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Rebuilding New Orleans With Science

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the piece-by-piece dept.

News 564

EccentricAnomaly writes "The New York Times has a discussion of flood control methods in use in Holland, England, and Bangladesh that could be used in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Of particular interest is the $8 billion Delta Works built by the Netherlands in response to the North Sea flood of 1953, which almost destroyed the city of Rotterdam, but for a heroic captain who plugged a breach in a dike with his ship." From the article: "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."

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564 comments

Learn from nature (2, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13492993)

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.

Is it time to learn from the nature and build some artificial barrier islands, rather than further changing the face of the earth?

Re:Learn from nature (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493053)

Did you read the next sentence?

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.

That kind of destroys the entire point of a break island. :-)

Gilligan dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493221)

I just heard on talk radio that Gilligan died today from poisoned pineapples. Even if you hated Gilligan, there was no denying his red shirt. Who will buttfuck the Skipper now?

Re:Learn from nature (1)

MisterMurphy (899535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493056)

With the formatting in Parent, I can't tell whether it is a response to the article or a complete quote. Regardless, I don't see how constructing an artificial island is any different from constructing a levee, at least in the sense of "changing the face of the eart".

Re:Learn from nature (4, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493123)

Is it time to learn from the nature and build some artificial barrier islands, rather than further changing the face of the earth?

Firstly how is building artificial islands not "hanging the face of the earth", secondly, learning from us here in Europe isn't a bad thing, building flood gates and better costal defence like those in london and the Netherlands is worth it in the long run. From TFA:
"[the Netherlands] 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."

it cost them $8bn, but it's lased over 50 years and counting, and they havn't suffered any New Orleans type situation. Pay the money now to invest in the future of your country. Generations will thank you for it

Re:Learn from nature (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493139)

The best protection the New Orleans area used to have against storm surges was its wetlands *and* its barrier islands. As the city has expanded, not only has it increased the volume and depth of its below-sea-level "bowl", but it has at the same time cut down its buffer zone of places that the water can safely flood into in the immediate area. Thus, not only do you have a larger area to protect, but more buildup of the surge as it hits the coast near you. Around New Orleans, a single square mile of wetlands restoration would have reduced the storm surge by about a foot.

Of course, the bowl problem itself is a side effect of development; almost all cities sink, but building on delta land you sink much faster. The river would normally lay the area over with sediment, but it's diverted ,dumping the sediment out into the gulf instead. Deposited in deeper water, it doesn't replace the eroding barrier islands as well, thus allowing the surge to approach unhindered.

Wetlands and delta conservation has long been a favorite target of dittoheads and other conservative groups, who have viewed it as a liberal waste of money and barrier to economic development. I wonder if they'll start to change their tune after this.

Should've listen to the Native Americans (3, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493279)

The Native American tribes told the French not to build there because they've been there enough to know...but did anyone listen?... of course not.

I understand that it was the intersection of trade routes back in the day, but what is there today? I would move away from that place, I am sure so will other people. There still will be a "New Orleans" but from now on it will be known as the "Flooded New Orleans." I don't think it will ever recover completely...

New Orleans was on the top of my list of places to visit in the next couple of years, but not anymore, I think I'll wait 10 years or so.

Re:Learn from nature (2, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493333)

Wetlands and delta conservation has long been a favorite target of dittoheads and other conservative groups, who have viewed it as a liberal waste of money and barrier to economic development. I wonder if they'll start to change their tune after this.

I'm going to bet the answer is no, they won't learn.

Sigh.

Re:Learn from nature (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493157)

"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. "

Levees and floodgates, as used in the US, do not generally mitigate the damage caused by storm surges -- they are used to block flooding from inland sources like rivers.

"...some artificial barrier islands, rather than further changing the face of the earth"

Artificial barrier islands = changing the face of the earth

Barrier islands migrate into the land over time. They are really just giant versions of the sand ripples you'll see at the edge of almost any (near still) body of water. If we really want our coastlines to operate in a natural fashion, we've got to allow barrier islands to form, move to land, and respawn.

The real problem with NOLA is that the Mississippi River delta is not allowed to regenerate itself by silt deposition. Most conservationists would argue that less flood control is necessary, not more.

Monorail (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493005)

n/t

great, but.... (0, Troll)

jshaped (899227) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493018)

science is great, but it won't help bring back 100+ y/o landmarks that have been washed away.
the memories, the structures, the people...

unless science built a Time Machine!!!!

all they needed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493019)

was someone to stick their finger in the dyke...

Re:all they needed (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493061)

was someone to stick their finger in the dyke...

I think they Dutch Boy found better pay selling paints and posing for Meiji Thrifty Acres...

Really, if you've seen the dykes they have in the netherlands it's a wonder a boat actually managed the job. Dutch engineering firms rule big jobs.

Re:all they needed (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493148)

I've heard of Meijer Thrify Acres, which is a large warehouse-type supermarket/general store around the Great Lakes region. But I can only imagine that Meiji Thrifty Acres is some kind of Japanese knock-off.

Re:all they needed (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493313)

I've heard of Meijer Thrify Acres, which is a large warehouse-type supermarket/general store around the Great Lakes region. But I can only imagine that Meiji Thrifty Acres is some kind of Japanese knock-off.

I meant Meijer, but typed Meiji (Emperor of Japan, 1857-1912) by force of habit.

"Thrifty" wore wooden shoes (clogs) and had a page-boy hair cut. I don't think you see him associated with the retailing giant anymore. Probably would have been available to stick his finger in the levee in New Orleans, though as I recall there were two breaches separated by some distance.

Interesting that Chicago, near Lake Michigan, used to flood and if you drive around a bit you can find entrances to the under city. IIRC elevators in many of the buildings close to Lakeshore Drive reflect this.

after I submitted this... (4, Interesting)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493027)

I noticed another NYT story on lost cities, which would be interesting to the 'abandon New Orleans' camp:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/06/science/06lost.h tml [nytimes.com]

Re:after I submitted this... (0, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493099)

I noticed another NYT story on lost cities, which would be interesting to the 'abandon New Orleans' camp:

Somewhere out there there's an article about Iran offering 20 million barrels of petroleum to help out the energy hungry americans. Remember when Saddam Hussein offered assistance to the US after 9/11?

Oh, and Bob Denver has died. Gilligan has finally been delivered.

Re:after I submitted this... (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493118)

Yeah, but we'd be better off to start looking into Easter Island and why they got wiped off the face of the planet. We're following their footsteps so close ly it's not funny.

Re:after I submitted this... (4, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493237)

For what it's worth, 50 years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers had to do quite a bit of work [wikipedia.org] to keep the Mississippi River flowing past New Orleans. If they would have let Mississippi move to the west, New Orleans would have dwindled economically, and shipping would have moved over to the new branch of the Mississippi. I don't know if New New Orleans would have been terribly much safer. It would still probably be stuck in a bayou, though it at least wouldn't have been stuck between the river and Lake Ponchartrain.

WARNING: Ignore Nature at Your Peril (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493291)

One of the reasons that flooding in New Orleans was so severe is that industry and government colluded to destroy most of the marshlands [economist.com] that acted as a natural barrier to prevent flooding in the low-lying areas.

Without this barrier, the waters just poured right into New Orleans, killing tens of thousands of people.

For years, ecologists and environmentalists have warned us to preserve nature; otherwise, we will be hurt. Unfortunately, their warnings fell on the deaf ears of politicians in the pockets of big business.

Now, we are screwing up the oceans. The ecologists and environmentalists are warning us about overpopulation. Teaming populutions tend to produce a huge volumes of trash, pollutants (e.g. dioxin), and waste. The oceans have become a huge garbage can. Meanwhile 3 billion people in Asia are eating fish into extinction.

That little salamander, the spotty owl, and the plankton in the sea that you are saving might one day save your life. When they are extinct, you just might be next.

I know... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493032)

Fill everything up with Jello Powder!

Doing what is right (2, Insightful)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493033)

We should take a lesson from this. Expanionism can be bad. Has anyone noticed the tred of increaingly powerful storms over the last 50 years? Global warming is one possible factor. I am not saying it caused Katrina, but warmer waters may have contibuted.

Re:Doing what is right (1)

caino59 (313096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493079)

yea, and so did the typical, natural trend of the warming and cooling of the ocean currents...

Re:Doing what is right (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493107)

Yes, of course. We call that the "hurricane season".

Re:Doing what is right (1)

realityfighter (811522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493264)

No, he's right. There is a "cycle" of water surface temperatures that occurs over 50 years or so. Apparently it's called the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) and you can read a bit about it here. [wikipedia.org] Of course, if we accept that the AMO can cause a cyclical rise and fall in the occurrence of hurricanes, we have to accept that global warming could also be a factor, since they affect the same variable in the formation of the storm.

Re:Doing what is right (1)

Titus B. Otch (912256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493360)

Compare and Contrast:

Netherlands - 23 feet below sea level at it's lowest point.

New Orleans - 7 feet , but it's bordered by the mighty Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain on two sides.

* Hurricanes flood the entire lower Mississippi delta, spilling forth rapidly from other states into New Orleans >> (much much greater) than a steady upsurge from the Northsee, a two wave tsunami, or whatever...

Sol'n?

Spend mucho billions of dollars on remaking the New Orleans landscape into a dyke haven, taking several years? Or, spend several paultry million on better evacuation plans - through transportation infrastructure, awareness, etc.?

The hurricane will roll over and destroy any property anyhow, protected by dykes or otherwise. So, it's the people (not the property) which should be the focus here...

Re:Doing what is right (1)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493162)

While I understand what you are saying the logic of your statement is as follows:

1. I have observed X.
2. X can be caused by Y.
3. Z can be Bad.

X = Storms Increasing
Y = Global Warming
Z = Expansion.

To complete your logial statement you need to do the following: Tie Z into X a relationship with to Y. And provide support for each point.

But one point that should be reviewed is that experts have observed that storms in this region of the world go on 25 - 30 year cycles caused by a stabilzation of the gulf stream coming in from Africia. They are unwilling to make the second step and state a causal relationship between Global Warming and the normal storm cycle.

Re:Doing what is right (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493172)

We should take a lesson from this. Expanionism can be bad. Has anyone noticed the tred of increaingly powerful storms over the last 50 years? Global warming is one possible factor. I am not saying it caused Katrina, but warmer waters may have contibuted.


Of course warmer waters contributed. The question is "did we somehow make them warmer" and the answer is, "if we did, it was by an amout too small to measure."

"Trend" is much, much too strong a word to use in conjunction with weather over the past 50 years. "Noise" is a more accurate way to describe how observed weather has changed over the course of human history.

Poor planning is 100% responsible for the loss of life and property due to Hurricane Katrina. It wasn't some unforseeable accident, or America's come-uppance for not signing on to the Kyoto Economic Suicide Pact. It was the result of building a bunch of shit in a place where several hurricanes will strike within a single person's lifetime, and having no Plan B when they do.

Re:Doing what is right (1)

sdirrim (909976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493269)

Update: Expansion is mentioned in the article as why we have no more breaker islands, and there is a trend of increasingly powerful storms. Sorry if the rest made no sense.

Re:Doing what is right (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493373)

No, I haven't noticed the trend of increasingly powerful storms. There doesn't appear to be any clear evidence that is happening. I HAVE noticed the trend of increasingly large human populations, expanding to ever more areas of undeveloped land, and increasing the chances that a disaster will happen in a populated area.

Got To Go There (5, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493040)

...a heroic captain who plugged a breach in a dike with his ship.
 
Sounds like the trashy novels my wife reads. Was his ship full of sea men?

Re:Got To Go There (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493143)

The story is really about Two Brothers [epinions.com]

Re:Got To Go There (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493174)

Seems like an urban legend to me, but I could be wrong. What's the chances that a ship-shaped hole opened in the dike, and that the captain happened along with just the right shape of ship to plug it? It's also a bit like that old story about the little boy who put his finger in the lesbian, thereby somehow preventing a flood. I don't get it, but they say it happened.

Of course they will use science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493049)

Why, that should be obvious to even the most dimwitted individual who holds an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology.

New technology (1)

RUFFyamahaRYDER (887557) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493057)

People of New Orleans are not going to forget this and many of them are probably going to be terrified of this happening again. Many have already said they're never going back. For those that do, they will want some security.

I'm sure they will be looking at this technology, and maybe even come up with their own before it's all rebuilt. I see this being like rebuilding the World Trade Center buildings - where we will have many ways to fix the levee system or create a entirely new system.

There's no point rebuilding... (2, Insightful)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493065)

Until you commit to proper management of the New Orleans area. The land under the whole area will continue to subside until this is addressed.

I've found this somewhere on the net, is it true? (1, Informative)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493066)

It's about how the government ignored the disaster in Orlean. Is it all true?

Subject: Re: [Chapter-delegates] Condolences from Indonesia
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 10:07:30 -0400
From: Gene Gaines
To: Irwan Effendi

On Sunday, September 4, 2005, 9:49:03 AM, Irwan wrote:

> To the people of the United States

> We share your loss and grieve over the disaster in New Orleans.
> As it is still fresh in our memory what happened earlier in Aceh, we
> understand what kind of sadness and sorrow you are going through, therefore
> if there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to let us
> know.
> We suggest that all of us must work to find preventive solutions so that in
> the future, tragedies such as these can be avoided.

> On behalf of Indonesian members

> Irwan Effendi - secretary

Irwan,

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

Much appreciated.

I have thought long and hard about my statement below, but these
things need to be said. Just as many people in the U.S. were
interested in what really happened in Aceh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka,
etc. with the tsunami, I believe many people in other countries
are interested in what is happening with our disaster along the
U.S. Gulf Coast. What is happening in New Orleans screams out to
exposed for all to see.

A personal note. I am now living near Washington DC, but was
born and spent much of my early life in New Orleans. My father
is buried in New Orleans. So many of my boyhood friends have old
family homes along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama coast
lines. All gone now.

Many people here will be working to assist the disaster victims.

But it must be stated that this hurricane caused two disasters.
Two disasters, very different, and must be dealt with in very
different ways. This is painful and embarrassing, but some facts
about the two disasters need to be said.

    1) The hurricane missed New Orleans, passing just to the east,
          with strength to inflict significant but not catastrophic
          damage in the city. It was the breaks in the levees around
          New Orleans that caused the great tragedy there. Could the
          levee breaks and subsequent flooding have been prevented?
          Yes. But soon after the present Bush administration took
          power, ongoing work on the levees, already in progress, was
          stopped by cutting the funding. Several new projects,
          critical to maintaining the integrity of the levees, were
          halted. Local officials, Louisiana elected officials to our
          national Congress, all raised their voices in protest of
          these cuts. In speech after speech and newspaper article
          after article, strong voices were raised, warning that the
          levee maintenance work was critical, and would open the city
          to flooding by a hurricane if not done. The levee work was
          not restarted. Why? Statements were made as to why the funds
          were needed elsewhere: (a) the coming war in Iraq (big U.S.
          firms can collect US$30,000 per month per employee, charge
          US$1,000 a day to feed soldiers) and (b) tax cuts for the
          most wealthy Americans.

          I was born in Charity Hospital in New Orleans, an excellent
          hospital staffed by two universities. My family has been
          treated there for many generations. As the business of
          health care in the United States has been privatized and
          hospitals turned into profit-making large corporations,
          Charity Hospital has become essentially a hospital for the
          poor, for those who do not have medical insurance. (If I
          recall correctly) it is the oldest hospital in the U.S., a
          huge skyscraper building on one of the major streets. At
          any time after the hurricane, large Army trucks could drive
          to the hospital. But none were sent. For five days after
          the hurricane, the hospital and many hundreds of medical
          staff and critically-ill patients were abandoned, forgotten.
          Generators failed, out of gas or flooded. Of course,
          hospital emergency generators are expected to last only for
          a limited time, until help arrives. But no help was sent to
          the hospital. No power, no lights, no ventilation, no air
          conditioning, no water, no toilet or ways of disposing of
          waste. No tests could be run on dying patients, electric
          breathing and pumping machines had to be operated by hand,
          day-after-day. Food, water, medicines ran out and had to
          be apportioned among the most ill patients. Nurses and
          doctors went without food or water for days, working through
          the nights, saving water for patients, giving themselves
          saline intravenous injections in place of food and water.
          There are thousands of suitable military trucks are within
          several hours drive of New Orleans. Many were loaded with
          water, food, emergency supplies, but were withheld and not
          sent to the city. I have been told by one emergency
          worker that there was some concern that Federal managers
          might be criticized if their trucks were damaged by water
          or lost, after one convoy of trucks were sent to a flooded
          parking areas and reportedly were flooded.

          Doctors in Charity Hospital, using cell phones as long as
          they lasted, made hundreds of phones calls for help -- to
          Federal officials, to other hospitals, to news sources --
          describing the horrific conditions and begging for help. It
          is my understanding that no serious effort was made to reach
          the hospital, or to at least air-drop water, food, medical
          supplies. No help went to Charity Hospital for FIVE DAYS
          after the hurricane. FIVE DAYS.

          News people have driven into the city with satellite TV
          transmission equipment, looked around, sent out live
          reports, and driven out again. But no help went to Charity
          Hospital. This failure to provide help was repeated over and
          over again in the city. Today, more than seven days after
          the hurricane winds were over, significant numbers of people
          are still trapped in their apartments, or the roofs or
          attics of their small houses, without any food or water
          other then what was at hand. Still trapped.

          Literally many hundreds of people skilled in disaster and
          flood rescue, offering boats, busses, planes, even trains,
          have been turned away from the New Orleans area because of
          red tape. Just one example, my local Loudoun County police
          department received a frantic call for help from the head of
          police in an area near New Orleans -- an area where people
          were dying in demolished buildings, corpses were laying
          unattended, thousands of people were without water or food.
          Power was out and phones were down, but the official calling
          for help was able to get through on a cell phone, his call
          "Please, please, we are desperate for help, can you send
          your people." My local police head (1,500 miles from New
          Orleans) went into emergency mode, assembled a large team of
          his officers, vehicles, food and water, tents and supplies
          so his people could be self-sustaining, and promised the
          people calling for help that his men were on the way. After
          driving hundreds of miles, they were stopped and told to go
          back home -- because the local police head asking for help,
          in the midst of death and devastation, had not gone through
          the proper channels. It is now 7 days after the hurricane,
          and my local officials still have not received permission
          for their police officers to begin travel to Louisiana.

          To summarize, the flood in New Orleans is the result of man
          -- four years ago stopping maintenance work on protective
          levees (similar to the Dutch dike system) needed to protect
          the city, then the U.S. Federal government failing to plan
          for such a disaster (For example, providing at least some
          emergency disaster communications. There are none.) then the
          Federal officials stepping in to "take control" and actually
          preventing local officials, who know well what to do, from
          taking needed action.

          Are my statements accurate? While people are dying, having
          waited more than a week for rescue, and while there are
          corpses all over this American city rotting in the hot sun,
          equipment is being diverted from rescue work to create
          "photo opportunity" scenes for the touring President of the
          United States.

          I can take you to a small town where a school building was
          used to house people rescued from New Orleans, crowded
          together with no electricity, no water, no toilet
          facilities, no food, no ventilation, no communication to
          their loved ones, desperate and with some seriously ill.
          This school building is across the street from an Air Force
          base where troops were stationed, playing basketball and
          lounging in the sun -- with food, water, medical facilities.
          But the troops were not permitted to leave their base to
          help the people in desperate need, and the victims were not
          permitted to enter the Air Force Base.

          As upsetting as the above statements are, they are true, and
          need to be said. For shame. For shame.

          Remember, it was NOT wind damage that took New Orleans, that
          destroyed the city. Yes, there was a hurricane. The city has
          survived such hurricanes many times before -- it was the
          collapse of two levees that happened a day after the winds
          subsided. Is this high water that collapsed the levees an
          unusual event for New Orleans? Think about it. The
          Mississippi River rises and floods in the Spring of almost
          every year. Floods and threats to the levee system are not
          new, and not unusual. New Orleans knows how to deal with
          high water threats. But not if the Federal government both
          (a) stops work on maintaining the levees, and (b) ties the
          hands of local officials for rescue efforts.

    2) The hurricane disaster along the Gulf coastline to the east
          of New Orleans is a different situation. This was truly an
          event of nature, the damage done by the hurricane and mostly
          by the wall of water pushed on shore by the winds, what is
          called a storm surge. I have lived through hurricanes on
          the Gulf Coast, there can be devastating damage from winds,
          but the huge wall of water that swept through is unique.
          The devastation is terrible, many lives were lost, but I see
          this as an act of nature, not an act of inhuman greed on the
          part of man.

My apologies for the above, but it needs to be said.

It also must be said that many, many good people are working
night and day on rescue efforts in New Orleans and along the
Gulf Coast. They need to be applauded.

I also must say that the several hundred thousand black and poor
people in New Orleans are among the kindest, most moral people
in the world. They will stop their activities to help others,
they willingly share their food and money with others in need.
They are not disposable, and they are not garbage. To see them
treated in this fashion offends me deeply.

I expect that some good Americans will wish to protest that I
should not embarrass my county in such fashion, that the ISOC
list is not the place for this, or perhaps wish to say that
this did not happen. If you feel I am wrong, I would like to
hear from you.

Same here. (1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493127)

I found this on the net. Is it true????

George W. finally gets it -- in more ways than one. The tardy president was back on the Gulf Coast yesterday, bucking up the spirits of the damned and stiffening the resolve of the slackers.

  He's getting it as well from his critics, many of whom can't believe their great good luck, that a hurricane, of all things, finally gives them the opening they've been waiting for to heap calumny and scorn on him for something that might get a little traction. Cindy Sheehan is yesterday's news; she couldn't attract a camera crew this morning if she stripped down to her step-ins for a march on Prairie Chapel Ranch.

        The vultures of the venomous left are attacking on two fronts, first that the president didn't do what the incompetent mayor of New Orleans and the pouty governor of Louisiana should have done, and didn't, in the early hours after Katrina loosed the deluge on the city that care and good judgment forgot. Ray Nagin, the mayor, ordered a "mandatory" evacuation a day late, but kept the city's 2,000 school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water. Then the governor, Kathleen Blanco, resisted early pleas to declare martial law, and her dithering opened the way for looters, rapists and killers to make New Orleans an unholy hell. Gov. Haley Barbour did not hesitate in neighboring Mississippi, and looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields.

        The drumbeat of partisan ingratitude continues even after the president flooded the city with National Guardsmen from a dozen states, paratroopers from Fort Bragg and Marines from the Atlantic and the Pacific. The flutter and chatter of the helicopters above the ghostly abandoned city, some of them from as far away as Singapore and averaging 240 missions a day, is eerily reminiscent of the last days of Saigon. Nevertheless, Sen. Mary Landrieu, who seems to think she's cute when she's mad, even threatened on national television to punch out the president -- a felony, by the way, even as a threat. Mayor Nagin, who you might think would be looking for a place to hide, and Gov. Blanco, nursing a bigtime snit, can't find the right word of thanks to a nation pouring out its heart and emptying its pockets. Maybe the senator should consider punching out the governor, only a misdemeanor.

        The race hustlers waited for three days to inflame a tense situation, but then set to work with their usual dedication. The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, our self-appointed twin ambassadors of ill will, made the scene as soon as they could, taking up the coded cry that Katrina was the work of white folks, that a shortage of white looters and snipers made looting and sniping look like black crime, that calling the refugees "refugees" was an act of linguistic racism. A "civil rights activist" on Arianna Huffington's celebrity blog even floated the rumor that the starving folks abandoned in New Orleans had been forced to eat their dead -- after only four days. New Orleans has a reputation for its unusual cuisine, but this tale was so tall that nobody paid it much attention. Neither did anyone tell the tale-bearer to put a dirty sock in it.

        Condi Rice went to the scene to say what everyone can see for himself, that no one but the race hustlers imagine Americans of any hue attaching strings to the humanitarian aid pouring into the broken and bruised cities of the Gulf. Most of the suffering faces in the flickering television images are black, true enough, and most of the helping hands are white.

          Black and white churches of all denominations across a wide swath of the South stretching from Texas across Arkansas and Louisiana into Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia turned their Sunday schools into kitchens and dormitories. In Memphis, Junior Leaguers turned out for baby-sitting duty at the city's largest, most fashionable and nearly all white Baptist church, cradling tiny black infants in compassionate arms so their mothers could finally sleep. The owner of a honky-tonk showed up to ask whether the church would "accept money from a bar." A pastor took $1,400, some of it in quarters, dimes and nickels, with grateful thanks and a promise to see that it is spent wisely on the deserving -- most of whom are black.

        The first polls, no surprise, show the libels are not working. A Washington Post-ABC survey found that the president is not seen as the villain the nutcake left is trying to make him out to be. Americans, skeptical as ever, are believing their own eyes.

Re:I've found this somewhere on the net, is it tru (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493159)

Troll

Fault is historical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493234)

My understanding is that the levees weren't built for this kind of hurricane. That they could have been overcome anytime in the past decade with smaller surges than they suffered with this storm.
(See links in earlier /. stories.)

So, the fact that there have been so many people in New Orleans for centuries may be a symbol of laziness and short-sightedness.

The fact that the levees weren't designed for such a huge storm may mean the same thing, or something else.

The fact that residents of Louisiana and New Orleans felt it was just to require ME (who have never lived in any state bordering the Gulf of Mexico, or the Mississippi) to help pay for their levees and pumps is probably a symbol of greed and selfishness.

It is likely that I will be required to help pay for reconstruction of the city in the same spot. What does that symbolize?

I will donate money (and if I can see how, time too) of my own free will, to help those that are suffering from this tragedy. But it will not be right when my money is TAKEN from me to help them.

Re:Fault is historical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493382)

moron, i see only 1 person who is greedy here.
you pay for their flood protection, they pay for my quake protection (or the occasional rebuild), and I pay for your terror retaliation.

that is how a country works. Otherwise, go live on a island in the pacific and be happy.

Surviving the flood (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493067)

OK, I got the male and female pink unicorns on the boat. Tell those giraffe herders to hurry up! The water's rising!

Can we refuse? (1, Insightful)

rtkluttz (244325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493073)

I wish there was a way to refuse to allow any of the tax dollars a person pays in to be used for something so stupid.

Why rebuild it. It WILL happen again. Spend the money to relocate the people and I would happily watch my tax money being spent.

Re:Can we refuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493203)

Yes. Also stop building quake-resistant buildings in LA, instead, evacuate the whole terminator-state to utah.

Re:Can we refuse? (1)

Leon da Costa (225027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493241)

Why rebuild it. It WILL happen again. Spend the money to relocate the people and I would happily watch my tax money being spent.

My God! We'd better start relocating all of The Netherlands, quickly!

Me too! The war in EyeRack would have qualified. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493265)

Yeah, That's $1000 per man, woman, and child living in this country that got wasted over there. And climbing.

I'd have much rather spent a _fraction_ of that money shoring up New Orleans levees, even though I don't live there and have never visited. And with the money left over I could have been not watching this disaster on a nice 42" plasma.

Re:Can we refuse? (2, Insightful)

opiespank (162883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493393)

Why rebuild it?

How can you say that. New Orleans is not a town that can be forgotten. It is a working port town, on the Mississippi river and Gulf that is full of history. All kinds of US resources come though and to New Orleans.

Would you say the same thing if San Francisco, CA had been ravaged by a earthquake. Why build it back up, it WILL happen again. You build back to learn from your mistakes. In the case of New Orleans, too many resources come though and to that city to just forget about it.

Prophylactic measures (4, Insightful)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493076)

You could never get that kind of money allocated towards a protective non-millitary venture, not in the US.

At least, not until something happens. Now that we've had our distaster, and once we've counted the casualty list, I'm sure congress will be more willing to talk dollars.

Then again, it's easier to allocate massive funding to protect your entire country from flooding (ie Holland, etc), than it is to allocate it to protect one relatively poor area. And admit it, that is one of the poorest areas of this country, and without more electoral votes they don't stand a chance.

Re:Prophylactic measures (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493198)

Don't be so sure they don't have the votes. I live in NY, but I have family that until recently (they fled ahead of time) lived pretty close to New Orleans.

So you've got residents and their families, and even a lot of people who don't live there and don't have relatives still feel sympathy for what's happened in the area. There's quite a bit of leverage to get things done.

Re:Prophylactic measures (1)

corngrower (738661) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493384)

Protecting the city of New Orleans from flooding was the responsibility of the city and state, not the federal government. It's (the corps of engineers) responsibility was to maintain a shipping channel for barges on the Mississippi. And the levees were built for the shipping channel.

New Orleans failed its residents by not building their own levee system (or coordinating with the corps of engineering). The city's system should be built adequate to protect the city from flooding in the event of a major hurricane. New Orleans also failed its residents by not having in place an adequate plan for handling the emergency caused by flooding of the city. They needed to get more of their own residents involved when planning for this situation. They needed to be better prepared to handle a situation which was reasonably expected to occur at some time.

Congress wouldn't fund enhancments of the levees in New Orleans because these fund had been mishandled in the past. (i.e. corruption). They had good reason to believe that funds they might provide for such reasons would be ill used. Lack of technology was not why an adequate levee system was not in place. Funding was.

Why spend all that $$? (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493082)

(1) I'm not so sure we want to be taking flood control advice from Bangladesh.

(2) I'm not sure that attempting to control nature is the best route here. Sure, there are significant historical and cultural aspects of NOLA that we don't want to lose, but wouldn't it be cheaper (and safer) to move them to a different location?

Flood plains, barrier islands, river paths: all of these are not static features. We have an abundance of land (as opposed to some of the examples cited). If we rebuild NOLA in the same location, aren't we just pissing into the wind?

Re:Why spend all that $$? (2, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493281)

(1) I'm not so sure we want to be taking flood control advice from Bangladesh.

Based on what I've been seeing on CNN the last few days, I honestly can't see why not.

(2) I'm not sure that attempting to control nature is the best route here. Sure, there are significant historical and cultural aspects of NOLA that we don't want to lose, but wouldn't it be cheaper (and safer) to move them to a different location?

As the article mentions, half of Holland is below sea level - obviously they don't have the option of relocating, but they prove that adequate flood defences can be built. The cost really isn't that big, a tiny fraction of what Bush is spending in Iraq would provide adequate flood defences for the area. Seems to me like a perfectly reasonable way to spend money, compared to some things I could mention.

Re:Why spend all that $$? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493303)

Who cares about the cultural aspects of New Orleans? It is the US's largest port for a reason. Until teleportation becomes a viable technology or the Midwest becomes a desert there's going to be a city there. The fact that its culturally viabrant and has maintained much of historical character is just a bonus.

Absolutely Stupid to Rebuild (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493084)

It is absolutely, utterly, and totally stupid to rebuild New Orleans.

The only city that exist below sea level is Atlantis... :}

There are many reasons not to rebuild New Orleans, but a few that easily come to mind are:

1. It doesn't make sense. There is plenty of space for cities elsewhere (and plenty of other cities). If a port needs to be there, fine, but a city that size definitely does not.

2. It's very, very expensive. Why go to all the expense to rebuild and upgrade the dikes? It isn't worth it.

3. It's dangerous. Nature will find a way to destroy whatever dikes are put there, and if nature doesn't, the terrorists now have a blueprint for destruction in New Orleans.

Truck bomb + lake = dike breache = mass death and destruction.

4. The unique cultural aspects of New Orleans can just as easily be rebuilt somewhere else as there. Much of what was unique about New Orleans is completely gone anyway.

Just my $.02

Re:Absolutely Stupid to Rebuild (2, Funny)

wed128 (722152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493282)

If we don't rebuild, Katrina wins!

Re:Absolutely Stupid to Rebuild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493379)

Dude,

Katrina won.

Re:Absolutely Stupid to Rebuild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493322)

Where will the people live?

Hypocracy of the NYT (3, Informative)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493087)

It is interesting that the NYT is now dispensing advice on how to fix flood control problems in New Orleans when they have a long record [foxnews.com] of recommending against improvements. They will argue all sides of an issue if it suits their political agenda, but they have no credibility.

Re:Hypocracy of the NYT (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493326)

Definition of ironic: using a Fox News article to point out hypocracy.

Who knew NYT had so much power in Congress. Fox News is overflowing with credibility.

One difference... (5, Insightful)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493089)

New Orleans sits on hundreds of feet of muck (about 600 ft) and lacks access to the bedrock. Combined this with the channelization of the Mississippi and the levees, the city will sink if water is continuously pumped out. Ultimately, if we do not address the issue that the above have caused the wetlands to decrease, New Orleans will be a coastal city that sits below sea level in 2040. Best solution: rebuild on higher groud. Moral of the story: man can attempt to thwart mother nature, but like all parents, punishment may be severe.

More interesting will be to see who lives there (0, Flamebait)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493105)

The technical stuff is interesting, but not the most interesting thing about how the city will get reconstructed. It is a sideshow.

New Orleans is the only major city now with a miniscule number of blacks. They've been flooded out. How the city gets redeveloped could have major implications. I can imagine some real estate devlopers would like to turn it into a Vegas-on-the-Gulf with history (French Quarter). A good way to make that a "success" would be to condemn the black neighborhoods and put in parks and clubs.

It would be sort of like what happened in midtown Manhattan under Guiliani: force out the criminal class, then make money. I'm sure there are a lot of real estate developers trying to figure out how to turn it into the "next" Vegas. The city has gotten so much publicity it would simply be too tempting.

You're an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493239)

The technical stuff is interesting, but not the most interesting thing about how the city will get reconstructed. It is a sideshow.

New Orleans is the only major city now with a miniscule number of blacks. They've been flooded out. How the city gets redeveloped could have major implications. I can imagine some real estate devlopers would like to turn it into a Vegas-on-the-Gulf with history (French Quarter). A good way to make that a "success" would be to condemn the black neighborhoods and put in parks and clubs.

It would be sort of like what happened in midtown Manhattan under Guiliani: force out the criminal class, then make money. I'm sure there are a lot of real estate developers trying to figure out how to turn it into the "next" Vegas. The city has gotten so much publicity it would simply be too tempting.

Re:More interesting will be to see who lives there (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493321)

New Orleans is the only major city now with a miniscule number of blacks.

Would you like to substantiate this with something other than totally fucking wild speculation, and an inability to do basic arithmetic?

We'll give the DMort teams the benefit of the doubt and say there were actually 40k people killed in New Orleans. We'll further give you the benefit of the doubt and say they're all african americans. When you subtract 40,000 [sadlyno.com] from 1,300,000 [wikipedia.org] what do you get?

Oh that's right, numbers that aren't going to substantially change racial demographics!

You're going to need to extricate your ass from your predjudice before you can get your head free out of it.

little trick (0, Troll)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493110)

I have this neat trick to avoid cities being flooded: rebuild the city in another place where it can't be flooded

Re:little trick (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493176)

After 1993, some river towns did this - but it took a lot of strong arming to move small towns (less than 1000 residents, I think). People get attached to where they are and it takes a lot to uproot them.

Can you imagine what it would take to move a city the size of New Orleans.

Re:little trick (1)

tazanator (681948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493297)

just break open the leevees and say "we won't waste any more tax dollars on this" they will move eventually.

Re:little trick (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493299)

By the same logic, I suppose you believe that San Francisco shouldn't have been rebuilt after 1906.

Arrogance (1, Troll)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493119)

I think our uncanny ability to warm the planet has given us a false sense of capablility. Rebuilding large cities below sea level in Hurricane Alley is a recipe for disaster. Politicians calling for rebuilding are Soup Nazis.

Massive, post disaster, federal bailouts of property damage just encourage more building in disaster prone areas which inevitably leads to the death of low income citizens that can't evacuate.

Re:Arrogance (-1, Flamebait)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493267)

It's actually a rather clever means for disposing of useless low income citizens, I think.

Fighting against nature (1)

UnapprovedThought (814205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493142)

From the government publication http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/ [usgs.gov]

Melting of the current Greenland ice sheet would result in a sea-level rise of about 6.5 meters

That's about 21 feet, the effects of which you can guess by looking at the nice map included with this publication that outlines the affected areas of the South in red.

Can anyone think of a solution that would cover all of that coastline shown on the map? That's a lot of coastline. Better not to pick a fight with nature in the first place, I would say.

durability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493145)

What makes you think those fancy movable sea walls could survive a class 5 hurrican?

Move to higher ground (1, Troll)

WAR-Ink (876414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493146)

Some in the house and senate have voiced the politically incorrect position of "maybe it was a little dumb to build below sea level, right next to the sea."

I happen to agree. Move New Orleans to higher ground. Let the ocean have the original site. Spending billions on ANY plan is a waste of my tax dollars.

I live on the side of the fault that slides into the ocean when the big one hits California. I don't expect the US government to spend billions to reattach it. But, I would expect them to save me a spot on the new beach front property to replace my previous submarine property.

They built a city below sea level, in a swamp. A hurrican came, it blew away, burnt down and sunk into the swamp. What did they expect?

Re:Move to higher ground (1)

nilknarf (894207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493288)

The city was not below sea level when it was built.

Re:Move to higher ground (1)

WAR-Ink (876414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493371)

Funny thing about land. It slides, it shakes, it sinks. It even burns when there are combustibles on it. Perhaps the whole "it is a swamp" thing should have been the first clue.

Re:Move to higher ground (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493298)

Well, there is the problem of building that new beach front property when someone else's property is already there. It's the same problem as to who has to make room for the new city of Really New Orleans.

Rebuilding New Orleans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493149)

> The New York Times has a discussion of flood
> control methods in use in Holland, England, and
> Bangladesh that could be used in the rebuilding
> of New Orleans.

On the other hand, they could take this
opportunity and simply relocate the city to
a safe(er) location. Moving the city to a
location above sea-level might be a good start.
This would get the levees out of the equation
and help to eliminate this from happening again
in the future.

Much To Learn, But Will They Learn It? (4, Insightful)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493184)

New Orleans has been a disaster waiting to happen, as everyone now knows. And it is a city that lies in palpable danger during any hurricane season, now or in the future. Sure, we could learn from the Dutch and from others, but will we?

Our country has a history of trying to do things on the cheap, to pay as little as possible now and to postpone the inevitable for another generation. Now, New Orleans paid the price. We have bridges, highways, water systems and any number of infrastructure needs in the US that we quite effectively ignore on a daily basis.

Don't believe me? Think about how long it has taken California to replace the Bay Bridge after the '89 quake -- it was deemed unsafe then and it was decided to build a new one. This is comparable in scope to the levee system of New Orleans and the new Bay Bridge has taken over fifteen years to replace. Expect the same, Big Easy.

Blame is being passed around, something that politicians excel at. However, the Feds are not the only ones at fault. One must consider the city's priorities when they built a sports arena and did not work on their levees. One must also consider the refusal of the citizens to pay higher taxes to do both. The federal government cut funding, but if the city had REALLY wanted to fix their levees before Katrina, they could have made some hard choices. Instead, they chose to court the Charlotte Hornets and get them to move to the Big Easy. Just as a "for example."

Now, a massive rebuilding effort needs to take place, and one after the rescue and mitigation efforts are completed. The rebuilding will probably outpace the fortification of the levees, as people will want to rebuild their homes and that doing that on an indiovidual basis is smaller and easier than re-engineering levees.

However, before they do that they should consider that their new homes are in as much danger as the ones that they lost until they get their flood control issues resolved. This should be priority one for the city, the state of Louisiana and to a large degree the federal government. The cost will be in the billions, and I for one will be very surprised if the money is easily available.

Even if it is, it will take the better part of two decades -- or about twenty hurricane seasons -- for these new systems to be in place. In the meantime, NOLA better hope that another Katrina does not find their city.

Re:Much To Learn, But Will They Learn It? (1)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493349)

I'm just hoping that common sene taks over and we do NOT rebuild New Orleans. It was a mistake to build and would be a mistake to rebuild. Considering the unfathomable environmental damage that has been done since NO was built and now that we're pumping BILLIONS of gallons of highly toxic water back into the lake and into the Gulf, we'd have to be fucking insane to allow billions or trillions of our tax dollars to go towards rebuilding this thing. Why waste decades of effort and billions of dollars to protect a city that technically should not exist? It's assinine.
And, we do all that work, and a stronger huricane rolls through, what then? Re-rebuild? I don't think so.

Rebuilding New Orleans with Common Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493191)

Rebuild it above sea level.

howmuch science is needed? (1, Flamebait)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493231)

Build it 40 miles upriver.

Re:howmuch science is needed? (5, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493318)

OK a light hearted comment, but I just read in the NYT a great column on the contrast: NYC was hit with fire, NO hit with water.

NYC could deal with fire, because we've learned to fight fires locally. We build to prevent it, and we all pay a premium on goods and services through the system due to the costs of sprinkler systems etc in the supply chain. We spend city $$ on fire services, and emergency response capabilities.

NO couldn't deal with water, because since the 60's the Federal gov't has taken over response to floods. Local officials are reduced to writing plans that ultimately read "wait for the Feds to arrive with help".

Moreover, with an agency like FEMA, and federal subsidies for flood insurance, he makes a persuasive argument that US gov't policies have, in effect ENCOURAGED the building of homes and businesses in flood prone and coastal regions.

If those homeowners and businesses had to pay a MARKET cost for insurance, how many would have built there? And if there wasn't a FEMA (which has historically compensated flood/hurricane victims even or especially if uninsured) would people be so lasseiz-faire about their families, dwellings, and belongings in the path of destruction?

Persuasive reading.

Science can't trump corruption (2, Insightful)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493253)

Science: Rebuilding New Orleans With Science

Editors...please, that's got to be the cheesiest title yet. We have the science, we have had the science, but a republican dominated government refused to provide the funding that would have allowed the Army Corp. of Engineers to Build levies that both the Governor and Mayor have been requesting for years before this happened.

Instead of fanning the typical Slashdot "We're so cool because we know science" circle-jerk, maybe you could greenlight an article that focuses on the issues.

Re:Science can't trump corruption (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493306)

We have the science, we have had the science, but a republican dominated government refused to provide the funding that would have allowed the Army Corp. of Engineers to Build levies that both the Governor and Mayor have been requesting for years before this happened.

I think you mean reduced the funding and used it for other things that most people don't agree with.

Not refused to provide. It's subtle, but not the same.

Ah, yes, the Republicans. (0, Troll)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493364)

It's all the Republicans fault.

For example, when, in spring 2005, the NY Times denounced the flood control projects in Mississippi as environmentally destructive boondoggles, that was clearly a trick by the Republicans to preemptively blame the greenies for the hurricane.

Barrier islands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493255)

...won't stop a katamari that's > 700m.

Think about it.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493286)

But I thought god was going to rebuild New Orleans!

You Can Almost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493315)

You can almost hear the phones ringing at Haliburton even as you read this, can't you.

Let's not make this a "Swamp Castle" (2, Interesting)

sleighb0y (141660) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493319)

" Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands."


Let's use this tragedy to move the people to some place that is safer, preferably ABOVE sea level. I can understand the "Let's rebuild it and make it stronger!" spirit, but the money it will take to rebuild and then make flood protection that we THINK is adequate ( you know, like they THOUGHT was good enough back in the late 1960's ) would be much better spent in relocation.

To add to Patton: (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493336)

Patton "If men have conqured mountains and oceans, anything built by man can be overcome by man."

By extension, anything built by man can be overcome by nature. Ask any geologist, the two most destructive forces on earth are water and time.

Bottoming Out (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493346)

The broken canal walls are all up near the Lake seawall built in the 1930s, reclaiming land once swamp (and lake bottom). City Park is a giant park through which the Bayou St. John still flows, along its ancient path, into the middle of town (thru some big pipes in places) to the center of the bowl, the bottom of New Orleans. All that is totally under water now: the 17th Street Canal was the main burst that flooded the town, and runs along the West edge of City Park, past the Bayou.

We should expand City Park to encompass the entire Bayou area, with no development, and lots of canals. Expand the Bayou itself in the bottom to become a giant reservoir. When storms approach, pump out the reservoir. Make all drains pass through the reservoir, a giant buffer. When rain and failed seawalls allow water into the city, funnel it into the reservoir, buying time. Pump the reservoir into the Mississippi and the Lake.

The seawalls and levees themselves are not fault-tolerant. They're static, brittle, and take the whole city with them when they break. Those walls should all have rail lines along their inhabited sides, separated from the water by the wall. When a storm approaches, dumpable sandbags can be rolled into place behind risky sections, or into broken sections, or just into staging areas for delivery by helicopter, boat or amphibious vehicle, or even human "bucket brigades" when all other vehicles fail. Ahead of the storm, the rails can carry cars of evacuees out. And the other 99.5% of the time, without emergencies, they can carry cars instead of highways (most cars on I-10 are "just passing through"), passengers and freight.

Or we can just put the Dutch in charge of the city. Then they'll do all those things I mentioned, and probably something with windmills. Amsterdam and New Orleans have a lot more in common than just negative elevation - and I'm not referring just to decades of Spanish dominion ;). But at least the Dutch will actually do it: they actually do things. Instead of leaving it up to the Army Corps of Engineers, which now must be spelled Corps e , which totally failed their mission - though it looks like they were set up for failure by the civilian leadership, for decades.

Or we can just let New Orleans rot. Along with the rest of the country. If it can happen to a city everyone loves so much, that's so important to our economy, where everyone knew it was RISK #1, why shouldn't it happen everywhere eventually - and not as slowly as in the old World Capital of Molasses.

Re:Bottoming Out (1)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493380)

Not to totally remove blame from the corps, but you do know their New Orleans buffer budget has been repeatedly cut for the past several years, don't you? Or have you fallen victim to the White House spin zone already?

A better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13493363)

...would be to rebuild it with the power of pure mathematics. Does anyone here know the block transfer equasion?

Rebuild? There's a Bright Idea. (5, Insightful)

Mekkis (769156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13493392)

What's the point in rebuilding? The city's already been destroyed and the increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the central Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico means that we're just asking for another disaster. Whether or not you subscribe to global warming being human-induced is beside the point; the temperature of the Earth is increasing, as is the destructiveness of the weather.

The Netherlands argument just doesn't hold water (no pun intended) because that part of the world isn't subject to the same type of weather conditions - in other words, there ain't no hurricanes in the North Sea. There are also the economic factors to consider. The United States is in debt over its head and frankly doesn't have the financial resources to waste on rebuilding a city which would then require greater and greater expenditures of capital to keep from being inundated as the ocean level rises.

Rebuilding New Orleans shows stubbornness well beyond the border of idiocy and is a stunning example of the old axiom: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It also shows the tremendous amount of greed involved; whether or not New Orleans is rebuilt, the impoverished who have borne the brunt of this disaster will be left out of the process, except maybe as a disposable work force to exploit in the building of new condos and upscale developments that the real estate markets in New Orleans have been looking for an excuse to install -- especially since builders can use such low-wage exploitation as a tax write-off.

Then there's also the fact that developers were allowed to build in hazardous locations to begin with -- what with the Bush Administration doing away with the Federal land easements (wetlands) that existed as a storm surge buffer and turning it over to developers.

Sacramento, California is an example of just such short-sightedness. The Sacramento River flood plains are catastrophically inundated every ten to fifteen years or so. Despite this fact, developers have been allowed to build there because they've bought and/or sued the city & county into letting them do whatever in the hell they want. The developers have also stifled the environmental and news reports as well as done their best to obscure the historical record because such information conflicts with their immediate profit interests. The result? Houses get flooded, families are ruined and the taxpayers are left with the responsibility.

Frankly, developers don't give a shit whether five or ten years down the line those houses are flooded out and destroyed, incidentally sending into financial ruin the families gullible, desperate, uninformed and/or stupid enough to be living there. They've made their profits and get to hide comfortably behind the lawsuit protection laws established to prevent consumers from holding developers responsible for faulty and/or dangerous housing. Besides, the government will pay for disaster relief and subsidize the rebuilding efforts for a new generation of suckers -- because once those houses have been built, by God they've got to stay there.

With the the Bush Administration doing the best it can to aid unscrupulous businesspeople by circumventing legal measures set up to prevent people from putting themselves into harm's way, is it any wonder there's such a cry to rebuild New Orleans? You've got people who stand to make a killing by exploiting this very preventable disaster. But then again, I guess caveat emptor is the ultimate answer and anything else is heresy to the religion of the Free Market.

Let this also serve as a reminder those who believe overpopulation is a myth that not every square mile of the Earth's surface is inhabitable or arable.
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