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Thread: Rebuilding New Orleans

  1. #1
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Rebuilding New Orleans

    Inevitably the question will arise: How to re-build New Orleans?

    This thread is open to suggestions, ideas, dreams, schemes, etc.

    Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has suggested that bulldozing the city is a logical option (he has since back-tracked on this).

    One blog (http://www.buzzmachine.com/index.php...new-orleans-2/) has begun to address this, though at this early time many posters are offended by the very question.


    One response seems to hit the nail on the head:

    Oh, Piffle with that race and politics crap!

    However, as a practical matter, I disagree with Hastert and any number of commenters for this simple reason: Look at the map.

    Where is New Orleans? New Orleans is at the mouth of the Mississippi. Been there since long before the United States was the United States. Why did anyone build a city at the mouth of the mississippi on the Gulf of Mexico? Follow the Mississippi through the middle of the United States.

    What is the Mississippi used for? Shipping of goods and products. It is one of the largest, natural transportation routes in this country if not the world. The largest Port in the United States. It is not only economically strategic, but also strategic in case of war directed at our shores or in case some other disaster (like hurricanes, tsunamis, etc) destroys another port.

    We will rebuild NO because it has a purpose that is beyond the levees and the people that live there. it is vital to the security (economically and physically) of the US. Discussions otherwise are simply foolish.

    I do believe that another intelligent poster commented on what will be the reality: lessons learned will mean new engineering and a new city.

    Necessity is the mother of invention.


    And another:

    Oh, stop weeping you emotional slobs. Itís a good question. Should we rebuild (and pay for) something thatís below sea level and has been subjected to flloding and devastating hurricanes a number of times? When Chicago burned is spawned buildings with fireproof materials. We could do that. When San Francisco fell it created new earthquake-resistant building codes. We could do that. Are we going going to raise New Orleans above sea level or are we going to create (and can we afford to create) a monsterous cat-4 hurricane-proof (the levees were built to withstand cat 3) flood control system that will keep New Orleans dry? Can we do that? Forget how you ďfeelĒ about it. (People are getting help regardless of your feelings) Itís a good question. Someone has to ask it.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Here is a post from what is called the "Most In-depth, Conservative, Honest News & Commentary":

    DONíT REBUILD NEW ORLEANS
    By J. Grant Swank, Jr.
    MichNews.com

    Sep 2, 2005

    It makes no sense.

    And yet the courageous sounding continue with the age-old baptized mantra: "We will come back. We will rebuild."

    That is commendable in that it is basically an emotional response to the New Orleans and environs tragedy. But it is not reasonable.

    Are we going to rebuild a city that is going to go under again and again and again? The geography was warned over and over in the past by professionals who forecast that the bowl would fill up with flood waters one day. And now that apocalypse has come. We are experiencing the worst disaster in the nationís history.

    Would we rebuild in order to do a return of same in some year yet to be? Would that be fair to the upcoming generations let alone to our own logical present-tense see-throughs?

    The whole time I was watching horrific scene by horrific scene, I kept coming to the same conclusion: Letís not do that bowl thing again. Americans are proud people. They donít like to be called quitters. They are achievers and go on with the show.

    But all that has nothing to do with constructing a city once more in a bowl waiting for overflows. There is no guarantee that any system whatsoever could ward off floodwaters. We American planners always feel we have it safe and down pat. Sometimes we do. Then there are other times when we are proven to have imperfect plans.

    The obvious logic in this whole mess is to say forthrightly to one another that we must learn from this not to be foolhardy in putting up another metropolis in the very same location that could be vulnerable to more mayhem in a short time to come? In a long time to come? In some time to come? Whatever, itís not worth the gamble.

    Itís the same toss of the dice in California. It makes no sense to me to build a house on the side of a potential mudslide. People do it. They take pictures of their grand homes and send them all over the place. They brag on their chances. And then calamity hits.

    They go back and ask for the same mudslide spill all over again. I say that when they walk into the fan another time, they deserve every shredding they get. It's just not logical, and if Americans pride themselves on anything, it's that they are so downright logical. Not so.

    US House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) says the same thing. He told the Daily Herald in a Chicago suburb that "íit doesnít make sense to me. And itís a question that certainly we should ask.í" That answer was to the question whether or not New Orleans should be resurrected on the same spot.

    As reported by Bill Walsh of The Times-Picayuneís Washington Bureau, Hastertís remarks followed Congress cutting short its summer break in order to return to DC to tend to emergency business.

    As one can imagine, illogical pride rose to the occasion to counter Hastertís comments. Those in charge from Louisiana scolded Hastert for being so brash, so unfeeling, and so forth and so forth. Illogical pride has a way of getting just a bit too emotional about things important at times.

    "íWe help replace, we help relieve disaster,í Hastert said. ĎBut I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it. . .we ought to take a second look at that.í

    "Hastert questioned the wisdom of rebuilding a city below sea level that will continue to be in the path of powerful hurricanes."

    Now that makes sense.

    And when it comes to those in California falling off their cliffs, knowing full well that one of these days or nights the cliffs could give way, donít give them any moneys by which to build another monster house again on the slip side of existence.

    Copyright © 2005 by J. Grant Swank, Jr.

  3. #3
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Another interesting post:

    A Not-So-Swiftian Suggestion for New Orleans

    by David Tufte

    http://voluntaryxchange.typepad.com/voluntaryxchange/2005/08/a_swiftian_sugg.html

    Why not convert New Orleans into a National Park?

    I am being provocative, but very, very serious.

    We have a conjunction of two issues here: 1) the largest natural disaster and 2) the biggest example of the rules vs. discretion problem, in the history of the developed world.

    (For those not in the know, Kydland and Prescott won a Nobel Prize in 2004 for pointing out that it isn't very bright for the government to give people money to rebuild after a natural disaster because they will rebuild in the same spot and get clobbered again).

    I'm not going to argue that we shouldn't give people money to rebuild, but rather that there should be strings attached. Specifically, give them a bonus if they move elsewhere. It doesn't have to be far - Hammond, Ponchatoula, and Baton Rouge will all do OK in a Category 5 storm.

    It would be far cheaper to build in those areas, and it may be an easy thing to pull off if everyone is out of NOLA for a few months.

    Then take the remaining drier and higher areas of New Orleans and build the super-levee that has been on the table for the past 5 years around them. That proposal would ring the CBD, French Quarter and other areas of historic and tourist interest. Most of this stuff is old, and it built on the more desirable higher ground. It is the construction of the last 100 years that is the problem.

    Then there is the problem of the destroyed neighborhoods and the toxic gumbo swilling around them. This is an environmental hazard of unknowable long-term consequences. I am not a fan of eminent domain, nor am I phobic about environmental hazards, but this is far outside our past experience. I suggest using eminent domain extensively, bulldozing, burying and capping all the low lying areas of the city - just as you would a landfill.

    Over the top of this could be built new, low population density infrastructure.

    In particular, New Orleans has needed a new airport for decades. For years, the best proposal on the table has been to build an island out of fill in Lake Ponchartrain. This is much more practical now that Lake Ponchartrain has moved south. The current airport in Kenner locked in by (now wrecked) neighborhoods, and primarily serves tourists anyway. Rebuild it much closer, but outside, the super-levee.

    Then connect the new airport, the area inside the super-levee, and the now more heavily populated outlying areas with a bullet train. This could run along the current I-10 - which will need to be repaired - but which is already elevated above flood level for most of the 50 mile stretch from Laplace through greater New Orleans and into St. Tammany Parish. I'm not stupid enough to think that a bullet train is cost-effective for transportation, but if your don't put stops in low lying areas, people won't build houses there in the future.

    All the other destroyed and capped areas can be converted into other amenities, like golf courses, marinas, amusement parks and so on. Just don't let people build houses there again.

    This proposal has the virtue that most of what tourists come to New Orleans for is still intact - except for the homes of the people who service the tourists. So, tourism - which is the biggest industry in NOLA anyway - will survive. This would even be a good time to move the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and other major sporting events into New Orleans, where seemingly most of the fans want them to be anyway.

    The big potential criticism of this proposal - I'm told that Rush Limbaugh used this on air - is that the port of New Orleans is too important. This is a misnomer. As pointed out by The Quaker Economist, the Port of Louisiana - primarily located at the mouth of river is the 5th largest port in the world. Most of the shipping traffic already bypasses New Orleans proper.

    I suggest that the time has come to largely abandon this site as a population center. A little history lesson shows that this site was selected as the shortest point for portage between Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River. This was necessary because the 100 miles of winding river going down to the gulf was a difficult trip in the age of sail. This raison de etre is, of course, moribund.

    So, leave the history and the tourism and get the vast majority of the residences and businesses out of the bowl. Nostalgia is not a good enough reason to let people rebuild in this spot. And ... make Jean Lafitte National Park the Las Vegas or Disneyworld of the 21st century.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Here is a post from someone who has given the re-building a lot of thought:

    Dreaming A New New Orleans, Version 1

    Alan AtKisson



    The full measure of the catastrophe in The Big Difficult has yet to be taken; indeed, the catastrophe is still worsening.

    There will be, as soon as the city can be re-opened, many funerals. Mardi Gras -- should there even be one next year -- will undoubtedly have a special theme of mourning. I am in mourning already.

    As one who has at various phases of life called the New Orleans region both "home" and "client," I have a special love for the place that has sometimes expressed itself irrationally. Helping people escape from rationality has always been one of the city's unique talents. One does things both in New Orleans, and for New Orleans, that one would be unlikely to do in, or for, other places. The city inspires a freedom of spirit, which in turn creates a fierce loyalty.

    It is no wonder then that city leadership was already talking about rebuilding, even before the destruction was complete. Something like three-quarters of the city's residents are, after all, native-born. New Orleans is home, period, often over many generations. And those who are not native tend to quickly feel a similar sense of belonging there.

    So take it for granted that New Orleans will be rebuilt. If the economics look daunting, if the physical challenge seems staggering, if the news reports of the day speak of chaos and disaster, if the idea of rebuilding a city in a basin placed in between a huge lake and big river seems foolish, count on emotion and passion to overwhelm these counter-arguments. And the United States, as a nation, is not likely to allow a major city -- especially one so strategically placed -- to be abandoned.

    Massive resources will be mobilized, first to care for the victims, then to clean up ... then repair and rebuild. Where to begin with such a gargantuan task? How can it be done in such a way that something like this never happens again ... and in a way that helps lead the world toward a generally better future?

    What follows are very preliminary thoughts on principles for eventually creating a "New New Orleans," one that is more environmentally secure, more economically successful, and more socially healthy and equitable, while retaining the culture that made it world famous. As the news reports continue to create a picture of the city's horrible descent into hell, such an exercise feels a bit foolhardy; but there is so much dreaming to be done, to restore this great and wondrous city, that the dreaming must begin now.

    These thoughts build on the earlier work of a consortium of regional leaders, which I and my colleagues had the privilege of supporting over the last few years. The results of that work seem, in many ways, even more relevant and urgent now...

    Link to the full article:

    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003425.html

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Time for a Tough Question: Why Rebuild?

    By Klaus Jacob
    Tuesday, September 6, 2005; Page A25

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...090501034.html

    It is time to swim against the tide. The direction of public discourse in the wake of Katrina goes like this: First we save lives and provide some basic assistance to the victims. Then we clean up New Orleans. And then we rebuild the city. Most will rightly agree on the first two. But should we rebuild New Orleans, 10 feet below sea level, just so it can be wiped out again?

    Some say we can raise and strengthen the levees to fully protect the city. Here is some unpleasant truth: The higher the defenses, the deeper the floods that will inevitably follow. The current political climate is not conducive to having scientific arguments heard before political decisions are made. But not doing so leads to the kind of chaos we are seeing now.

    This is not a natural disaster. It is a social, political, human and -- to a lesser degree -- engineering disaster. To many experts, it is a disaster that was waiting to happen. In fact, Katrina is not even the worst-case scenario. Had the eye of the storm made landfall just west of the city (instead of to the east, as it did) the wind speeds and its associated coastal storm surge would have been higher in New Orleans (and lower in Gulfport, Miss.). The city would have flooded faster, and the loss of life would have been greater.
    What scientific facts do we need before making fateful political, social and economic decisions about New Orleans's future? Here are just two:

    First, all river deltas tend to subside as fresh sediment (supplied during floods) compacts and is transformed into rock. The Mississippi River delta is no exception. In the early to mid-20th century, the Army Corps of Engineers was charged with protecting New Orleans from recurring natural floods. At the same time, the Corps kept the river (and some related canals) along defined pathways. These well-intended defensive measures prevented the natural transport of fresh sediments into the geologically subsiding areas. The protected land and the growing city sank, some of it to the point that it is now 10 feet below sea level. Over time, some of the defenses were raised and strengthened to keep up with land subsidence and to protect against river floods and storm surges. But the defenses were never designed to safeguard the city against a direct hit by a Category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson scale) or a Category 4 hurricane making landfall just west of the city.

    Second, global sea levels have risen less than a foot in the past century, and will rise one to three feet by the end of this century. Yes, there is uncertainty. But there is no doubt in the scientific community that the rise in global sea levels will accelerate.

    What does this mean for New Orleans's future? Government officials and academic experts have said for years that in about 100 years, New Orleans may no longer exist. Period.

    It is time to face up to some geological realities and start a carefully planned deconstruction of New Orleans, assessing what can or needs to be preserved, or vertically raised and, if affordable, by how much. Some of New Orleans could be transformed into a "floating city" using platforms not unlike the oil platforms offshore, or, over the short term, into a city of boathouses, to allow floods to fill in the 'bowl' with fresh sediment.

    If realized, this "American Venice" would still need protection from the worst of storms. Restoration of mangroves and wetlands between the coast and the city would need to be carefully planned and executed. Much engineering talent would have to go into anchoring the floating assets to prevent chaos during storms. As for oil production, refining and transshipment facilities, buffer zones would have to be established to protect them from the direct onslaught of coastal storm surges.

    Many ancient coastal cities of great fame have disappeared or are now shells of their former grandeur. Parts of ancient Alexandria suffered from the subsidence of the Nile delta, and earthquakes and tsunamis toppled the city's famed lighthouse, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World."

    It is time that quantitative, science-based risk assessment became a cornerstone of urban and coastal land-use planning to prevent such disasters from happening again. Politicians and others must not make hollow promises for a future, safe New Orleans. Ten feet below sea level and sinking is not safe. It is time to constructively deconstruct, not destructively reconstruct.

    The writer, a geophysicist, is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He teaches and does research on disaster risk management.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    I think they should not rebuild.

    As sad as it is to see a place like this go by the wayside, it would be difficult to keep it up and running through what would be another diaster should another storm hit.

    Thing is, rebuilding a city is not the same as the original in the first place. As nice as you want to say it will be, it will not BE the original NO. It was removed from its origins a long time ago and, ironically, that removal made it both grow faster and die harder (as the article states about the marshlands and subsidance).

    I think, at the very least, if we do bring it back, that we should work to try to restore the natural pattern of things. Oyster farms be dammned. If these people want to keep the land they are on, it has got to be designed to take the spring floods without channeling them to where it is convenient.

    They also need to close off all but the vital shipping channels, or find a better way to get these ships around. This is not a quesiton of saving the boobie-footed Egret, but the entire town and surrounding areas.

    I am hoping they do things right, but I fear they will make the same mistakes in the name of charity/rememberabce.

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    Much of the Netherlands is underwater, and no one is calling for it to be demolished. The best ports are flood prone. It's the nature of the geology of an ideal harbor. Given the value of land in 2005, I think that it is still economically viable, doomsayers and all.


    September 6, 2005
    In Europe, High-Tech Flood Control, With Nature's Help

    By WILLIAM J. BROAD
    On a cold winter night in 1953, the Netherlands suffered a terrifying blow as old dikes and seawalls gave way during a violent storm.

    Flooding killed nearly 2,000 people and forced the evacuation of 70,000 others. Icy waters turned villages and farm districts into lakes dotted with dead cows.

    Ultimately, the waters destroyed more than 4,000 buildings.

    Afterward, the Dutch - realizing that the disaster could have been much worse, since half the country, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, lies below sea level - vowed never again.

    After all, as Tjalle de Haan, a Dutch public works official, put it in an interview last week, "Here, if something goes wrong, 10 million people can be threatened."

    So at a cost of some $8 billion over a quarter century, the nation erected a futuristic system of coastal defenses that is admired around the world today as one of the best barriers against the sea's fury - one that could withstand the kind of storm that happens only once in 10,000 years.

    The Dutch case is one of many in which low-lying cities and countries with long histories of flooding have turned science, technology and raw determination into ways of forestalling disaster.

    London has built floodgates on the Thames River. Venice is doing the same on the Adriatic.

    Japan is erecting superlevees. Even Bangladesh has built concrete shelters on stilts as emergency havens for flood victims.

    Experts in the United States say the foreign projects are worth studying for inspiration about how to rebuild New Orleans once the deadly waters of Hurricane Katrina recede into history.

    "They have something to teach us," said George Z. Voyiadjis, head of civil and environmental engineering at Louisiana State University. "We should capitalize on them for building the future here."

    Innovations are happening in the United States as well. California is experimenting with "smart" levees wired with nervous systems of electronic sensors that sound alarms if a weakening levee threatens to open a breach, giving crews time to make emergency repairs.

    "It's catching on," said William F. Kane, president of Kane GeoTech Inc., a company in Stockton, Calif., that wires levees and other large structures with failure sensors. "There's a lot of potential for this kind of thing."

    While scientists hail the power of technology to thwart destructive forces, they note that flood control is a job for nature at least as much as for engineers. Long before anyone built levees and floodgates, barrier islands were serving to block dangerous storm surges. Of course, those islands often fall victim to coastal development.

    "You'll never be able to control nature," said Rafael L. Bras, an environmental engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who consults on the Venetian project. "The best way is to understand how nature works and make it work in our favor."

    In humanity's long struggle against the sea, the Dutch experience in 1953 was a grim milestone. The North Sea flood produced the kind of havoc that became all too familiar on the Gulf Coast last week. When a crippled dike threatened to give way and let floodwaters spill into Rotterdam, a boat captain - like the brave little Dutch boy with the quick finger - steered his vessel into the breach, sinking his ship and saving the city.

    "We were all called upon to collect clothes and food for the disaster victims," recalled Jelle de Boer, a Dutch high school student at the time who is now an emeritus professor of geology at Wesleyan University. "Cows were swimming around. They'd stand when they could, shivering and dying. It was a terrible mess."

    The reaction was intense and manifold. Linking offshore islands with dams, seawalls and other structures, the Dutch erected a kind of forward defensive shield, drastically reducing the amount of vulnerable coastline. Mr. de Haan, director of the water branch of the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Institute of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, said the project had the effect of shortening the coast by more than 400 miles.

    For New Orleans, experts say, a similar forward defense would seal off Lake Pontchartrain from the Gulf of Mexico. That step would eliminate a major conduit by which hurricanes drive storm surges to the city's edge - or, as in the case of Katrina, through the barriers.

    The Dutch also increased the height of their dikes, which now loom as much as 40 feet above the churning sea. (In New Orleans, the tallest flood walls are about half that size.) The government also erected vast complexes of floodgates that close when the weather turns violent but remain open at other times, so saltwater can flow into estuaries, preserving their ecosystems and the livelihoods that depend on them.

    The Netherlands maintains large teams of inspectors and maintenance crews that safeguard the sprawling complex, which is known as Delta Works. The annual maintenance bill is about $500 million. "It's not cheap," Mr. de Haan said. "But it's not so much in relation to the gross national product. So it's a kind of insurance."

    The 1953 storm also pounded Britain. Along the Thames, flooding killed more than 300 people, ruined farmland and frightened Londoners, whose central city narrowly escaped disaster.

    The British responded with a plan to better regulate tidal surges sweeping up the Thames from the North Sea. Engineers designed an attractive barrier meant to minimize interference with the river's natural flow. It went into service in 1982 at Woolwich, about 10 miles east of central London.

    Normally, its semicircular gates lie flush to the riverbed in concrete supporting sills, creating no obstacle to river traffic. When the need arises, the gates pivot up, rising as high as a five-story building to block rising waters. The authorities have raised the Thames barrier more than 80 times.

    In Venice, the precipitating event was a 1966 flood that caused wide damage and economic loss. The upshot was an ambitious plan known as the Moses Project, named after the biblical parting of the Red Sea. Its 78 gargantuan gates would rest on the floor of the Adriatic Sea and rise when needed to block dangerous tidal surges.

    Long debate over the project's merits repeatedly delayed the start of construction until May 2003. Opponents claim that the $4.5 billion effort will prove ineffective while threatening to kill the fragile lagoon in which Venice sits. In theory, the gates are to be completed by 2010.

    "People fight doing things like this," said Dr. Bras, of M.I.T. "But when disaster strikes you realize how important it is to think ahead."

    Planners did just that in Bangladesh after a 1991 hurricane created huge storm surges that killed more than 130,000 people. World charities helped build hundreds of concrete shelters on stilts, which in recent storms have saved thousands of lives.

    In Japan, a continuous battle against flooding in dense urban areas has produced an effort to develop superlevees. Unlike the customary mounds of earth, sand and rock that hold back threatening waters, they are broad expanses of raised land meant to resist breaks and withstand overflows.

    The approach being tried in California relies on a technology known as time-domain reflectometry. It works on the same principle as radar: a pulse of energy fired down a coaxial cable bounces back when it reaches the end or a distortion, like a bend or crimp.

    Careful measurement of the echoes traveling back along the cable can disclose serious distortions and danger. Dr. Kane, of Kane GeoTech, has installed such a system in the Sacramento River delta, along a levee that is threatening to fail.

    Could such a system have saved New Orleans? "It would have given them more information," said Charles H. Dowding, a top expert on the technology at Northwestern University. "The failure of a levee would have been detected." But experts say it is still unclear whether such a warning would have been enough to prevent the catastrophic breaches.

    Dr. Bras says sensor technologies for detecting levee failure hold much promise. But he adds that less glamorous approaches, like regular maintenance, may be even more valuable, since prevention is always the best cure.

    "We have to learn that things have to be reviewed, revised, maintained and repaired as needed," he said. "To see a city like New Orleans suffer such devastation - some of that was preventable."

    He added that no matter how ambitious the coastal engineering, no matter how innovative and well maintained, the systems of levees, seawalls and floodgates were likely to suffer sporadic failures.

    "Nature will throw big things at us once in a while," he said. "There's always the possibility that nature will trump us."





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    Rebuilding New Orleans may be impractical, but to not rebuild it is unthinkable. It is akin to Italy abandoning Venice: a crime against culture and history that would result in political suicide for the man or woman who arbited the wanton decision. The federal government has spent billions carefully restoring and replenishing the Everglades; why can we not do the same with the Mississippi Delta?

    Many of the callous engineering mistakes of earlier times can be undone; if precautions can be made to save Venice, so can they help to save New Orleans.

    http://mb-soft.com/public2/venice.html

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    My sister lives in New Orleans - they evacuated prior to the storm and are okay, but homeless and jobless for now. They were eventually able to contact a friend who didn't leave the city, and were told that their house was not flooded nor was it looted. It had only minor roof damage. They live right in the heart of the city, just off Magazine Street near Louisiana Ave. Apparently this "80%" of New Orleans being submerged is a maximum estimate, and in fact most of Uptown and the French Quarter is still intact. Almost everything south of Claiborne is okay, which includes all of St. Charles, all of the Garden District (except for some fires), and all the way up to Audubon Park. Good news, to be sure. You never hear what's not destroyed on CNN.

    The French Quarter, most prominently, is a very historic area - it's not going anywhere - and many of the best parts of town are thankfully still intact. It could be rebuilt with few outsiders noticing the difference. What they need is shored up levees and better pumps, as they should have had before. They also need to let the surrounding wetlands regain and take a harder stance with the oil companies that have their way with destroying them. Sure it will cost a lot, but it's one of our most historic cities, one of our major ports, and home to many people whether they lost their home or not - it's worth it. It would have been a wise investment to pay for it all before, obviously, so now it needs to be done right once and for all.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    This is going to raise a whole hornet's nest of issues regarding property ownership, etc.

    I keep reading that almost any wooden houses that have been under water for one week are unsalvageable. That will mean a lot of houses coming down. Although probably not enough "salvaged" material there that can be used as fill to lift the level of the city. And I'm not an engineer so don't know how "fill" would work in someplace like NO, which I also read is slowly sinking (ala Venice).

    To sort this out will definitely take better brains than I can offer.

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    It's probably not practical to restore wetlands in New Orleans proper, but I would think that a more robust levee system would use land that is currently city (like the Japanese levees that are very wide for additional strenght). It seems more important to me to restore some of the barrier islands to wetlands - they absorb water from rain and storm surge and provide a physical barrier to wind as well. Bush Sr & Clinton protected some land that has recently been developed.

    The reason the poor neighborhoods were disproportionately affected is because they were built in the least flood-protected areas. The oldest neighborhoods were built in the highest ground intentionally - some knowledge we've lost to sprawl mentality. Areas should be left natural for practical reasons in addition to ecology and recreation.

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    ^ That, of course, would require forethought and planning...

    New Orleans to see Unprecedented Boom: US Labor Secretary

    Tue Sep 6,12:09 PM ET

    The flooded city of New Orleans will see an unparalleled building boom, US Labor Secretary Elaine Chao confidently predicted after ordering the creation of 25,000 temporary jobs for evacuees.

    She said that while Hurricane Katrina was devastating to the immediate region, it was too early to gauge the storm's impact on the US economy.

    But America's fabled jazz capital will bounce back, Chao insisted after some voiced doubts over whether the costs of rebuilding the flood-prone city would be worth it.

    "Well, certainly in the short term, the regional devastation is very significant. But as for the national impact, we are not quite sure yet," she told the CNBC network.

    "But what will happen -- and I have seen this in previous catastrophes and hurricanes -- there is a bright spot in that new jobs do get created," Chao said.

    "And in the rebuilding: New Orleans, for example, is going to see one of the biggest construction booms that they have ever seen.

    "So in the aftermath and the rebuilding of a devastated area, there will be a tremendous array of new jobs that are being created. And that is going to help the economic development."

    Dennis Hastert, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, sparked controversy last week by questioning the viability of spending billions to restore the Southern city, which lies largely below sea level.

    Hastert was forced to backtrack and President George W. Bush promised Friday that out of the ruins of the coastal city, celebrated for its historic French Quarter and the Mardi Gras festival, "is going to become that great city again".

    Chao on Monday signed a national emergency grant for more than 100 million dollars that will create 25,000 temporary jobs in the hurricane-hit zone, largely to assist in the clean-up and recovery effort.

    Evacuees not normally eligible for unemployment insurance can apply for disaster unemployment assistance, and training for new jobs will also be made available, she told CNBC.

    "Our great challenge at this time is to let people know that there is a source of income coming in and that there is, again, this tremendous array of government assistance that is available," she said.

    Chao said it was also too early to determine what the impact will be on national unemployment figures. The numbers depend on weekly surveys of households, many of which in the South have been forced out by Katrina.

    "So in the first two months, when the numbers come out, they may not be totally accurate," she said.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    This is going to raise a whole hornet's nest of issues regarding property ownership, etc.

    I keep reading that almost any wooden houses that have been under water for one week are unsalvageable. That will mean a lot of houses coming down. Although probably not enough "salvaged" material there that can be used as fill to lift the level of the city. And I'm not an engineer so don't know how "fill" would work in someplace like NO, which I also read is slowly sinking (ala Venice).

    To sort this out will definitely take better brains than I can offer.
    Me engineer!

    Landfill makes HORRIBLE building surfaces. ESPECIALLY ORGANIC!!!

    Example: Palisades mall, where differential settlement due to partial building over landfilled areas have caused slab cracking and a closing of its entire underground parking.

    "oops".

    As for the Netherlands and Venice, how old are those places? Thousands of years? We are seriously trying to compare a city in the US to a classic like Venice? I am sure all of those little wooden shacks by the river are absolutely irreplacable monuments to an era gone by...

    They need to focus on the small town that was and try to let the marshland come back in others. Restore NO to what it was, not what it was last month.

  14. #14

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    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? What about the jobs? You cannot have entire city employed in cleaning up jobs and construction jobs. I doubt tourists would be in a hurry to return. What industries survived and would provide employment?

    There is no point in rebuilding and then have people return and sit home on unemployment checks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    As for the Netherlands and Venice, how old are those places? Thousands of years? We are seriously trying to compare a city in the US to a classic like Venice? I am sure all of those little wooden shacks by the river are absolutely irreplacable monuments to an era gone by...
    "Wooden shacks"?!? Surely you don't speak of the antebellum mansions of the Garden District (the largest urban collection of such buildings in the country), the lovely Spanish-inspired galleries of the French Quarter, or the venerable St. Louis Cathedral ó which being built in 1794, need I remind you, is older than the Arc de Triomph, the Houses of Parliament, and the current Campanile of Saint Mark's?

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