to the river or coast to serve as an adequate port location.  Thus "moving" the city would essentially be identical to abandoning the current city.

      Note also that I've established a conflict between saving the city and saving the wetlands.  I'm not a professional, but I have little doubt that those who are will come to the same conclusion after they've spent a few years and a few million dollars examining the issue.  The reason for this is that the problem was essentially caused by New Orleans' location at the threshold of a delicate region washed by powerful waters in a precarious balance dependent on the restorative action of regular floods: since floods are anathema to a low-lying city, the city can only continue to exist as long as it continues to interfere with those floods; however, by interfering with the floods it interferes with the balance required to maintain the flood plain and delta, and essentially guarantees both accelerated erosion of the Delta and accelerated sinking of the city.

      •  You realize eventually these same (none)
        encroachment problems will rear up further upstream in other cities and other communities.  

        New Orleans is going to be rebuilt in one form or another. It is criminal that the "other" form will slip into being because we cannot garner the willpower and imagination to fix this.

        Will we permit NOLA to become our Atlantis and future generations will only hear of the splendor that once came from there?

        Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

        by bronte17 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:44:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the situation is rare on this continent (4.00)
          Again, I'm not an expert, so can't claim that the situation doesn't exist anywhere, but try this:

          Name one other American city that is situated in the middle of the alluvial delta at the mouth of a major river on the North American continent.

          The fact is, there aren't any other rivers with the power of the Mississippi, so none of them have much of a delta or serious flood plain.  While there are other coastal cities that will be endangered by rising ocean waters, most of them can solve their problem by relocating inland by a few hundred yards to higher ground, or even by building a single barrier against the threatening waters; they are not caught, as New Orleans is, between the hammer and the vice, and will not significantly exacerbate their problem by building flood walls.

          There ARE other cities on the Mississippi that are also on the Mississippi flood plain; but none of them are also on the delta smack dab against the gulf coast; they will have problems with flooding, as they always have, but at least will not have to deal with rising ocean waters simultaneous to river floods and local land subsidation.

          •  Again, as yourself, I am not an expert (none)
            but do know the Mississippi towns and cities upstream flood terribly and each time we go through this national discussion of federal flood insurance and bailing these people out. Do you remember the horrible floods in Iowa, I think it was?  Just a few years ago.  This Mississippi flooded outside of its banks for hundreds of miles in several states?  So, we repair these homes and businesses in these states over and over, but we blame NOLA residents and say, "Forget it, you're not worth it."

            This same problem extends to the tributaries as the Ohio River (a flood plain there and people still living in substandard FEMA trailers years later in southern Ohio).  This issue of better environmental stewardship of these river basins extends beyond just NOLA.

            If you watched the Murtha Congressional hearings on Friday night, you would have seen Congress discussing the increased funding of the federal flood insurance program to many billions, but how much of that includes actually fixing the root of the problem to begin with?

            Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

            by bronte17 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:15:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree that the national response has been horrid (none)
              but I personally don't blame the New Orleans residents.  If I blame anyone (and I haven't really given it much thought), I blame the city planners and the indifference of the Federal government.

              The root of the difference between the federal response to the upper-Mississippi floods and the New Orleans flood this year lies in the federal administration in charge: Clinton v. Bush.  You can bet Clinton would have been trying to come up with a way to seriously bail New Orleans out.

              That said, I've always believed that life anywhere near the Mississippi is and will always be a gamble.  It is a very large and very powerful and very capricious river, and the only weapons against its floods--that is, levies--too often end up exacerbating the problem.  The fact is that a river as large as the Mississippi needs to be able to flood.  It collects the water from a third of the continent, and will flood when rains are heavy along too much of its length all at once.  Restricting this in places only exacerbates it in others.  

              I'm not sure the Federal government can or should attempt to manage the entire river.  It would take a monolithic endeavor to have any real chance of controlling the river, and then we'd likely cause more problems than we solve.

            •  Uh (none)
              "This Mississippi flooded outside of its banks for hundreds of miles in several states? So, we repair these homes and businesses in these states over and over." Not true, entire towns were abandoned, People were moved off of land they'd had in the family for 150 years.

              not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that ya'll continue to do that

              by le sequoit on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 06:30:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But many others were repaired, (none)
                upgraded, lots of investment sunk into those areas.

                Not sure which towns or cities were abandoned?  Maybe small communities which had been dying out anyway?

                Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

                by bronte17 on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 07:08:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Cities shouldn't be in devastating flood zones (none)
              that's all there is to it.

              Not on the beach, not on the flood plains of major rivers, nor in the eroding delta of the same.

              It's crazy.

              New Orleans is in a terribly unsafe location -- hurricanes getting worse, the terrain subsiding further and further below sea level. No other US city is so poorly situated.

              an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

              by mightymouse on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 09:20:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What about the state of Florida? (none)
                Every year the government gives tens of billions of dollars to Florida and other states for the purposes of reconstucting what a storm has destoryed.

                What about San Francisco? What about the rest of the San Andreas faultline areas? What about the areas along the New Madrid faultline (throughout the midwest)? What about Mt. St Helens? Whaddya think'll happen when it lets the big one loose? What about Low coastal places throughout the rest of the country? What about tornado alley? What about the wildfires?

                Please remember that the poor upkeep of the levee system contributed to the catastrophe of New Orleans--and not just nature.

                If we should give up on New Orleans, then perhaps we should give up on everything else and let "god" sort it out!

                •  New Orleans is a sanity check. (none)
                  New Orleans is a wake up call.  New Orleans is not the sum total of civilization however.  It is only a piece of it.

                  Should we compare New Orleans with Iraq?  Should we sink billions and billions into it only to lose the investment when the next Cat 5 hurricane hits in five, ten or fifty years time?  Should we put hundreds of thousands lives at risk by essentially paying them to move back?

                  The reason New Orleans area needs public money is that it is just too risky for private money.  New Orleans is dependent on public money for its very existence.  (Proof? When the federal dollars for the levees and floodwalls were cut, the state and local governments couldn't raise the cash.) People who live there have gotten used to the idea.  They expect the public money to flow in.  They demand it.  And now that may be in peril and people are angry and frightened.  Why should it be them who pay the price for being poor, for being born in the wrong place?  When the illusion of safety and security is swept away, people want it back.

                  Guys, we are right back to 9/11 again.  The mentality is there.  Make us safe!  Take action! Help the victims!  The need for action, the desire for a scapegoat.  But this is a time of war, as so many like to remind us.  The federal resources are strained and in contrast to 9/11, the money is not being spent so freely.  Accountability is the buzzword.  

                  So please pardon us if we want assurances that billions of dollars will be money wisely spent on long term success and won't be washed out to sea with the next hurricane.

      •  Miss. River (4.00)
        The Miss. can be "unleashed" without reverting back to nature 200 years ago.  Believe it or not, even Louisianians are familiar with the latest technologies.  (that snark is not direct at you, but at my growing frustrations with other folks' assumptions about this place).

        The group "Restore or Retreat" has a plan on their website.

        Also see "America's Wetlands"

        Those are just 2 groups in La. that have been working on the problems for years, but federal funding continues to NOT come this way.

        Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

        by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:31:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The restore or retreat plan... (none)
          has potential, I'll grant you.  Has anyone estimated the expense required as yet?  Would it do anything to halt the erosion of the land protecting New Orleans from gulf waters?  (Is the sediment from the new river lobes properly placed to help protect New Orleans?)  What will be the impact on the lands/communities along the proposed water routes?  How do we know the newly-cut (and truly massive) water chanels will stay where they're put, and not migrate to threaten the far side of New Orleans, or any other communities in the delta?  How do we know we won't simply end up having to build levees all along the length of the new waterways as well?
          •  Good questions.... (none)
            ...but way too many for me to have answers to them.

            The idea is that by channeling the sediment in that way, it would operate to eventually form a sufficient barrier to protect everything from New Orleans to Morgan City.

            Now, my hometown is along that route.  Will we be threatened at some point by the new channels?  Maybe.  Time would tell.  But we are certain to be threatened eventually if NOTHING is done, so the feeling is that we are better off taking our chances on the channel plan, while we still have time to do something.  As it stands right now, the only thing between my hometown and the Gulf is a rapidly disappearing land mass of only about 30 miles or so (Terrebone Parish).  And the lower half of that Parish got seriously whacked by Hurricane Rita.

            Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

            by NOdiaspora on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 10:06:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's some catch, that Catch-22 (4.00)
      As I understand it, the reason the Mississippi Delta cannot regenerate is due to the levee system that extends hundreds of miles upstreams - the same levee system that plays a role in keeping NOLA dry.  John McPhee wrote an excellent piece about how ecologically destructive the Mississippi levee system in his book The Control of Nature.

      From all that I've read, it seems that everything that has been done to save (and expand) NOLA has actually worked to accelerate its demise.  I'd love to know if any civil engineer, geologist, or hydrologist has any word on technologies which could allow NOLA to flourish in balance with the region's ecological needs, but I'm profoundly pessimistic about that such technologies exist or are practical.

      "No hope? See, that gives me guts." - d. boon

      by wobblie on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:02:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Preposterous!!! (none)
      The American people will never reclaim New Orleans from the sea like the Dutch did. The American people lack the will and imagination to ever consider restoring the city.

      Civil engineering is dead!

      Hopefully, we'll be able to turn it into a dixieland -themed park. That way, we'll maintain a smidge of real "culture" down there.

  •  I'm at a loss, and terribly sad (4.00)
    I got my 20 to 21 year old 'education' in New Orleans, living and working in the heart of the Quarter.  Given the environmental givens, I don't see how more than a shell of the city can come back.  I certainly don't think the heavily poor, black 9th Ward will live again.  The worse part about this is that Katrina & Rita have slipped off the page.  There's no national discussion of southern Louisiana's future, much less the city of NO.  
  •  this has been (none)
    something that has made me cry many times. not for myself - but for all my new neighbors.

    i'm from baton rouge and i can't say i was ever too fond of nola, i even imposed a no travel to nola rule on myself 3 years ago. but i do understand that people from there loved it just as i love baton rouge.

    i almost sense nola residents feeling a bit of their own version of zionism. a lot of them as well as a lot of us realize that new orleans is a doomed city with what is happening in on all environmental fronts.

    where do they go though? i don't know. but if it were up to a ballet initiative vote, i would say don't rebuild. give these people their own city again, just not on the same plot of land.

    man this is just so hard to deal with...

    I won't pretend that we're on the winning end. But when did that matter before anyway?

    by tommyschoolbruh on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:47:20 PM PST

    •  since you're from BR (4.00)
      please help to dispel the myth that NOLA is just New Orleans.  In other words, talk of "moving" NOLA means "moving" all of Jefferson Parish (west and east banks), Slidell, the Northshore, St. Bernard, Belle Chase, etc., etc.

      THAT ain't gonna happen.  Part of our problem is our own brand of regionalism.  All parts of NOLA (including Jefferson), and Baton Rouge, and Houma, etc., etc. simply will need to view themselves as one.  Why?  Because if NOLA is given over to Big Oil, then Baton Rouge will end up a small city surrounded by an industrial wasteland....and with ZERO land barrier to the south as even more pipelines cut the coastal marshes to shreds.

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:38:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  since i'm from brla (none)
        i'm not going to say that nola was all that you listed above. houma has their own culture, baton rouge has it's own culture, and nola has it's. that would include jefferson parish and st bernard, but not much more than that.

        so yeah, when i say nola, i mean those areas.

        but for you to imply or assume that when i say nola as in it's something different as me saying screw nola and give the state to big oil... wow you're just off.

        when i say give them their own city just on a new plot of land i of course mean to do it right. i've worked and do work on websites and do my part of campaigning on behalf of "america's wetlands."

        but you must recognize that if we are to do things environmentally soundly, new orleans won't exist anymore anyway (this would mean letting the river flow it's natural course). or we can just move new orleans north and take down all the levees south of the new area of new orleans.

        either way, new orleans is not in a sound place environmentally or logically. and this discussion needs to be continued much further than these comments or this entry.

        another thing that needs to be talked about is southwest louisiana. they got totally fucked too and they are facing the same problems. agriculturally the whole state is facing a crisis thanks to the salt water storm surge that blanketed huge amounts of farm land.

        louisiana is fading fast, this isn't an issue of brla versus nola, sw versus se, or north versus south. we need AMERICA to unite and help us fix this.

        (a few other geauxs: geaux cajuns, geaux cowboys... but fuck yeah geaux tigers! i hope usc loses haha)

        I won't pretend that we're on the winning end. But when did that matter before anyway?

        by tommyschoolbruh on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 09:11:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what I mean... (none)
 that others "out there" seem to assume that NOLA = Orleans Parish, and that that is the only part thus affected by any "move" somewhere else.  The myth that I want to dispel is that one.  In other words, I want folks to realize that when they say NOLA, they are really meaning the "GNO" (greater NO area), which includes west bank, east bank Jefferson, St. Bernard, Belle Chase, northshore, Slidell, etc., because those areas would be "moved" in the same way.  

          I know that NOLA, BR, Houma, etc. are all distinctly different in population, attitude, etc.  That's a completely different issue than clarifying for the "outside world" that NOLA = the greater NO area in size.  This other issue is the "regionalism" I am talking about that WE, who live in those places, need to get over to a certain extent and think about the "solution" in a united way.  When is the last time you looked at a map to see exactly how much land mass sits between you in BR and the Gulf?  Whatever is there is not going to be there for long, given where we are headed if we do not get the money to remedy coastal erosion (or stop the oil company pipelines from ripping our wetlands to shreds).  Unless all of south La. addresses the problem without regard to regional pissing contests, then we will all be doomed eventually (and I am talking about a solution that protects the coastal marshes, or what's left now post-Rita, of southwest La. as well).

          Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

          by NOdiaspora on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 09:53:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Another grave threat to New Orleans (none)
    According to John McPhee (The Control of Nature), as the delta builds up at the mouth of the Mississippi, the river makes a major shift in course every thousand years.  The Corps of Engineers has stopped the Mississippi's westward turn into the Atchafalaya River for now, but no one thinks the victory is permanent.  
  •  After Katrina, does this sentence have meaning? (none)
    "The lower New Orleans plunges, the worse it will be when the big one hits."

    Kossacks: a large population of Medieval exegetes who each day grapple with the fabulistic opportunities of the early third milennium.

    by DCDemocrat on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 01:53:38 PM PST

  •  Once moved, NO can't be recaptured. (4.00)
    You could move the buildings, or duplicate them somewhere else, and move the people into them, of course at humungous expense.  But the essence, the life force of NO, cannot be moved.  It is what it is, and can never be imitated in another location.  The river is the heart and soul of the city, as it is the entire Louisiana delta.

    There are many (maybe too many) agencies now working on rerouting flood water from the river to build up sediment banks that would protect the city from another storm like Katrina or Rita.  If some of the old neighborhoods were bulldozed,  a part of the river's flow could be routed so as to deposit sediment fill in their place, letting the flood water flow into the canals and into Lake Ponchartrain.  New housing could then be built on the land raised by the sediment.

    To stop the recession of the coastline, force the oil companies that did the damage to repair it.  It was mainly these companies that damaged the marsh by indiscriminate dredging  of canals to use like roads to position their well and pumping equipment.  This is a perfect time, when they are enjoying windfall profits, to force them to comply with already existing laws to "return the land to the way they found it".  

    Dredging is a tremendouly expensive solution, but it has been done on a large scale before, such as in South Florida in the 1920's, to create new land for home development.  That land is still there, still useful, and now among the most valuable land in Fort Lauderdale.  I used to ride my bike over the old concrete bridges abandoned when the land bust came in the '30's and '40's. That work was done with private money....the resources of the federal government could do much more, and perhaps save the beautiful and historic city of New Orleans, along with the marshland ecosystem that supports 30% of our fisheries and 40% of our avian life.  We can't give up on it... think what the money we have spent on this ill-begotten war in Iraq could have done to save this vital part of the United States.      

    The further we look into the past, the further we see into the future...

    by tomathawl on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:03:14 PM PST

    •  My question as well on dredging/pumping (none)
      My parents live on the Davis Islands in Tampa Bay. The islands were pumped up out of the bay when my mom (Tampa native) was a child, before the Florida boom burst. And while my folks did evacuate in the face of the potential Charlie flooding which, fortunately, didn't come, it's the only time they've actually had to do so.

      So, is that not possible here? Not the question of whether it should be done -- I saw 60 Minutes last night, too, and it made me very sad.

      But, in addition to the wetlands restoration and all of that, what about the idea of pumping up the city's height out of Lake Ponchartrain or something? Is that even an option?

      •  I think it may be. (none)
        There is some excellent information available on the subject of wetland loss and the NO problems in 3 books I've recently read (since Katrina)... "Bayou Farewell", "The Rising Tide", and "Holding Back the Sea".  For $31.00, I got 3 new hardbound books and a pretty good education on the subject.

        I didn't see anything about pumping out of Lake Pontchartrain, but I think it would be feasible.  The lake (which is actually a part of the Gulf) is shallow, and pumping silt out of it onto the land would not only raise the level of land enclosed by levees, but deepen the lake and lessen some of the wave action that occurs when the wind blows out of the East and North. I've been involved in power dredging of small lakes and I would have to hear form an expert in hydrology to know if my idea is practical.

        Another fact that has a bearing on the problem is that NO is blessed with a pumping system that can empty a 10 ft deep lake of 8 square miles lake per day, mostly into Ponchartrain!   They are among the most powerful in the world, and had pumped most of the water out of NO soon after power was restored to them. This huge capacity would be more than enough to pump runoff from the dredging back into the lake, in addition to handling NO's heavy rainfall.

        New Orleans and the delta country around the lower Mississippi is a special place.  It has beauty, history, great food, music, and architectual uniqueness in spades.  I can't bear the thought of giving it up, any more than I would think of giving up San Francisco to the Pacific and the Bay and the San Andreas Fault.   We can't sit here and do nothing.  We need people of vision, both to provide the money and to provide the plan and execution of a recovery campaign.


        The further we look into the past, the further we see into the future...

        by tomathawl on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:11:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A good, but sad diary.... (none)
    I honestly don't have a lot of hope for the future of New Orleans. While many people will certainly see this as an opportunity to rebuild and be innovative...there are SO many others who look at this as an opportunity to rebuild the city in their own way...taking the African Americans, the Voodoo, the history, and so much else out of it....I only hope we can fight them off to preserve the city's history and rebuild in a way that will help the city survive several more centuries.

    Honestly I think we HAVE to win majorities in 2006...only then can we stop this crap and rebuild New Orleans in a good way.

  •  Sista, you ain't gonna like this..... (4.00)
    ...but it ain't gonna be like it was and there is no hope that this White House will do anylike like repatriate the citizens of New Orleans. The Great City of New Orleans is no more. It is paradoxical, of course, because the French Quarter and Uptown merely look a little ruffled, while the rest of the City looks like an A-Bomb went off. As a former resident and current property owner there (it's fine, busted door, and a small leak in the roof), here's what I think ought to happen.

    • All you folks that keep talking about floating cities, stop it. The French Quarter, the jewel of the city was high and dry, and so was the Uptown area. To have a "floating city" you have to destroy those areas. So stop it. The French Quarter won't float. Will it float? Np, it will sink, and then why bother to have a City of New Orleans. My place is 175 years old. Gonna drown it?
    • The LOWER Ninth Ward is the area beyond the industrial canal. It is really kind of outside of the City proper and outside of the levees that protect the city proper. The Lower Ninth Ward was flattened. We went there by accident (didn't take the right exit off I-10). Whoa. Very scary. Not a living soul around and utter destruction. Few of those homes can be rebuilt. Part of their charm (like much of the rest of the city) is that they were teetering and old. Now that are no longer merely divinely decadent --they have actually been destroyed. Can't be resurrected.  You could rebuild one home on a block, but will that person have neighbors? No. Since it is outside the levee system of the city, return it to Wetland. Its inhabitants need to be able to move back to the city proper, but not back where they were. That area can't be defended. Here's a chance to clean up the environment in New Orleans, which is horrid -- return that part to wetlands. Save and move any remaining historic structures.  
    • New Orleans architecture can be incredible again, but it cannot look like it did. You simply cannot recreate it. Be open to something new. Since the sun beats down there 378 days a year, solar roofs would be nice --more solar roofs than anyone has ever seen. Make it mandatory.
    • That being said, be prepared not to have either your manifesto nor mine appreciated or followed. Be prepared for this: We will be lucky to get the levee repaired, much less get Cat 5 protection. Give up on some sort of racial balancing. That ain't gonna happen. It's not that it shouldn't happen. New Orleans was BLACK, and white, and that's what made it great. It's not no mo. They have succeeded and you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. The best you can do is vote the motherfuckers out of office.  

    Here's my mantra on Katrina:

    • Ask for Cat 5 levee protection AROUND THE CITY PROPER (give up the lower ninth and St. Bernard Parish -- ya gotta give something to get something and we are outta power here.
    • Beg for the convening of a National Level Commission for the reconstruction and repopulation of New Orleans.
    • Don't buy into the notion that you can't rebuild, but rebuild smart. San Francisco is also in a bad place, as is the entire state of Florida.
    • Link Katrina and Iraq. Never discuss one without mentioning the other. Lousiana National Guard were in Iraq watching their homes get destroyed. All that money, over there, rebuilding schools in Mosul, when we need it here.

    That's my recipe. But remember, first you make a roux.

    "What luck for rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

    by Bensdad on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:15:39 PM PST

    •  An excellent comment (none)
      Yes, "rebuild smart." Across America there are cities - nearly every metro area, I would suggest - that are vulnerable to natural disaster. So we need to be intelligent about how we rebuild them.

      And hell yes to linking Katrina to Iraq. Absolutely.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:17:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah (none)
      One of the things that makes New Orleans look the way it does today, is rebuilding after different disasters. The famous courtyards are a Spanish idea to help with fire suppression after the city burned down a couple of times.
    •  Thanks for clearing up (none)
      the situation with the lower 9th ward and how it flooded so bad--I had no idea before that it was outside the levee system (though I thought it didn't flood until the levee broke??)

      I agree that the shameful treatment of NO (while their National Guard was stuck in Iraq) should be a major issue in the Congressional campaign next year. As if Iraq hadn't pissed off our allies enough, the Bush reaction to Katrina--begging resources around the world, then refusing to allocate funds to properly put the victims back on their shameful.

      •  "kinda" NOT outside the levee... (none)
        The Lower Ninth is not "kinda" outside of the levee system proper. There are all sorts of levees around the NOLA metro area, some higher, some bordering major waterways, some not so much. "Bensdad" alluded to this, but the finer points are often lost to folks who aren't familiar.

        The Lower Ninth flooded because a major levee on a major waterway was topped, eroded, and breached.

      •  This is Ethnic Cleansing (none)
        REpublican style...
  •  There are plans (4.00)
    To try and rebuild the barrier islands, or to allow the Mississippi to follow its natural desire and go into the Atchafalaya River basin. These should be examined.

    The notions that New Orleans should be abandoned are, to my mind, foolish, ignorant, impractical, uncaring, senseless, unrealistic. Not all of the city was destroyed. And rebuilding it is not as difficult as people make it out to be.

    It requires a major national investment. But those are precisely the kinds of investments we are going to have to start making if this country is going to survive this century. New Orleans will not be the only city destroyed by nature this century in the USA, so we should set about using New Orleans as a model of environmentally-smart land use and reconstruction.

    I very much liked the "New Orleans Citizens Bill of Rights" that blksista copied here. I think that should be our rallying point.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:15:48 PM PST

  •  Not Rocket Science. (4.00)
    Cat 5(6?) Levees.  That's it.  Seas can rise and cities may sink, but the walls will keep the sea out and the city dry.  The Dutch know a thing or two about this sort of engineering, if we are going to keep professing ignorance of what's to be done.

    If nothing else is done, it'll be an island after a while, but it will still be there.  With a tweak here and there (controlling water going in and out of Lake Pochatrain, barrier island rebuilding, etc.), it'll be fine.

    The problem is NYC's problem.  Here we are near 2006 and the World Trade Center footprint still looks like a prospective downtown parking lot.

    •  RE WTC (none)
      Stalin wanted to build the world's tallest skyscraper. The foundation became, for many decades, the world's largest swimming pool. That would be a lovely tribute to the WTC, but then again I wouldwant people picnicking on my grassy grave, so there's that.

      9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

      by NewDirection on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:22:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We don't have the engineers (none)
      ...civil engineering in this country is creatively impotent. Where are the "great projects"? Where is our imagination and innovation? Dead and dead!
      •  great projects (none)
        Unfortunately, it is civil engineering's "great projects" which are responsible for us getting into this mess.  The Mississippi River levees and the flood control it provided left an unreplenished alluvial plain sinking, which is the natural course of events.  

        If civil engineering were to have a "great project" here, it would be using less engineering and more harmonizing with nature.  In the end, nature is going to win.  It would be utterly foolish to do anything in New Orleans without deep respect and deference to natural processes.  It makes no sense to spend tens or hundreds of billions to buy us 50-100 years before New Orleans was wiped off the map again.  There is nothing to stop New Orleans from sinking, unless the city is flooded regularly, and there is nothing to stop the sea from rising due to global warming.

        The practical thing to do is to abandon most of New Orleans, but we shouldn't do that because the city means more to us then the "benefits" side of an economic cost-benefit analysis.  At the same time, if it cost on the order of $200,000 per resident to restore New Orleans for 100 years, we need to consider our finite resources and think of how some of that could be better spent.  The cherished communities that were there are gone forever - some may be rebuilt, but they will not be the same.

        I hope the people of New Orleans get a voice in charting their city's future, but a reasonable solution will probably be a compromise between practical, emotional, political, and compassionate.  The 9th Ward, St. Bernard, and what's left of Plaquemines will have to be bought out.  The Mississippi will need to have spillways which allow floodwaters and the associated sediment out, into the Atchafalaya, Lake Pontchartrain, and the purchased lands.  Whole communities will not be allowed to return, but the resulting sediment deposition and wetlands will buy time for those communities that remain.

        "If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars, you'd better elect a Democrat because the Republicans can't manage money." - Howard Dean

        by CA Pol Junkie on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:59:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They Figured It Out (none)
      Seas can rise and cities may sink, but the walls will keep the sea out and the city dry.  The Dutch know a thing or two about this sort of engineering, if we are going to keep professing ignorance of what's to be done.

      Just last week, our local paper, The Times-Picayune, did a 3-part series on the Dutch and how they responded to their below-sea-level existence.  It was fascinating.

      I'm sure the Dutch had their fair share of dipshits who would've chosen to just write off Rotterdam due to small minds and lack of vision.  At it's lowest level, Rotterdam was 22 feet below sea level.  Too much trouble to bother?  Too costly?  Why not just move those people to Germany - out of harm's way?  

      Not them.  The country put everything they could muster into solving the problem.  And it worked.

      It truly is amazing what people can do when a problem is considered a national priority.   But given our current government, and the ignorance of our populace (quite a few posting in this thread), I seriously doubt we will ever be able to follow the awesome lead of the Dutch.

      Here are links to the articles:

      Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.

      Without music, life would be a mistake.

      by Cory on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  New York Times (4.00)
    I did not see the 60 Minutes story last night, but I read the Times, each day.

    And since Katrina, they have had a regular feature with a displaced New Orleanean, and his journey back to the City, finding new housing, etc.  Two weeks ago, his article was how the City, particularly the French Quarter, had come back alive.  Complete with pictures.

    There wasn't a Black person in any one of them.  Not one.  Scenes of partying, scenes of smiles, scenes of you name it.

    Not a single Black person.

    This did not seem to faze the article contributor much.  But then again, as he admitted early on, his experience of New Orleans was as someone living in the formerly upscale neighborhoods.

    The Times regularly prints this drivel as its public service to those who care about what is happening to New Orleans.  I've written no less than 5 LTE's about it, likening it to whitewash propaganda (since that's what it is, insisting happily that New Orleans is "getting back to normal" when the truth is that normal means getting almost back to the levels that exist in Parliament's Chocolate City and right now it seems almost as if there is nobody Black left in New Orleans.)  So far they haven't printed a one of them.

    Thanks for the diary.  Between the environmental issues and the fact that many in charge have made plain that poor people were only in vogue when the rest of the world was watching to our country's shame on CNN, I have bleak feelings about the future of beloved New Orleans.

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:18:56 PM PST

  •  Obviously... (none)
    ...The thing to do is move it to higher ground, and what is so damn objectionable about that proposal?

    There are more expensive solutions but they are all dumber. It would be one thing if we weren't talking about lives here.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:20:08 PM PST

    •  What higher ground? Baton Rouge? (none)
      Granted the French Quarter is, barely, above sea level. However, it's below river level. Take away the river levees, NOLA is gone. Period.

      The biggest problem with abandoning NOLA is giving up the Port of NOLA. Give that up and most of the central USA dies economically. NOLA is the most strategically important city in this country.

      There's another problem with moving NOLA to "higher" ground. The Mississippi stops being navigable to ocean going vessels at NOLA. Ergo, moving NOLA to "higher" ground means losing the Port of NOLA. Which means that East Bumfuck, Kansas dries up and blows away.

      It's an ugly problem. I don't have any solutions. But, simply because of the economic necessity of having an ocean going port on the lower Misssissippi, the Port of NOLA will HAVE to be saved, somehow. Which means that enough of the rest of the city to house Port workers will HAVE to be saved, somehow.

      •  "East Bumfuck, Kansas''... (none)
        Way to court the sympathy vote. Bunch of drunks that never learned to play the trumpet right ain't much, neither.

        We need to stop feeding 80 pound dogs and start feeding 60 pound africans.

        by le sequoit on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:32:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me put it this way (none)
          If you live in the Mississippi River drainage base, you better fall on your knees and pray that NOLA, particularly the Port of NOLA gets rebuilt. Otherwise the economy of the middle third of this country, aka "flyover country", will go tits up. Which means the economy for the rest of the country goes tits up as well...
          •  Truly, (none)
            a port is vital. What we don't need is to rebuild a county that was the ninth lowest in the country in median income. And we also don't need to be told we are culture-less assholes while we are asked to care. In fact, I think a new tag line is in order.

            not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that ya'll continue to do that

            by le sequoit on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 06:09:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  60 minutes = junk science (4.00)
    LSU research scientists and others who have actually spent a lot of their careers studying the issue, and who have never even heard of the "expert" 60 minutes used, sent letters to 60 Minutes on Saturday debunking the story.

    Here's the link to my Saturday diary (actually, my comment to my diary) that contained the text of the letter that Andy Kopplin (Blanco's chief of staff) sent to 60 minutes, along with the letters written by the research scientists.

    WWL radio is discussing this right now as we speak.  The 60 minutes reporter had told them on Friday that it would be a "favorable" report.  Uh, not quite.  And the first they learned differently was from info posted at Drudge, of all places.  The LSU researchers apparently were never contacted about the issue so as to lend  their own expertise to the story.      

    Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

    by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:30:44 PM PST

    •  by the way... (none)
      ...the reason I got the text of the letters on Saturday is because I am signed up on the state's list serve to get updates about the activities of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.  Anyone interested in such updates can do the same.  

      Never in the 60 Minutes piece did they mention that the LSU researchers sent their "debunking" letters the day before.

      Somebody has an agenda on this issue, but it's not the state.  60 Minutes was no better than the National Enquirer with this report.  

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:35:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is probably pie in the sky (none)
    But has anyone ever calculated how much landfill it would take to raise the whole danged city by, say 6 feet?  And at what cost?  Surely there is plenty of silt in the delta to do it with, and any places that are currently destroyed should be raised before being rebuilt on.

    That should hold it for about century....

    The revolution will not be televised

    by Uranus Hz on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:36:37 PM PST

  •  aside from the feelings of uninformed nationalism (none)
    I don't see any reason to focus on rebuilding NO as it was.  
    •  Well, I guess that's what you would say (4.00)
      if you didn't give a damn about the people who live there, who grew up there, who work there, whose homes are there, whose people are there, whose mamas are buried there, who have a life there.

      Even though it's not important to YOU, New Orleans was home to a million and a half people, and their fellow Americans shouldn't be so eager to see them turned out of their homes.

      •  Rebuild them in harms way? (none)
        •  Well, if the city had Cat 5 levees (none)
          and seagates at the mouth of the lake, it would be at least as safe as Rotterdam.

          But if you're going to eliminate all cities that are in harm's way, that will take out every city on the Gulf and East Coasts, and most of the west coast for earthquakes.  Oh and the middle for tornadoes.

          •  that would be expecting (none)
            a lot from Washington.
            •  Yes, I guess a government (4.00)
              that can declare its intention to rebuild the entire country of Iraq cannot be bothered to rebuild a city on its own soil housing 1,500,000 of its citizens.

              I cannot understand how anyone who calls himself "progressive" could just casually toss away the collective lives that have been built in a place, and say it's beyond the scope of the "greatest country on earth" to rebuild a wrecked city.  If that's true, America is over.

              •  I said NO should remain (none)
                but not as it was.  Some of it is just gone something is going to change there.
              •  Nobody's tossing anything away (none)
                lose the self-righteous attitude, already.

                Let's say that it would cost $150 billion to make N.O. safe from Cat 5 hurricanes.

                Thats $100K per resident of N.O.   Don't you think a lot of them would rather have $100K to go buy something somewhere else, rather than the gov't pumping that money into seawalls to make their slums "safe" to live in?

                Nobody here is refusing to pony up cash to help the residents.  People are, wisely, asking what is the best way to help them.  Is it to put seawalls around poverty-stricken communities.  Or is it to put that money into revitalizing nearby communities, that residents can move into now?  Is it putting money into schools and infrastructure?

                •  Sorry if I seem self-righteous. (4.00)
                  I never expected to encounter such laissez-faire at a progressive blog.

                  What you call a slum is a neighborhood where people owned their homes, however poor.  Only 10-20,000 people showed up at the Superdome, the poorest of the poor.  There are many many hundreds of thousands more who are not slum-dwellers, or destitute.

                  The fact that the floodwalls failed is increasingly seen to be the incompetence/graft of the Corps and its contractors, not to the size of the storm.

                  Now if someone is actually proposing $150,000 to each New Orleanian to begin again somewhere else, I'd be interested in hearing it.  But they're not.  They're just going to abandon the people of N.O. to their fates, and justify it to themselves with "science" that says Oh, it was sinking anyway.

                  No one thinks it will cost anywhere near $150b to make Cat 5 levees and a pair of seagates.  Somewhere under $30b ought to do it.

                •  oh? (none)
                  "Nobody here is refusing to pony up cash to help the residents"

                  I am!

                  We messed with Mother Nature.  Mother Nature pushed back, Hard.  Rebuilding as it was, Where it was, is just tempting Fate.

                  Transitional relocation assistance, fine.  But if you didn't have flood insurance, and lived there Anyway assuming the Feds were going to bail you out (literally), well, tough.

                  Anybody in Cali without earthquake insurance, same idea.

                  Rebuild New Orleans?  Or health care for everybody?  You decide.

                  "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.... uh.... you won't get fooled again." - George W. Bush

                  by jimsaco on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:31:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Do some research. (4.00)
                    You're assuming that most people lived there by choice.  New Orleans, of major cities, has the highest rate of residents actually born in the city.  A good third of those don't even own transportation.    Oddly enough, no one comes around to the poor neighborhoods and says, "Hey, did you know your neighborhood in particular belongs to a higher flood zone than the surrounding areas?"  

                    So.  "you lived there anyway assuming the Feds were going to bail you out (literally), well, tough."

                    You're lucky I'm a pacifist.

                    Does that absolve us of all responsibility for living there?  No, but somebody's gotta do it, if you still want oil pumped into your car: we handled and refined most of it.   The city exists because in the long run it is economically viable for a city to be there.

                •  no more than $20 billion (4.00)
                  That is the total cost of the plans that Louisianians have had in place for years for not only NOLA, but for remedying COASTAL EROSION in south La. as well.

                  Congress ignored us.

                  So now it will cost many billions of dollars more just to clean up the garbage on the sides of the street.

                  Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

                  by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:12:29 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  NO is different (none)
            Few cities on the East or Gulf coast are in a situation like NO.  I live in Charleston, SC and we would take a Cat 5 relatively well, and it floods all the time here.  

            In a undergrad course I took on Storm Surge (and other things) an entire chapter focused on NO.  No other city got that much attention because no other city is in such a situation.

            •  If the Netherlands can protect (none)
              its cities, why can't the United States of America do the same??
              •  a low pressure system hitting (none)
                The Netherlands isn't the same as a hurricane hitting NO.

                Besides the US already had a chance to protect NO.  Perhaps the size of the Netherlands makes the problem more national rather than local.

                •  Well (4.00)
                  the Dutch responded pretty effectively after their own disaster in 1953. Are  you saying that the greatest country on the planet  is  totally impotent to do at least the same following a very predictable in advance hurricane?  
                  •  nope, (none)
                    just saying it wouldn't be effecient to rebuild everything as it was.  The Dutch couldn't relocate as easily as we can, could they?  They had nowhere to go.  NO is not in that kind of bind.  Why rebuild in a location that will be flooded in the future?  Thats all.  NO will still be a city, but parts of it shouldn't be rebuilt, especially housing, if it will be in the same situation as before.  So pending some 'Delta Works' project built to take Cat 5 (if a cty 5 hit the 'delta works' I doubt they would hold up very well) and above in NO I don't see the point.    

                    BTW, we (scientist, meteorologist, urban planners) tried to do something long before Katrina, but our gov't (on all levels and both parties) and the public realm fumbled.  They will again, it isn't a D or R thing, there are always more 'important' things to do.  At least until after the disaster.  The Dutch know this well.

              •  The Netherlands (none)
                gets some wicked storms off the North Sea, but they do not get anything like a hurricane.
      •  I guess that's what you would say (none)
        if you ignored the scientific studies which were the subject of the diary.

        I wish N.O. were 50 feet above sea level and in no danger of being washed away.  But it isn't and it is NEVER going to be.

        Nobody is EAGER to turn anyone away.  Certainly not here at dKos.  However, Mother Nature is more powerful than us humans and sometimes people need to recognize that, even if it is a painful truth.

        I am sympathetic to the plight of the residents of New Orleans, but there is more than one way to show our sympathies.  If we don't spend billions upon bilions of dollars keeping a sinking city from being swamped by an ocean, maybe we can give more money to people who would be happy to relocate.  I'm sure plenty of people would rather have more money to relocate, rather than sinking it all into levees, pumps, and evacuation plans.  

        Besides, it's not like the displaced residents all have to go to Alaska.  Many of them can move to other parts of Louisiana, where they may have family.  

        And the argument that "that's where their mamas are buried" doesn't wash.  You don't spend BILLIONS of dollars protecting graveyards.  I wouldn't expect other Americans to spend that kind of money on keeping the grave of my deceased relatives dry and I have no interest in paying for that for anyone else.

        •  Okay, but you're also (none)
          going to have to get rid of all the coastal cities of Florida, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Texas.  They're at sea level or partially below, and subject to hurricanes.

          The "scientific studies" you cite are ONE study by one junk scientist, as other posters have attested.

          I sincerely doubt you'd be saying any of this if the subject of the discussion was the city you call home.

          •  believe me (none)
            us scientists have a very good idea of what will happen in a hurricane for every place you just mentioned.  We can model before one hits or create our own simulations.  In every case, no city stands out like NO does/did.  
            •  well said (4.00)
              There is just one bowl - New Orleans.  Just one city mostly below sea level.  Just one area continuously sinking.  Just one alluvial delta being starved of vital silt.  Just one river delta slowly crumbling into the gulf.

              That area has a whole host of geological, hydrological, meteorological and topological strikes against it.  It is a uniquely high risk area.

              We aren't talking just about gambling with billions of dollars, we are talking about gambling with thousands of lives.  Build a smaller, more compact, more essential, more defensible city.  Fewer inhabitants, fewer lives to lose.  In a way, the people who push so hard to rebuild the area exactly like it was are using people's lives as leverage.  Would we feel obligated to spend as much money if only 200,000 people lived there?  Would one and a half million lives guilt us into spending more to protect them?

              The port is important - but it doesn't need a million people to work it.  I think people are still in the denial stage of grief.  Katrina wiped chunks of the coast in more than one state clean.  Should we rebuild every little town and hamlet - or just New Orleans?  

        •  please.... (none)
          Get a map of Louisiana, study it, then comment.

          We have long had plans on the books to solve the sinking and coastal erosions issues, but Congress has never wanted to appropriate the money.

          And it would have cost a sum total of about $15 billion.  Far, far less than what will be spent on removing stinking refrigerators and all the other debris.

          Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

          by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:46:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are two very different questions (none)
            A. Do you spend billions of dollars to protect a vulnerable, existing city?  This is the question we faced before Katrina.

            B. Do you spend billions of dollars to rebuild -- not protect -- a destroyed city?  This is the question we face now.

            Sure, who wouldn't rather pay to protect a city, rather than haul the debris out?  But Katrina happened.

            Personally, I would rather spend money on revitalizing the entire Gulf Region, rather than spending the money on higher and higher levees.  More and more pumps.  Deeper and deeper wells.

            It's almost like people think the people of Louisiana cannot live wonderful, vibrant lives unless they are stuck in the middle of the Delta.  Hello?  Move the city.

            •  again... (none)
              I'll try this one more time.

              1.  The levees failed due to Army COE malfeasance in not following the cat 3 design plans in the first place.  If that had not happened, we would not be having this discussion.

              2.  Look at a map.  See everything south of Alexandria, from the Tex border to the Miss border?  THAT is what you are proposing to "move", whether you realize it or not.  We already KNOW how to "fix" the problem.  We need the money.  If we decide instead NOT to "fix" the problem and just pack up and leave, then eventually the mouth of the Mississippi will be somewhere at Missouri (because, by your reasoning, you will still not be willing to spend the money to "unleash" the Miss. River in a way that prevents the coastal erosion.  If your response to that is, "but let's do spend that money to prevent THAT", then you have just agreed to spend the same amount of money whether people live here in south La. or not.  So, if you are going to spend the money so that the mouth of the Miss. does not end up at Missouri one day, then south La. gets their protection and there is no longer the need to have people "moved").

              3.  How many cities will you "move" over the next century following earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc., etc.?  You will not be able to keep running forever, so we need to just learn how to negate the need to run.  AND, let me re-iterate, we know HOW to "fix" the problem here....we just have long needed the $$$$$ to implement the plans.

              Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

              by NOdiaspora on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 09:35:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget Tornado Alley, Earthquakes Zones, and (4.00)
          all major floodplains

          Why just pick on NO?  Most of America is built where it can be wrecked by natural disaster.  Better abandon those places too since it is just a matter of time. Not.

          I live in the PNW and am amazed when some folks up here talk about how dumb it was to have a major city in such peril as NO until I remind them that ALL of the PNW is expected to have a major earthquake (a 9 to 10 - we're talking BIG) sooner or later.

          We either have the national will to rebuild NO or we don't.  This particular debate says more about the decline of America as a country than it does about the science of saving NO especially since it's not difficult to do.

          •  N.O. isn't sustainable (none)
            Why just pick on NO?

            Because its problem will only get worse and worse over time.  Major earthquakes, hurricanes etc. are disasters which can be managed over the long-term by building structures which can withstand the events.  New Orleans will keep sinking while the ocean keeps rising.  You can't just keep building levees higher and higher forever.  The risks and costs start to increase exponentially.

            "If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars, you'd better elect a Democrat because the Republicans can't manage money." - Howard Dean

            by CA Pol Junkie on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:34:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not difficult to do? (none)
            Let's see.  All we have to do is:

            Keep the levees intact to keep human habitation safe.
            Keep levees to protect the port.
            Keep levees and channels to protect shipping.
            Figure out how to build reliable Cat 5 floodwalls - never been done yet.
            Redirect enough silt to rebuild the marshes - again, this is completely experimental.
            Keep the city from sinking. Any suggestions on how to do this?

            The scientific reality is that the delta area will become more and more expensive to protect and maintain over time.  The delta is a swamp, a quagmire.

            Sure, it sounds easy compared to a defending against a 8-10 Richter earthquake.  What wouldn't?

    •  your comment... (4.00)
      ...shows you know very little about what comprises the "greater NOLA area".

      Orleans Parish is no more "all of NOLA" than the twin towers site was "all of NYC".

      I really wish people would pick up a map before generalizing about NOLA.

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:42:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sea level rise... (none)
    No clue where they got sea level rise of 3 ft per century.  According to

    IPCC projections (January, 2001) are for a sea-level rise of between 9 and 88 cm between 1990 and 2100

    That is more like 3.5 in to 3ft PROJECTED sea level rise.  current and 20th century rates are much lower:

    The range of published  estimates based on tide gauge data is about 1 to 3 mm per year.

    or 10 to 30 cm per year.

    •  The math in not working here (none)
      10 mm = 1 cm

      1 mm = about .04" per year = 4" per century
      3 mm = about .12" inch per year = 12" per century

      Hope this is right, or I've embarrased myself in a public place

    •  about 1.5-2 feet by 2100 (none)
      The median projected rise by 2100 is about 2 feet.  The AGU source has 50 cm, this one has about 58 cm; this one says the 2001 estimates were too low.  Of course, this assumes the West Antarctic Ice Sheet doesn't destabilize, in which case New Orleans would be the least of our problems.

      Climate change projections are rapidly getting more alarming, with the consensus of the models being projections of +3 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) by 2050!    I wouldn't be surprised if sea level projections keep going up too.

      "If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars, you'd better elect a Democrat because the Republicans can't manage money." - Howard Dean

      by CA Pol Junkie on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:47:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is bigger than NOLA (none)
    The whole Mississippi delta is flowing into the gulf.  The wetlands need to be rebuilt regardless if we write off New Orleans.

    If you take yourself too seriously, no one else will.

    by Yoshimi on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:49:40 PM PST

  •  that NOLA bill of rights looks good to me (4.00)
    i'm more concerned about rebuilding the city as community than the physical city. whether it's rebuilt on the spot, altered or moved to a new site, in any case it ought to be rebuilt for the people of new orleans, with their input and labor. with this administration and congress, however, i don't have high hopes for such a process taking place. a great american city has been drowned in the bathtub.

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

    by wu ming on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:50:03 PM PST

  •  cat 5 levees (4.00)
    blksista -- my apologies for hijacking your diary, but I wanted to provide the link to my diary this morning (which quickly scrolled off the list of diaries).

    It, and my Saturday diary, touches on a lot of the same things -- the 60 minutes story, the cat 5 levee system plan and coasal restoration and a call to action EVERY TUESDAY STARTING TOMORROW b/c the White House and Congress are simply ignoring Louisiana in so many ways.  It links to Sunday's excellent Times Picayune editorial, which also calls for citizen action.

    The research scientists have for YEARS had detailed plans on how to "fix" and "protect" NOLA and Louisiana from hurricanes.  But the feds have ALWAYS ignored the problem (and certainly the seriousness of it).  

    Thanks for the agenda items you posted.  Please keep tabs on what ACORN is doing in New Orleans via its website (a lot of non-NOLA info is there, too, since they have chapters in 80 cities).  ACORN's international HQs is on Elysian Fields in NOLA.  9000 residents of NOLA were already ACORN members before Katrina hit.  ACORN will be focusing on 4 NOLA neighborhoods:  Lower Ninth Ward, NO East, Gentilly and Upper Carrollton.  
    Folks will be looking out for folks in the weeks, months and years to come.

    Oh -- and donations to ACORN are more than welcome.

    Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

    by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 02:55:46 PM PST

  •  Some observations (4.00)
    • Moving the city is not an option, at least a big chunk of it.  As dynamic as that area may be geographically, it's strategically vital for our country economically.  Over time, a port would pop up there again, regardless; with the port would come people, and as the town grows, we end up in the same situation again.  Granted, I have a close emotional connection with the city, but there's no way a chunk of land that valuable would be vacant for long.  

    • The levee situation has been framed as a false dichotomy, thus undermining the attempts to rebuild: the levees both prevent flooding and destroy the wetlands, causing more flooding, so why bother?  This is only true if the levee system is kept at its current shape: environmental groups for years have proposed solutions that involve controlled flooding in the miles and miles of marsh that line the river - a fact that was roundly ignored by post Katrina critics of environmental groups.  This won't keep NOLA from sinking, but it will keep a strong buffer of marshland to the south and east, preventing the types of storm surges we saw in St. Bernard.

    • Some areas will likely not be rebuilt, since they can't for a long while: the town of Meraux, for example, was smacked hard by a 1 million gallon oil leak that will take years to deal with.  This would be bad enough for Meraux, but it also effectively cuts off the rest of St. Bernard parish, since everything south of Chalmette has to pass through there.

    • Rebuilding 'smart' has more to do with the infrastructure than the architecture; despite the city's sometimes (charmingly) decrepit appearance, the local architecture is perfectly suited to environment.  This article explains in much more detail.  

    • Economics shaped the city before, and economics will shape it again.  The area east of the industrial canal (from the 9th Ward through St. Bernard) is more vulnerable to storms from the Gulf; why do you think it was mostly inhabited by poor and lower middle class whites and African Americans?  This is classism at its worse, but it's no different than the wealthy buying up all the nice beachside property.  Ideally, a basic level of protection needs to be afforded everyone, but otherwise - I'm at as much as loss as anyone else to come up with positive suggestions.  The important thing now is to keep as close a critical eye as possible on the rebuilding effort, to ensure that the people who still haven't been able to return aren't robbed of their rights.

    • I'm a little disturbed at the "sucks for you" comments that some people have been posting.  This is more than just losing a town - and in case you haven't noticed, we're still sorting through our dead, not to mention trying to cope with a rise in suicides. Yeah, it does suck for us.  But can you lay off, at least for now?  

    • Please, please keep this public.  I know some of you are getting Katrina burn-out, but we're about to face our third (after 2 hurricanes) big blow: the running out of aid.  Please do not forget what you saw on the television screen months ago - it's still that bad.
  •  let it go (3.50)

    I know it sounds harsh, but it's simply not responsible to try and rebuild New Orleans. Why? Wouldn't we rebuild Seattle or LA if a major earthquake struck? Yes, we would, but that's because catastrophic earthquakes are once-in-a-lifetime events where rebuilding makes economic and geographic sense.

    In NO's case, you're looking at (1) continued sinking of the city itself; (2) continued rise in sea levels, and most importantly, (3) a new twenty-to-thirty-year period of intense hurricanes which will devastate the area statistically at least twice again before the year 2050.

    It's a question of odds, and right now, the odds are stacked against NO.

    •  It doesn't just "sound" harsh, (none)
      it is.  
      •  Which is better? (4.00)
        I've lived in five different communities in my lifetime so far.  If my hometown became uninhabitable, that would be sad - but my identity is not derived from my place of birth, much less my current community.  

        In the worst case scenario, New Orleans would not be the first, nor would it be the last city to be abandoned because of climate change.  Empires have fallen because of prolonged climate change.

        The argument is whether it is better in the long run to preserve a city that is inexorably subject to rising sea levels and increasingly violent hurricanes - a little depression of land in the middle of the ocean - or whether alternative plans should be developed.  And, yes, other cities are probably going to have to begin looking at this, too.  

        The reality of the effect of massive dislocation due to global climate change means that every society is going to have to choose its battles - its strategies - for adapting.

        "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

        by fishhead on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:44:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Harsh, pragmatic and realistic. (4.00)
        All rolled into one.  
  •  No such thing as "global warming" (none)
    It's called "global climate change". Nothing to worry about. Move along. Move along.

    No act of peace is ever wasted. peacepositive always.

    by peacepositivemike on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:20:21 PM PST

  •  N.O. is Just a place, not a person (none)
    I don't think taxpayers should be putting any significant money into New Orleans.   I do believe that our society should help people who face random personal disasters.  We should help them to recover.    That doesn't mean we restore them to where they were.

    Weather and Geology will destroy cities forever.  When a city is destroyed people can move.  When the city is in a bad location, they should move.  

    While Katrina was one disaster affecting thousands, it is no worse than thousands of disasters affecting a few people each.   The assistance we provide to individuals should not be related to which disaster they were in.    

    Helping people to move on and start over would be better for them than encouraging them to go back to NO.  Who wants to put their lives on hold for 1-2 years?  They can't go back anyway.  Their neigborhood, neighbors and available jobs will be so different, they might as well be in a new place.

  •  No theres a town that needs (none)
    an elevated public transportation system.
  •  No question (none)
    The right thing to do is find a way to rebuild or build a new New Orleans.  We have a duty to all citizens of the USA.

    looking for an entry level job in sales/marketing or advertising

    by upsavr on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:26:15 PM PST

  •  Listen: (4.00)
    Building up the protective greater NO levees/storm surge walls to resist Cat 5-6+ hurricane surges, or even building up the entire city of NO with sufficient  fill to keep it safe is easily do-able, and would cost mere chump-change, compared to what we are wasting each week in Iraq on Halliburton, Blackwater, the bombmakers, the multinational oil corporations, and the money-changers that are propping up and backing our WH war criminals.
  •  I Can't Believe What I'm Reading (4.00)
    I want to make this perfectly clear. What happened in New Orleans was a MAN-MADE tragedy and never had to happen. NOdiaspora is 100% correct when he says the Feds ignored us for years - decades - despite the dire warnings. A $2 billion dollar levee would have prevented us from having to spend $150 billion now. It would also help if our eroding marshes were finally taken seriously. New Orleans is 75 miles away from the Gulf. Hurricanes will almost always have weakened by the time they hit New Orleans. Katrina was a 3 when she struck.
    People say we should rebuild because New Orleans is home to 1.5 million people. What no one is saying is that New Orleans is also one of America's only authentic cities. Try to recreate our food, music, architecture and much much more. Thank GOD I don't live in anywhere USA. Does CULTURE resonate with anyone here? New Orleans is a national treasure - believe it - and as such deserves being saved.
    •  Thanks so much (4.00)
      I was feeling very alone here.  Came back to all this after spending the day in the Marigny.

      Yes, MAN-MADE disaster.  The breaches were a complete failure of the Army COE's not following the damn design plans for the existing levees in the first place.  I was getting so worked up that I completely forgot to reiterate that.

      My diary from this morning that also contains a link to my Saturday diary that details the malfeasance of the Army COE when they built the Cat 3 levees.

      Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

      by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:51:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the height of irony (none)

        I (the feds) don't point your finger and say "look what happened, we're not going to give you proper levees" when the very reason IT happened is BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GIVE US PROPER LEVEES!!!

        It just doesn't get any simpler than that, folks. It's the crux of the issue. Give us the levees and believe me, New Orleans will not be flooded like this again by any storm. We've been living this way for generations. Thanks for tuning in, but it's never been news to us. We said this would happen and it did. Call your congressman. It's their fault. Not Katrina's.

        (Furthermore, we could finance it ourselves if the feds would let us keep just a little of the offshore oil revenue from OUR coast.)

        •  And yeah... (none)

          I love the Marigny too.  ;)
          •  Frenchman's deli (none)
            Took a whole hour to get a cold ham poboy there today, but damn it was GOOOOD.  :)  My first poboy in FUH-EVAH.

            Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

            by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:20:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  poboys (none)
              Yes, the food.  MMMMMMM.  I've been reading your comments tonight.  Hope you don't mind this Texan chiming in...

              I see you responding to many people who don't realize NOLA was a collection of communities.  I'm not from there, but an occasional visitor and I think many people with those comments and others like "just move NOLA, move the whole city" have simply never experienced New Orleans.  The music, the food, the people, the neighborhoods, the history, the generations, etc.  I don't think you can get the full sense of it by just visiting, especially just visiting the French Quarter. I know I didn't from just the first few times I was there.  I had to venture off St. Charles and Bourbon St.  I had to get to know the people, sit and have dinner with them, immerse myself in the culture not just the city.

              No, New Orleans is special. Unique.  It's worth a damn try.  If the Dutch can protect their cities, we can to, damnit.  In September, I heard a Dutch engineer talk about a relatively simple way to manage NOLA and the surounding waters.  He threw out a dollar figure in the millions (not "B"illions, but "M"illions) and the reporter said "Isn't that a lot of money".  Without hesitation he said, "It's peanuts compared to what you are looking at now."

              I hope the Gulf Coast can come back. But most of all I hope the powers that be allow the citizens to be involved.  My fear is big economic interests will win out and we will lose all the unique charm that made the city dance with life and injected the citizens with a spicey spark I've never seen anywhere else.  Please keep writing and commenting on how we can all help.

              BTW, I am working with some New Orleans residents staying with a cousin in Texas.  They have been back a few times, but can't move back in just yet--too much water damage and the insurance co. and FEMA ain't movin too fast in their neighborhood.  They had a copy of a tape of a local show that ran on Cox Cable.  The show was "PHAT PHAT N All That".  It's mostly music videos, but they also do shots from local small businesses.  This episode (from last summer, I think) featured R and D Pizza.  Not only were the people great--but I watched them get served a big ole hot sausage pizza.  God, it looked so good.  There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, like the food there.

              I've made a note of the Lousiana Disaster Recovery Foundation site, and ACORN.  I'll pass them along to my NOLA friends that are still here in Texas.  Can you think of any other resources for them? (Needless to say, FEMA has been worthless, so far, as has the SBA and Red Cross, as usual)  I can't believe the abandonment by our fed gov't.  I'm so pissed.  Is there anything else I can do. I've made some donations, but I think this year, most of the holiday gifts I give will also be donations to a good,local recovery help organization in the recipients name.  Do you recommend these donations go to

              P.S.  Just decided one more thing I'm going to do.  I'm going to call my cajun friend who just moved back to Houston from up around Lafayette.  I'm going to request she get out the voodoo dolls.  Anybody know how I can get a Bush hair sample?  lol (just kidding--sort of)

              There's nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos. -- Jim Hightower

              by TexH on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 09:20:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  voodoo dolls and other things (none)
                I just saw a website the other day that was selling Bush voodoo dolls for $25.  The body was made out of Spanish moss!  

                You are so right about NOLA.  If any of these folks had ever actually been to places like Mid-City Rock n' Bowl, then they would know better to say what they are saying.  Or any of the other 10 million things that make NOLA and south La. like no other place in this boring ass country. :)  Shit -- where else can you drink on the street in broad daylight, and I ain't talking about kool-aid, neither.

                I have actually lived in Houston myself the past 7 years (and have not lived in La. for the last 20).  But, my family is still here, of course, and I ain't giving up (as my brother-in-law would say) "until the day they pack my ass with cotton" (he says he has it on good authority that is what morticians actually do....sorry if that is TMI!  We Cajuns don't really have "sensitivities", and we assume that no one else in the country does, either!)

                But, after Katrina, I quit my job so that I could come back here and volunteer full-time.  I just started volunteering with ACORN in NOLA.

                Just last week, Gov. Blanco announced a partnership with Operation HOPE.  I can't recall what they are calling it, but you can find out from the Gov's website.  I think it is accepting donations specifically for the work they will be doing.  Their goal is to partner up EACH family who wants one, with a "personal advocate" who will help them on the myriad of issues/problems for the long-haul.  You can read about it on the Gov's website.  Have you ever had a family member in the hospital and got assigned a "patient advocate" by the hospital?  It sounds like it is supposed to work in that same sort of way.  So, I would recommend that the NOLA residents you are helping check into that and sign up to get someone to work with them.  Like I said, they just announced the program last week, so I don't know how effective it is yet.  

                Who's Congressional district are they in?  A person can be "from NOLA" but it really depends on where, exactly, in the "greater NOLA area" they lived in.  Are they from Congressman Jefferson's district (Orleans Parish), Jindal's (Jefferson Parish...western suburbs) or Melancon's (St. Bernard Parish)?  I know that Jindal and Melancon also have a number set up for their office where people can call to get help cutting through the red tape and more info...not sure about Jefferson (his entire district was affected, so it was harder for his staff to be back up and running).  

                Hope this helps.  Let me know if you have other questions.  One of the things I hope to do in the next couple of weeks is come up with a "good list" of groups where donation dollars are likely to be put to the most effective use (on the theory that the holiday season will prompt another round of people wanting to donate).

                As to how to help -- please keep contacting the White House and the appropriations committees to press for full funding of a cat 5 levee system and coastal restoration.  Everything else we Louisianians will be able to handle in the long-run, come hook or crook.  We are some damn resilient folk down here.  But we won't be able to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps if the mortgage lending industry and the insurance industry decide in a year to take away our boots (in that they deem us "too risky" because the fed govt has not committed to a plan to lower that "perceived" market risk).   Also, the MSM to tell them the same thing.  I suggest focusing ALL EFFORTS on reporters who are already still doing Katrina stories, like Anderson Cooper.  And, keep tabs on what is ACTUALLY going on here from our local sources' websites (Baton Rouge Advocate, Times Picayune, Houma Courier, etc.)  When you read those sources and compare them to what you see "out there" in the news stories, it is truly laughable who clueless the MSM is about what is really going on (so it's no wonder a lot of the dKos folks are so misinformed....I just had higher expectations that they would not so readily believe the national SPIN).

                Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

                by NOdiaspora on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 09:17:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks (none)
                  I'll check out the Gov.'s site and the Operation Hope program - that sounds great.  My friends lived in Orleans Parish, and yes it's hard getting back up and going there.  They have lots of incredible photos and video before and after the storm.  They were one of those on a roof trying to flag down help for 5 days.  Luckily, they lived in a multi-floor buiding and had some shelter from the 2nd story up.  The pictures are unbelieveable.  I'll see if they want to share some here on dKos.  Not sure if they're ready for that, tho.  

                  Believe me, I'm learning first hand how laughable the national spin is.  Thanks for calling the BS.

                  Please do work on a list for the holiday season.  I'll keep and eye out for it.

                  There's nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos. -- Jim Hightower

                  by TexH on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 02:55:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I was carrying a lot of floodwater up above. (4.00)
      I'm not astounded that some Americans would be able to just "write off" an American city as somehow not worth the trouble to rebuild.  What astounds me is that the people here at DailyKos appear to feel this way, at least a majority.  Unbelievable.
      •  exactly (4.00)
        Utterly astounding to me what claims to pass for "progressive" these days.

        I'll stay my yellow dog Dem self.  It's a whole lot more empathetic of humanity than what I am reading here.

        "And then they came for me..."  

        For goodness sakes, people, can you not see the extent to which the last 5 years have made so much crap implicitly "acceptable"?  To the point where you spout eerily similar reasoning and rhetoric?  

        We have utterly become a nation who has gone from thinking "'They' CAN'T do that" to "CAN 'they' do that?" to "Oh, isn't it a shame that 'they' have done that."  WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING that your thought processes have been so insidiously changed in this way!

        The NOLA levees that breached did so BECAUSE OF ARMY COE MALFEASANCE, as the post-Katrina engineering studies are now showing.  Read some local NOLA news, for goodness sakes, or the links I have put in my 1000 comments to this thread.

        Saving NOLA and the rest of La (and the rest of the Gulf Coast) should be our beacon of hope, a brand new day, our sense of relief that maybe, just maybe, we can prove that we, America, is actually WORTH SOMETHING because we don't abandon our own.  As I said in my diary this morning, it should be our symbol of removing this STAIN of the last 5 years that has visited itself upon the American psyche that we USED to have.

        If we do not rebuild, then as an American, you will NEVER, EVER be able to look yourself in the mirror and say "Americans CARE" to anyone in the world because we did not even care about our own when the time came to put up or shut up.  

        Louisiana MATTERS because AMERICA matters.  And if you don't believe that, then I hope their is someone left to save you from your government when the time comes.  I could have maybe helped do so, but you all will have long since drowned me.


        Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

        by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:35:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  exactly (none)
        Utterly astounding to me what claims to pass for "progressive" these days.

        I'll stay my yellow dog Dem self.  It's a whole lot more empathetic of humanity than what I am reading here.

        "And then they came for me..."  

        For goodness sakes, people, can you not see the extent to which the last 5 years have made so much crap implicitly "acceptable"?  To the point where you spout eerily similar reasoning and rhetoric?  

        We have utterly become a nation who has gone from thinking "'They' CAN'T do that" to "CAN 'they' do that?" to "Oh, isn't it a shame that 'they' have done that."  WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING that your thought processes have been so insidiously changed in this way!

        The NOLA levees that breached did so BECAUSE OF ARMY COE MALFEASANCE, as the post-Katrina engineering studies are now showing.  Read some local NOLA news, for goodness sakes, or the links I have put in my 1000 comments to this thread.

        Saving NOLA and the rest of La (and the rest of the Gulf Coast) should be our beacon of hope, a brand new day, our sense of relief that maybe, just maybe, we can prove that we, America, is actually WORTH SOMETHING because we don't abandon our own.  As I said in my diary this morning, it should be our symbol of removing this STAIN of the last 5 years that has visited itself upon the American psyche that we USED to have.

        If we do not rebuild, then as an American, you will NEVER, EVER be able to look yourself in the mirror and say "Americans CARE" to anyone in the world because we did not even care about our own when the time came to put up or shut up.  

        Louisiana MATTERS because AMERICA matters.  And if you don't believe that, then I hope their is someone left to save you from your government when the time comes.  I could have maybe helped do so, but you all will have long since drowned me.


        Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

        by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:37:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I care (none)
          I care enough not to put New Orleans residents back in harms way. I'd like to find them good homes and schools in other cities where they don't have to live in fear of everything being wiped out again.

          I care so much I don't want to risk it happening again.

          •  that's a nice sentiment... (none)
            I'm sure that some folks will appreciate your efforts to resettle them in "safe" areas.

            Some of us never left, and don't plan on leaving. There's alot of different perspectives here...

          •  Look at a map of south La. (none)
            Seriously.  Stop talking about it as though the sum total of the folks here are the people who have been put in the modern-day version of a "reservation" somewhere.

            Look at a map.  See everything below Alexandria?  THAT is what you are "proposing", whether you realize it or not, when you talk about removing people from what you consider to be "harm's way".  

            Trust me -- NOT A SINGLE PERSON in south La., nor our research scientists who have studied this issue for YEARS, believes they are or will be in "harm's way" IF we are given the goddamn money to build the goddamn levee system and coastal restorations systems that we have been asking for for the last 20 goddamn years.

            Look up the town of Golden Meadow on a map.  It has had its cat 5 system in place on Bayou Lafourche (which empties into the Gulf) for the last 10 years.  AND IT WORKS!  And it is just that cat 5 system that helps keep my hometown safe.  BUT, my hometown and the surrounding area continues to be threatened by coastal erosion.  So you cannot do one without the other.

            We have been here for 300 years, and we ain't going anywhere, ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that the NOLA levees failed due to Army COE MALFEASANCE in not following the damn design plans when they built the cat 3 levees in the first place.  If the Army COE had not been so egregiously incompetent, we wouldn't even be having this discussion b/c NOLA would have been fine and dandy and practically flood-free.

            We know how to build the systems here.  Give us the money that is long overdue, and we will do it.  And if the money is not forthcoming, then we will keep our Port, and our oil and gas, thank you very much, become our OWN damn country, and let's see the entire economy of the mid-west and the rest of the nation go belly-up.  Seriously.  That is just the attitude that will be fostered here, in the long-run.  And that could very well be the end result.  If you think the "insurgency" in Iraq causes havoc, you ain't seen nothing yet.  The fed govt is planting the seeds of a homegrown insurgency right here at your back door.  

            Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

            by NOdiaspora on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 08:31:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm afraid (none)
      It is now a national legend. Whatever cultural aspects exist of New Orleans, cities come to be for reasons, and the reasons to rebuid New Orleans may not be compelling enough.

      We need to stop feeding 80 pound dogs and start feeding 60 pound africans.

      by le sequoit on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:08:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you mean... (4.00)

        It is now a natinal legend? How do you know this? Are you here now?

        This city is operating right now. The French Quarter, Marigny, Garden District, Uptown, Bywater, etc etc are very much alive and full of commerce.  There's still more life and energy here than 90% of the American cities I've ever been to.

        •  Amen to THAT! (none)
          You're completely correct.  Those of us who are actually IN New Orleans need to remind people of the parts of the city that is rather alive and kicking.

          My badgering about the need to hammer away at the feds for the money they have long owed us (particularly now that we know the levees breached because of the piss poor Army COE oversight) is because:  if we don't get a commitment for a cat 5 plan, then the risk managers for the mortgage industry, insurance industry will be only too happy to make the same "assumptions" about risk that folks here are making, resulting in those up-and-running parts of the city ending up going by the wayside, too.

          Be a Saint...Donate. Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (And pray for our suckass team, too. But Geaux Tigers!)

          by NOdiaspora on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:52:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ethnic Cleansing in fact! (none)
      This is why Bush exclaimed happily "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!"
  •  has anyone (4.00)
    heard from kossack nolalily?  as far as i know, we've not seen hide nor hair of her since darksyde's first "get the heck out of dodge' katrina diary.
  •  Number 11 on the bill of rights... (none)
    is going to cause all kinds of problems.  It is a sad reality that the poorest neighborhoods in most towns also tend to be those that are lowest in elevation and most vulnerable to flooding.  In Calfornia, some cities have bought homes in flood prone areas and designated those areas as parks or floodplains. If they want to re-build New Orleans in a safer way, they are going to have to NOT rebuild these neighborhoods. But in New Orleans, this kind of practice is going to lead to charges that the city planners are trying to clean up their city by ridding it of all poor people.  No matter how many maps of flooding you show people, some are going to assume that the only reason they don't want to re-build the poor, low elevation areas is to rid the city of the poor, mostly black communities.  It's a political nightmare, and the only political solution is one that will result not only huge levee expense, but also in future death and destruction - re-building the low elevation neighborhoods just where they are.  They'll try to protect them with levees, but no levee can be built to withstand the increasing power of nature in those communities. Someday, maybe in 10 year, maybe 100, there will be another major storm, and more poor people will die - just because people don't want to believe that it's sometimes better not to build in some areas.  
    •  Partially agree (none)
      You're largely correct, but the history behind it is even more complex than that:

      Check out a map of New Orleans.  The city has basically filled up - there is nowhere for it to expand; in fact, they've already been having problems about where to put people (not to mention roads - the rush hour drive between Jefferson and Orleans is no joy).  To the north, we have the lake, to the east another lake and the gulf, to the south and west, protected marshland.  

      Now look at where the 9th ward is.  People settled in that area because it's so close to downtown. Given the city's already-strapped space, there's nowhere to relocate people.  The history of the city has always been an uneasy negotiation of nature and necessity.  Nature sometimes smacks us hard, but long-term economic necessity keeps the city there.

      Although, on the population issue, Katrina just played an even bigger trumpcard.  The city's in no danger of overpopulation at the moment.  And rush hour has never been smoother.

      (Confession: I have a strong bias, as well.  I love the 9th ward.  Where else will people go to beat Wagner's meat? [a non-obscene reference, I promise.  Locals know.])

      •  I guess I wasn't clear. (none)
        In California, the city doesn't relocate people who move out of flood areas. They just buy them out and demolish the houses. The people relocate wherever they want to go. Places like wagner's meat hopefully move to higher ground.  The 9th ward would be no more.  But the only alternative in cases like this is to build levees, and in some places, levees simply can't be built strongly enough to really protect people.  Everything I've read indicates that New Orleans has some areas which will always be vulnerable.  Is it really worth risking future lives to save the 9th ward?  This is a wonderful opportunity - there is money to buy out the people who have invested in their homes, there is nothing there right now to save.  Re-build the parts of New Orleans that can be protected. Built low income, NICE, housing near the down town so that people can live there.  The city will be smaller, but much safer.  People have already started to move out of the area.  It won't be easy, but there will never be a better chance.  

        But it won't happen, because people don't like to give up, even when the fight they're fighting is futile.  The wetlands that have been destroyed can't all be re-built - not without tearing down a lot of developments.  The tides are going to get higher, and the storms harsher, and we will end up with another 9th ward, and, in due time, another deadly disaster.

        •  No disagreement (none)
          I think we're talking at cross-purposes.  I agree with what you've said, but -assuming the population stays the same, which is no longer the case- demolishing the 9th Ward creates a major problem: where do you put all those people?  The city doesn't have the land to expand further, because it's boxed in on all sides.  The only alternative, as some have proposed, is to build up, which may have eventually happened had Katrina not thrown this new wrench into the fray.
          •  Other cities and suburbs (none)
            A lot of people from New Orleans have already relocated, and many of them will want to re-build their lives where they have moved to.  The population of the New New Orleans will have to be smaller.  Over the years, population pressures have caused New Orleans to build in places that simply aren't safe.  That will have to end.  Not everybody will be able to come back - but a lof of people won't want to come back.  Right now, a lot of people  are re-building their lives in new cities, and they will find that they like the new cities and their new jobs.  In two years, when NO is re-built, they won't want to disrupt their children's lives again to move back.  The populations won't stay the same
  •  Free housing in DC! (none)
    New Orleans refugees- Descend on the capitol!  Set up your "Brownie-ville" on the White House lawn!
  •  Too bad you probably don't (4.00)
    have the time to post one of your excellent diaries daily blk sista, because yours thankfully always make THE LIST.

    I'll be linking your diary to a Part V The Missing and the Dead diary, when I post it, a continuation of the series where I've been attempting to keep track of Diaries/Links regarding seeing to the missing, the dead, displaced and related hurricane issues and where I've linked your other Katrina diaires.  The series was last updated yesterday here :  The Missing and the Dead Part IV, yesterday, but apparently I added one link too much of data, which resulted in losing some of the bottom data and not being able to correct it and update it anymore.

    My prayers, for whatever they're worth, to your loved ones in New Orleans and the very trying and heartwrenching times they're up against.

    The city must never be allowed to die and more importantly the US must do something for the hundreds of thousands of displaced who are living in daily fear and misery.  Those who which to return should be given abundant assistance to do so, with a special concentration on the poor souls who never had the means to own a home, and are now subject to being forced from one miserable place to another for the rest of their lives.

    What an excellent day for an Excorcism... SCI/Kenyon

    by DianeL on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 04:33:22 PM PST

    •  Indeed, gov't's purpose should be (none)
      to protect and help its citizens in times of need. But NOLA will be knocked down as many times as we rebuild it, and each time will cause more human suffering.

      -- "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression...will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson

      by Todd Johnston on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 01:53:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To my recollect, (none)
        It hasn't been knocked down any more times, in the last 100 years, than San Francisco.  And New Orleans, is a far more significant port than San Francisco

        So I'll be looking for your response, after the next California quake hits...

        It's really quite a shame how $$$$ affect humanity...


        What an excellent day for an Excorcism... SCI/Kenyon

        by DianeL on Tue Nov 22, 2005 at 06:48:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  NOVA on Katrina and New Orleans this week (none)
    This week, NOVA is broadcasting a report on Katrina and how it flooded New Orleans.

    Here is a link to the NOVA page for this program...
    Storm that Drowned a City

    "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It

    by Eloi Scientist on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 05:12:29 PM PST

  •  It's true, 'cause they said so on tv (none)
  •  It's not just NO or Venice... (none)
    The Chesapeake Bay estuary has lost 500 island in the past century or so.  A way of life for hundreds of thousands of watermen and the culture of an entire region is being endangered.  Dorchester County is losing acre feet a year, houses have water lapping at them at high tide. The County may lose 40% of its acreage by 2025.  Those acres provide incomes where it is tillable and support an amazing variety of wildlife where it is too marshy to farm.  This is a national issue, not just a local one.  And it has multiple causes.

    Fringe is the new black. - Me

    by chillindame on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 07:22:23 PM PST

  •  I Love New Orleans (none)
    and I think that it should be rebuilt,  but not where is was.  New Orleans(where it was built) is doomed.  It makes  no sense to rebuild it where it was.  It is sinking 3 feet every century,  and and waters as rising 3 feet every century.  

    Fascism will come to America in the guise of National Security - Jim Garrison

    by elveta on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 07:22:27 PM PST

  •  Forget New Orleans, It's a Lost Cause (none)
    "There is no point in trying to build a city below sea level, it would never work for long."


    The Netherlands

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 07:51:29 PM PST

  •  That's a lot of comments (none)
      I havn't read them all, but China doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere.  My point is that marvels of modern engineering are indeed still possible.  China recently built a railroad across the "roof of the world."  This is a feat that has been discussed among engineers for decades and, until now, been pronounced impossible.
      The frozen terrain height varies by a few feet as it melts each day and re-freezes each night.  Normal combustion engines don't have enough air at that altitude to run.  Passenger cars must be pressurized if passengers are not to pass out.
      Well China has laid the track.  Coolant is pumped into the tundra to keep it frozen 24-7.  The Swiss have come up with an engine that only loses half its horsepower when starved for air.  It should be able to make at least 100 kph.
      Amazing things can be done with the will and resources of a superpower behind it.  We could build a frikkin dome over New Orleans if it were 100 feet underwater if we really wanted to.  You know we could.  We just don't have China's kind of will anymore.

    BTW, that rail line will cost billions a year to maintain.  It's a prestige thing.  My point still stands, we could do it if we really wanted to.

    •  Forgot to source it. (none)
      You can google china railway news, but I like this Salon article.
      It's a subscription site, but you can get a day pass by watching an ad.
    •  Indolence (none)
      We don't do the tricky engineerin' here in Bush's America. Whaddya think this is, the Marshall Plan?

      We'll only reconstuct when our bombs destroy lives and property. That way our destruction has a purpose.

    •  China is the poster child. (none)
      China is the poster child for engineering marvels that have disastrous consequences.  They've maintained levees on rivers that were meant to prevent disastrous floods but now actually aggravate flooding.  They are building dams for hydroelectric power that flood huge areas of arable land and may actually change weather patterns.  China has indeed plowed huge amounts of resources into projects that may well turn out to be shortsighted boondoggles.
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