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Thread: Rebuilding New Orleans

  1. #61
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Demolition of Thousands of Houses Is Set to Begin

    By ADAM NOSSITER
    New York Times
    December 17, 2005

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/17/na...7demolish.html


    NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 16 - The city will begin demolishing several thousand of the most severely hurricane-damaged houses in the next few weeks, marking the completion of an arduous door-to-door inspection of more than 120,000 structures that began months ago.

    Officials here have provisionally identified about 5,500 houses as being unsafe to enter or in imminent danger of collapse. Of those, they have marked about 2,500 for demolition in the coming weeks, said Greg Meffert, the New Orleans official heading the inspections. He did not supply a precise date, but suggested that it would be soon.

    The highest concentration of these red-tagged houses - so called because of the bright orange-red stickers the city's building inspectors have slapped on them - are in the Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly, neighborhoods ravaged by levee breaks from the storm. The water's force pushed houses in these areas off their foundations, into neighbors' yards, and sometimes collapsed them altogether.

    The sensitivity of demolishing houses here, a subject city officials mostly avoid discussing, is reflected in the fact that all houses tagged red are subject to a reinspection, to make certain they qualify. Some are likely to lose the red designation, city officials said, meaning that the figure of 5,500 will drop.

    The vast majority of the inspected houses fall into a middle, or yellow, category, meaning they have some damage - for example, a flooded first floor - but are still structurally sound. That so many of the city's houses sustained this degree of damage reflects the extent of the flooding, which affected 80 percent of New Orleans at its height. Lakeview, a middle-class neighborhood bordering Lake Pontchartrain, contains block after block of houses in this category and remains largely uninhabited.

    Many of these yellow-tagged houses "still represent a headache for the city," said Bill Pioli, an official of the Army Corps of Engineers who helped manage the inspections. Salvaging them will be difficult, considering the limited resources that many homeowners and the local government have for repairs.
    That quandary is captured in the cautious attitude New Orleans officials are adopting toward these dwellings, neither advocating their destruction nor suggesting that all can be saved.

    "The city will not be making any unilateral demolition decisions," Mr. Meffert, an aide to Mayor C. Ray Nagin, said in an e-mail message on Thursday. "With the exception of those 5,000 homes that are collapsing and endangering others, the individual owner, in that yellow designation, will make the financial and personal decision of whether it makes sense to demolish or do a gut rehab."

    Heaps of housing rubble, including Sheetrock and flooring, that line many blocks here suggest that some homeowners have already made that decision and are plunging ahead with rehabilitation, despite worrisome costs.

    The swath of undamaged houses marked in green closely tracks the historic high ground of the city, along the Mississippi River. The elevation is imperceptible from the ground, consisting of only a few feet, and is the result of hundreds of years of silt deposited by the river. This slight rise was nonetheless just enough to keep these houses out of the "bowl," as it is known locally, referring to an area largely undeveloped in the 19th century.
    Even before Hurricane Katrina, those areas were subject to periodic flooding during heavy rains.

    Out of 180,000 houses in the city, 110,000 were flooded. Half of those sat for days or weeks in more than six feet of water.

    The Corps of Engineers will have responsibility for the demolitions, using track excavators. But in many cases, these huge pieces of equipment will have to do little more than scoop up heaps of rubble, because wind and water have already taken care of the demolition.


    Copyright 2005The New York Times Company

  2. #62

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    January 5, 2006

    A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans

    By ADAM NOSSITER

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Into the void of the post-Katrina policy landscape, littered with half-ruined proposals, crumbling prescriptions and washed-out initiatives, an obscure and very conservative congressman has stepped in with the ultimate big government solution.

    Representative Richard H. Baker, a Republican from suburban Baton Rouge who derides Democrats for not being sufficiently free-market, is the unlikely champion of a housing recovery plan that would make the federal government the biggest landowner in New Orleans - for a while, at least. Mr. Baker's proposed Louisiana Recovery Corporation would spend as much as $80 billion to pay off lenders, restore public works, buy huge ruined chunks of the city, clean them up and then sell them back to developers.

    Desperate for a big-scale fix to the region's huge real estate problem, Louisiana officials and business leaders of all stripes - black and white, Republican and Democrat - have embraced this little-known congressman and his grandiose plan, calling its passage crucial. While the White House has yet to sign on, there are already signs that some Congressional leaders are interested in pursuing it; Mr. Baker said administration officials had not rejected it outright.

    The passage of the bill has become increasingly important to Louisiana because the state lost out to the greater political power of Mississippi last month when Congress passed a $29 billion aid package for the Gulf states region. The package gave Mississippi about five times as much per household in housing aid as Louisiana received - a testimony to the clout of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former Republican National Committee chairman, and Senator Thad Cochran, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

    Louisiana officials say they were forced to go along with the appropriation, because they may not have received an aid package at all otherwise. But now they are focused even more intently on Mr. Baker's buyout bill; many economists here say there may be no alternative to buyouts for homeowners who cannot make mortgage payments on ruined properties.

    "It's probably one of the few last best hopes out there for people whose homes were flooded, and had no flood insurance," said Loren C. Scott, an emeritus economist at Louisiana State University. "Without this kind of help, there's a very large number of people who are just sunk."

    James A. Richardson, director of the university's Public Administration Institute, said, "It's the only game in town, to a certain extent."

    Mr. Baker's ideological opposite in the Louisiana Congressional delegation, William J. Jefferson, a New Orleans Democrat, said passage of the bill was important.

    "Without it," he said, "homeowners have very little chance of realizing any of the equity they've lost."

    Under his plan, the Louisiana Recovery Corporation would step in to prevent defaults, similar in general nature to the Resolution Trust Corporation set up by Congress in 1989 to bail out the savings and loan industry. It would offer to buy out homeowners, at no less than 60 percent of their equity before Hurricane Katrina. Lenders would be offered up to 60 percent of what they are owed.

    To finance these expenditures, the government would sell bonds and pay them off in part with the proceeds from the sale of land to developers.

    Property owners would not have to sell, but those who did would have an option to buy property back from the corporation. The federal corporation would have nothing to do with the redevelopment of the land; those plans would be drawn up by local authorities and developers.

    To succeed, the proposal will eventually require the support of the White House. And the signals, according to this staunch Republican who boasts of near-perfect rankings from conservative groups, have been distinctly mixed.

    President Bush, riding in a car with Mr. Baker on a trip here in late September, "got it," Mr. Baker insisted in an interview at his office here, in the city he has unobtrusively represented in Washington for two decades. "He was very open to it. He said, 'Work on it and get back to Hubbard,' " referring to Mr. Bush's top economic adviser, Allan B. Hubbard.

    With Congress set to adjourn last month and with the plan hanging in the balance, Mr. Baker received a visit on a Sunday morning from Donald E. Powell, the president's Gulf Coast recovery czar. Mr. Baker said Mr. Powell, was now "more comfortable" with the proposal, but was still not wholly convinced after an hour of discussion. The bill sank, despite a successful scramble to unite the disparate Louisiana delegation behind it and appeals from business leaders. Yet, with promises from senators to take up the bill quickly when Congress reconvenes and signs that the White House has not turned its back, the cautious Mr. Baker figures that his odds are better than even.

    Sean Reilly, a member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, said Mr. Powell had told him the White House was "on board" with the concept, but needed to tweak the idea a bit.

    "It came very close," said Walter Isaacson, vice chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, established by the governor to oversee reconstruction. Top White House advisers "basically like the principle," he said. And there were promises from them that "we'll work with you, and we'll get it on the fast track" for hearings in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Mr. Isaacson said.

    Mr. Baker's fellow conservatives, in Congress and out, are worried about the huge scale of his proposed intervention. In the House Financial Services Committee, several members tried unsuccessfully to limit the proposal's spending and duration, or to require that it break even. "It is irresponsible for Congress to write a blank check, drawn on the account of American taxpayers, bound only by the imagination of politicians," said Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas. "We need to ensure that taxpayers are not asked again two or three years from now to pay for the same disaster."

    Mr. Baker says to his critics: "If not this, what? And the answers are not good."

    A sobering early flyover of the ruined neighborhoods in New Orleans convinced him that ordinary solutions would not work. Here was a problem way beyond the capacity of private enterprise. "In this case, everything's gone," Mr. Baker said. "Total elimination. So I have argued that this does require a precedent-setting remedy. And if we don't do this, what do you foresee for the region two years from now?"

    Soft-spoken, mild-mannered and with the choirboy demeanor of a minister's son, Mr. Baker has spent years toiling in arcane financial-services regulation. With the calm of a man used to consorting with bankers and poring over balance sheets, he lays it all out: tens of thousands of strapped homeowners, owing millions in mortgage payments on properties of dubious value, to multiple lending institutions.

    His effort is filled with paradoxes. Mr. Baker has devoted much of his Congressional career to reining in the quasi-governmental lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying they have too much power. Now, "as free market as I am," he said, he wants the government to take action in a way it never has before.

    Another oddity is that Mr. Baker is so invisible, even in his own district, that "most people in Baton Rouge wouldn't recognize him," said Wayne Parent, a political science professor at L.S.U. In a state that values flash in its politicians, "You don't hear much said about him," Mr. Parent said. Yet, Mr. Baker has suddenly stepped to the forefront of a Louisiana political class that has been notably bereft of ideas.

    He was elected from a mostly white, suburban district, one relatively prosperous by Louisiana standards and historically resentful of the once-larger city to the east. Yet, his initiative could wind up largely benefiting African-Americans in New Orleans.

    In the House, his idea was embraced by liberals - "I think it's a good idea," said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts - and shunned by many conservatives. The proposal is about as "good as you get," Mr. Isaacson said. "My feeling is it's a test of how sincere the administration is in saying it wants a careful and smart rebuilding effort."

    * Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

  3. #63

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    March 15, 2006

    Forecast on Shrunken New Orleans

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    NEW ORLEANS, March 14 (AP) By the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans will have less than 60 percent of the population it had before the storm, according to a study prepared for the city.

    The hurricane, which struck Aug. 29, emptied New Orleans of almost all its estimated 465,000 residents. The city's population has rebounded to an estimated 189,000, state officials said.

    The new study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, projects that the population will be 272,000 by September 2008, 58 percent of the prehurricane level.

    Sections of the city that suffered only wind damage or minor flooding are filling up now.

    "But when you look at other parts of the city with serious flood damage, the amount of work needed to make those areas livable again is likely to take a lengthy time," said Narayan Sastry, project leader of the study.

    Gregory C. Rigamer, president of GCR & Associates, a New Orleans consulting firm, said he expected the city to reach a population of 250,000 to 275,000 by the end of 2006. "Then, it's going to slow down because the efforts to recover the remaining areas are going to be difficult," Mr. Rigamer said.

    The RAND report paints a bleak picture for the city's prestorm residents who lived in poverty, an overwhelming number of whom are black and many of whom did not have cars to leave the city before the hurricane.

    "Lack of transportation will also make it difficult for poor evacuees to travel back to the city to evaluate the condition of their former residences and either to begin the process of repairing their homes or to find a new place to live," the study said.

    In issuing the study, RAND warned that it had to work quickly, had limited data and was confronted with considerable uncertainties in New Orleans in drawing its conclusions. It said more study would be needed.

  4. #64
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    New Orleans plans jazz district central park





    By Peter Henderson
    Tue May 30, 5:07 PM ET



    NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - New Orleans plans a new $700 million jazz district and central park, aiming to use the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to rebuild the damaged core of the city.

    Standing in front of the still-shuttered Superdome stadium, city and state officials on Tuesday described the 20-acre (8-hectare) National Jazz Center and Jazz Park, a performance center, museum complex and park that would provide a new cultural anchor for the city known as the home of jazz.

    "This project will put New Orleans back on the map," said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

    Nine months after Katrina swept through the city, the area to be transformed is only partly functional and has little foot traffic. The Hyatt hotel, which served as a command center for Mayor Ray Nagin during the storm and will be redeveloped in the plan, is riddled with broken windows.

    Workers still are repairing the roof of the Superdome, the stadium that served as the shelter of last resort for thousands in last year's storm.

    Supporters hope their plan will attract more residential and mixed-use development by better promoting New Orleans' musical heritage, supporters said. Fewer than half the city's pre-storm residents have returned, nearly every main street has some closed businesses and tourism, the lifeblood of the local economy, has not fully revived since the hurricane.

    The six-block-long park would link the Hyatt and the Superdome while an extended trolley line would run to the French Quarter's historic maze of shops and restaurants about half a mile away.

    TWO TO THREE YEARS OF WORK

    Nagin estimated the project would take two or three years and said it would be a year before construction would begin as tax breaks and additional funding were lined up.

    While billed as a major commercial initiative started by Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., owner of the New Orleans Hyatt, most of the estimated $716 million investment would come from government agencies in the form of donated land, tax breaks and incentives.

    Strategic Hotels plans to invest about $50 million, in addition to insurance settlements, said Strategic Chief Executive and Chairman Laurence Geller.

    Jazz is part of the cultural life blood of New Orleans but it has been scattered throughout the Mississippi River city, found primarily in the streets of the French Quarter and on small stages crammed into smoky bars.

    Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra which will be based in a new performance hall designed by modernist architect Thom Mayne, described the park and center as a homecoming for the music.

    "I am grateful to be alive at this time to witness such wonderful cultural triumphs," said Mayfield, whose father was killed in the storm.

    Planners would demolish some court and city buildings to make way for the park. It would aim to offer room for picnics, green space and access to jazz.

    The area is deserted at night now but will become a 24-hour draw and anchor urban residential and other development, if all goes as planned.

    The concept designed by Mayne includes a new civil court building with a silvery wave emerging from the side. The performance center appears as a circular mass with a curving core surrounded by a translucent curtain of glass.

    "We should have the first great American city of the 21st century," Geller said.

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward
    It's easy to order the rebuilding of New Orleans from Washington, but having money to rebuild is not sufficient.

    The question is - what percentage of people are going to return to New Orleans? ...
    So, we got the answer - 40%

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    I know this may sound bad but....

    I do not think they should rebuild New Orleans. I think they should just clean everything out and open the dykes.

    I think the money that is being earmarked for reconstruction should go toward relocation of the families that were displaced. And NO HANDOUTS!!!

    Handouts do not make the recipients respectful of what they have been given. Two classic examples? Abuse rate of animals that are paid for verses ones that are adopted at the shelter. Low income housing versus Habitat for Humanity.

    Give a person the chance to help BUILD their home and you will see a hell of a lot more pride and respect for it than if they feel that it was just given to them to keep them quiet or that this was something they were entitled to from teh very start.

    New Orleans was not a classic town in need of reconstruction. It was a poorly managed corrupt town that was all stuck below sea level behind sub-standard dykes that broke when a hurricane hit them. You rebuild them and, even if they are built to code, environmental changes (such as further ground settlement or global warming) will destroy them again.


    So, help the people rebuild, just not in the areas that might need rebuilding again in 5-10 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Give a person the chance to help BUILD their home and you will see a hell of a lot more pride and respect for it than if they feel that it was just given to them to keep them quiet or that this was something they were entitled to from teh very start.
    I'm not understanding what you are implying. Are you suggesting that people living in New Orleans did not respect their homes or houses? Or are you suggesting that they won't properly appreciate the new homes provided?

    I never built my own home, but I respect it as my home. Growing up in the suburbs, my family never built its own home. We respected where we lived.

    I don't get your point.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    I'm not understanding what you are implying. Are you suggesting that people living in New Orleans did not respect their homes or houses? Or are you suggesting that they won't properly appreciate the new homes provided?
    I am saying that, if NO is to be rebuilt, it should not be akin to a government handout. Developments like that are not respected and usually do not last very long.

    I am not saying that people did not respect the homes that they built or bought, but that people, ni general, have less respect for a generic structure that was built and given to them than for the building THEY had something to do with.

    I never built my own home, but I respect it as my home. Growing up in the suburbs, my family never built its own home. We respected where we lived.
    Did your family buy the home you were in or was it given to you?

    I don't get your point.
    Point is, at lest the one you singled out, that people have respect for thnigs that they have something to do with. Whether it be purchasing or construction. If w have a bunch of programs being run that start giving generic housing away, there will be a lot of folks that will not respect it as much as if it were generally their own rather than a mediocre handout.

    My main point was that NO should NOT be rebuilt. It is a self defeating recovery. Unless you design all of them to be able to survive another flood (such as building codes that are already prevalent at the Jersey Shore) rebuilding there is just asking for trouble the next time a storm hits.

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    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Yes, you rebuild all of them to be able to withstand another flood, the worst flood, as it should have been done in the first place. Had they spent the money on this years ago with the same technology the Dutch use to keep their ocean out, it would have been far cheaper than the current rebuilding effort, and besides, we wouldn't be talking about this now since it would have kept out the flooding from Katrina. We can and should protect New Orleans at least as well as the Dutch protect their cities that are below sea level.

    Nobody is getting a handout, as though they are getting something for nothing. They now have nothing due to incompetence and corruption - the government let these people down when they failed to protect the city from the inevitable catastrophe, the least they should do is rebuild their city and protect it the way it should have been. And if this property is so worthless, I wonder why the oil companies want to grab them. Those poor people weren't using their land right, I guess.

    We're not giving up on New Orleans (even though some people spew lies to discourage the effort) - it is there for a reason. It is the largest port by volume in our country at the mouth of our largest river system. It also has its own distinct culture with its own population that will always be drawn to it. You couldn't move the city if you tried. Just protect it like they were supposed to, and let the local population do the work of rebuilding instead of Halliburton.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    My main point was that NO should NOT be rebuilt. It is a self defeating recovery. Unless you design all of them to be able to survive another flood (such as building codes that are already prevalent at the Jersey Shore) rebuilding there is just asking for trouble the next time a storm hits.

    If you require too much in the way of protection, people won't live there, even if the next storm is 30 years away.

    Each Ward (or community subdivision - I am not that up on NO municipals) should have a location of last resort.

    (I call it the "save me" building. It would in general be designed higher than the highest flood line with a generator, storage for civil defense materials, heli-pad and other flood survival brick-a-brack. )

    This should be funded by the goverment at least in part - and adhere to strict building and design codes. This way you can insure that people are physically safe, but let the communities determine the acceptable level of saftey for their personal possessions and property

    p.s. - Fix the damn flood control mechanisms. It is shameful that the Dutch shake their heads at us and say "oh we could have fixed that 20 years ago for next to nothing (considering the price it will cost to fix it now)"

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    NY@K

    The Oil companies want that area so tehy can simply pump what they can (or was that natural gas) from the area and let it all sink into the ocean. There was an interesting article on that in Time magazine about a year ago I believe.

    As for teh city, it has its nice spots, but it also had a bunch of areas that the city could not care less about. Most of which were flooded. They were not the driving force behind the shipyard or the shipping lane. We are confusing issues here.

    All I am saying is that we should not pay to rebuild something in an area that is prone to something like this happening again. Just like Insurance should not be given to rich people that insist on building their houses so close to the ocean that one storm comes and a dozen of them are swept away. (that whole SoCal thing I believe).

    I am not saying that they should not be provided for, but the providence should be in donations to things like Habitat, where these people can work a bit and get a BETTER house than what a government sponsored housing project will give them. In addition to that, people (myself included) are MORE respectful of thnigs they have had a hand in doing. They will have more pride in their dwelling and their community if it was something that owed a bit to them for being there.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentPandaesq
    If you require too much in the way of protection, people won't live there, even if the next storm is 30 years away.
    Hate to tell you, but most storms are based on a 50 year return period, not 30. I kow what yuo are saying about this, but your arguement works both ways. If requiring that a building has to be built to survive in the area that it is being built in discourages people from living there it should be a sign. It is a sign that that is not a hospitible area for habitation!

    Just like the wildfires sweeping the grasslands that the suburbs have expanded into, or bears attacks that now occur in NJ, CT and NY where there was once wilderness, it should come as a strong reminder that we are not free to just plop ourselves down wherever we feel like it.

    California would also be a good example of what is now being required in construction for Earthquake safety. But just because they have stricter standards for lateral forces does not mean that they have stopped building there.

    Each Ward (or community subdivision - I am not that up on NO municipals) should have a location of last resort.

    (I call it the "save me" building. It would in general be designed higher than the highest flood line with a generator, storage for civil defense materials, heli-pad and other flood survival brick-a-brack. )

    This should be funded by the goverment at least in part - and adhere to strict building and design codes. This way you can insure that people are physically safe, but let the communities determine the acceptable level of saftey for their personal possessions and property
    I sort of agree to that, but the thing is, why bother?

    Not in the sense of not providing a safe haven for the people, but more like, if the town was OBLITERATED in the first place, why are we bothering to rebuild it in an area that is not suited for rebuilding? Why not relocate? Aside from the human feeling of settlement and posession, is there any real reason 90% of the people in that area could not be moved a little further inland?

    p.s. - Fix the damn flood control mechanisms. It is shameful that the Dutch shake their heads at us and say "oh we could have fixed that 20 years ago for next to nothing (considering the price it will cost to fix it now)"
    We should have, but as soon as somethnig like that finds its way on the budget, everyone screams that they should not be paying for it. Building things is a politicians best boon, but paying for them is their bane.

    If that system was done properly, we would not be having this discussion. But it wasn't. The question now is not what-if, but what will be done now that will bring the best results. Having another dyke constructed ni the area will cost TONS of money and is still no guarantee that the town will be safe.

    You bring the example of the Dutch, but hell, there are people there that are even starting to make their houses flotable on metal guide posts! Just because Amsterdam has not been destroyed yet has not removed that possibility from their minds.

    I don't know. I guess it is difficult to get people to move away from what they are used to. I just get frustrated when you see someone standing in a snakepit and you try to warn them and they will not listen to you since they have been in that pit their entire life.

    It does not mean they will not get bitten because they do this and that or have been there so long, but you wish they would just climb out and set up somewhere else....

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    We should leave the Dutch out of this. They have no choice.

    After all, it is a low country

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    We aren't talking about a town in California prone to wildfires or a town in the plains located in a river floodplain, this is a major city and the most major port in our country, not to mention one of our country's most special places - it can't just be moved, abandoned, or its population relocated. There is a culture THERE, in that spot, around its cultural hub, the high-and-dry French Quarter. The people who work at the port facilities and who keep the tourist industry running, live there, nearby, some in the cheaper parts of town. That was left to itself, and now it's being abandoned, that's two wrongs. Though it's always been flood-prone (why so many houses there are built on stilts) it wasn't always below sea level, that happened when the river was kept from flooding, so historically nobody moved into a snake pit, it was created.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    I do not think they should rebuild New Orleans. I think they should just clean everything out and open the dykes.
    Why stop there? There are dykes protecting St. Louis and Memphis too, among thousands of other places.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYatKNIGHT
    We aren't talking about a town in California prone to wildfires or a town in the plains located in a river floodplain, this is a major city and the most major port in our country, not to mention one of our country's most special places - it can't just be moved, abandoned, or its population relocated.
    Yes it can.

    The areas that were destroyed were primarily low income residential that were built after the success of the main town, which was not flooded.

    The historic city was, for the most part, not damaged by the flood. Why do we feel the need to go back and rebuild the overcrowded slums back to their original "splendor"?

    There is a culture THERE, in that spot, around its cultural hub, the high-and-dry French Quarter. The people who work at the port facilities and who keep the tourist industry running, live there, nearby, some in the cheaper parts of town.
    Not all of them. That is why I said 90%

    Unemployment was very high in NO. Somehow saying that all the people living in the surrounding areas around NO were essential to its survival is a little naive.

    Some are definitely needed, just as they are in any town, but REBUILDING THEM IN A CATASTROPHIC FLOOD ZONE IS NOT SMART!

    That was left to itself, and now it's being abandoned, that's two wrongs. Though it's always been flood-prone (why so many houses there are built on stilts) it wasn't always below sea level, that happened when the river was kept from flooding, so historically nobody moved into a snake pit, it was created.
    Most of the people were in that pit for their entire lives NYK. It did not happen just in the past 5 years or so. The reason it is sinking was many, read the Time article about the resource extraction, the channel dredging, and other things that are threatening the land more than a set of dikes being under-designed. Clam-beds and other industries are dying because of the gradual MAN-MADE sinking of the entire area.

    And there is no real practical way to reverse this! So just because it wasn't a snake pit 100 years ago when it started does not make it safe now. Also, it was not built up like this 100 years ago either!

    Like I said, do not look to what it WAS as an argument for building. Look at what it is NOW and the practicality of what is being proposed to save an area that has little, if anything to do with the "historic" and "Cultural" foundations of the area.

    Why stop there? There are dikes protecting St. Louis and Memphis too, among thousands of other places.
    Why bring up that? You are starting to beat straw men here. Are those towns destroyed right now? As we speak? Are their dikes under-designed?

    When a house burns down, you strive to rebuild it. But when it burns down because you put it next to a volcano, you try to move the house a little bit further FROM the volcano the next time. You don't simply build a bigger wall between them.

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