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Should New Orleans be rebuilt?

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posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 07:55 PM
National Geographics 2004 prediction:

NG article here:
Gone with the Water

As for rebuilding New Orleans, fill it in?
I have serious reservations on this matter, it is a difficult decision.


posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:03 PM
Should NO be rebuilt? Depends...What about taking all the destruction from the hurricane, in LA, MS,and AL and using it as landfill to bring NO above sea level. Just a thought. Not only does it help rebuild NO, but gives a place to dump all the debris.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:43 PM

Originally posted by CSRules
What about taking all the destruction from the hurricane, in LA, MS,and AL and using it as landfill to bring NO above sea level. Just a thought. Not only does it help rebuild NO, but gives a place to dump all the debris.

If you bury a bunch of wood it will eventually rot and the ground will sink.
No, the fill will need to be rocky soil at least. A couple million tons of
ready mix concrete to mix with the standing water would work.

[edit on 1-9-2005 by TruthCanHurt]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 08:54 PM
"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

By Sidney Blumenthal

09/01/05 "Der Spiegel" -- -- In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce.

In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups conducted a joint expert study, concluding in 2004 that without wetlands protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary, much less a Category 4 or 5, hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the report's authors. The chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable," and boasted, "Everybody loves what we're doing."

"My administration's climate change policy will be science based," President Bush declared in June 2001. But in 2002, when the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a study on global warming to the United Nations reflecting its expert research, Bush derided it as "a report put out by a bureaucracy," and excised the climate change assessment from the agency's annual report. The next year, when the EPA issued its first comprehensive "Report on the Environment," stating, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment," the White House simply demanded removal of the line and all similar conclusions. At the G-8 meeting in Scotland this year, Bush successfully stymied any common action on global warming. Scientists, meanwhile, have continued to accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, which has produced more severe hurricanes.

In February 2004, 60 of the nation's leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, warned in a statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking": "Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world's most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy ... Indeed, this principle has long been adhered to by presidents and administrations of both parties in forming and implementing policies. The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle ... The distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease." Bush completely ignored this statement.

In the two weeks preceding the storm in the Gulf, the trumping of science by ideology and expertise by special interests accelerated. The Federal Drug Administration announced that it was postponing sale of the morning-after contraceptive pill, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of its safety and its approval by the FDA's scientific advisory board. The United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa accused the Bush administration of responsibility for a condom shortage in Uganda -- the result of the administration's evangelical Christian agenda of "abstinence." When the chief of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Justice Department was ordered by the White House to delete its study that African-Americans and other minorities are subject to racial profiling in police traffic stops and he refused to buckle under, he was forced out of his job. When the Army Corps of Engineers' chief contracting oversight analyst objected to a $7 billion no-bid contract awarded for work in Iraq to Halliburton (the firm at which Vice President Cheney was formerly CEO), she was demoted despite her superior professional ratings. At the National Park Service, a former Cheney aide, a political appointee lacking professional background, drew up a plan to overturn past environmental practices and prohibit any mention of evolution while allowing sale of religious materials through the Park Service.

On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt: "And he knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Bush had boarded his very own "Streetcar Named Desire."

Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 09:04 PM

Originally posted by motionknight
Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.

Apparently, Sidney Blumenthal is in need of reading this?

Other presidents also have taken aim at the Corps' budget. President Carters' first veto came against a big water projects bill passed by a Democratic-dominated Congress. And President Clinton squeezed the Corps budget as well. Doing so frees money for other White House priorities.

"I fought every ... administration when they tried to use the Corps of Engineers as a piggy bank to pay for other projects," said former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, a Louisiana Republican who represented the New Orleans suburbs for more than 20 years. "I had major battles with the Clinton administration."

"Going back to Carter. They've all sought to draw down the Corps of Engineers and put it elsewhere," he said.

Former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux (news, bio, voting record), a Democrat, said it was clear during his time in Congress that flood control projects were shortchanged.

As for those Hurricane levels:

"Those levees are OK under normal times but once every hundred years, that's not enough," he said in an interview. "We've all said for years that a category 4 or 5 hurricane hit just right on New Orleans, there was nothing there sufficient to prevent New Orleans from being 20 feet under water."

White House Backpedals on Flood Control

Anyhow, motionknight, you reckon maybe we can get back to the topic instead of politicizing who is to blame in respect to this natural castastrophe?


[edit on 1-9-2005 by Seekerof]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 09:08 PM

Originally posted by TruthCanHurt

Originally posted by CSRules
What about taking all the destruction from the hurricane, in LA, MS,and AL and using it as landfill to bring NO above sea level. Just a thought. Not only does it help rebuild NO, but gives a place to dump all the debris.

If you bury a bunch of wood it will eventually rot and the ground will sink.
No, the fill will need to be rocky soil at least. A couple million tons of
ready mix concrete to mix with the standing water would work.

I'm not talking about the wood. But the concrete and metal. And no I don't think there is enough to do the job from the hurricane, but it would be a DAMN good start.

[edit on 1-9-2005 by TruthCanHurt]

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 11:29 PM
I received an excellent article today from George Friedman's Stratfor about New Orleans.

Sorry no link just had to paste it here

New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize

By George Friedman

The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography -- the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one -- the Mississippi -- and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn't have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers - which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

During the Cold War, a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans. If the Mississippi River was shut to traffic, then the foundations of the economy would be shattered. The industrial minerals needed in the factories wouldn't come in, and the agricultural wealth wouldn't flow out. Alternative routes really weren't available. The Germans knew it too: A U-boat campaign occurred near the mouth of the Mississippi during World War II. Both the Germans and Stratfor have stood with Andy Jackson: New Orleans was the prize.

Last Sunday, nature took out New Orleans almost as surely as a nuclear strike. Hurricane Katrina's geopolitical effect was not, in many ways, distinguishable from a mushroom cloud. The key exit from North America was closed. The petrochemical industry, which has become an added value to the region since Jackson's days, was at risk. The navigability of the Mississippi south of New Orleans was a question mark. New Orleans as a city and as a port complex had ceased to exist, and it was not clear that it could recover.

The Ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. On its own merit, POSL is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. It exports more than 52 million tons a year, of which more than half are agricultural products -- corn, soybeans and so on. A large proportion of U.S. agriculture flows out of the port. Almost as much cargo, nearly 17 million tons, comes in through the port -- including not only crude oil, but chemicals and fertilizers, coal, concrete and so on.

A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the U.S. auto industry if steel doesn't come up the river, or the effect on global food supplies if U.S. corn and soybeans don't get to the markets.

The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing have low value-to-weight ratios. The U.S. transport system was built on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States, there aren't enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance hauling of these enormous quantities -- assuming for the moment that the economics could be managed, which they can't be.

The focus in the media has been on the oil industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. This is not a trivial question, but in a certain sense, it is dwarfed by the shipping issue. First, Louisiana is the source of about 15 percent of U.S.-produced petroleum, much of it from the Gulf. The local refineries are critical to American infrastructure. Were all of these facilities to be lost, the effect on the price of oil worldwide would be extraordinarily painful. If the river itself became unnavigable or if the ports are no longer functioning, however, the impact to the wider economy would be significantly more severe. In a sense, there is more flexibility in oil than in the physical transport of these other commodities.

There is clearly good news as information comes in. By all accounts, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which services supertankers in the Gulf, is intact. Port Fourchon, which is the center of extraction operations in the Gulf, has sustained damage but is recoverable. The status of the oil platforms is unclear and it is not known what the underwater systems look like, but on the surface, the damage - though not trivial -- is manageable.

The news on the river is also far better than would have been expected on Sunday. The river has not changed its course. No major levees containing the river have burst. The Mississippi apparently has not silted up to such an extent that massive dredging would be required to render it navigable. Even the port facilities, although apparently damaged in many places and destroyed in few, are still there. The river, as transport corridor, has not been lost.

What has been lost is the city of New Orleans and many of the residential suburban areas around it. The population has fled, leaving behind a relatively small number of people in desperate straits. Some are dead, others are dying, and the magnitude of the situation dwarfs the resources required to ameliorate their condition. But it is not the population that is trapped in New Orleans that is of geopolitical significance: It is the population that has left and has nowhere to return to.

The oil fields, pipelines and ports required a skilled workforce in order to operate. That workforce requires homes. They require stores to buy food and other supplies. Hospitals and doctors. Schools for their children. In other words, in order to operate the facilities critical to the United States, you need a workforce to do it -- and that workforce is gone. Unlike in other disasters, that workforce cannot return to the region because they have no place to live. New Orleans is gone, and the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans is either gone or so badly damaged that it will not be inhabitable for a long time.

It is possible to jury-rig around this problem for a short time. But the fact is that those who have left the area have gone to live with relatives and friends. Those who had the ability to leave also had networks of relationships and resources to manage their exile. But those resources are not infinite -- and as it becomes apparent that these people will not be returning to New Orleans any time soon, they will be enrolling their children in new schools, finding new jobs, finding new accommodations. If they have any insurance money coming, they will collect it. If they have none, then -- whatever emotional connections they may have to their home -- their economic connection to it has been severed. In a very short time, these people will be making decisions that will start to reshape population and workforce patterns in the region.

A city is a complex and ongoing process - one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don't simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone -- and they are not coming back anytime soon.

It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside -- and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

Let's go back to the beginning. The United States historically has depended on the Mississippi and its tributaries for transport. Barges navigate the river. Ships go on the ocean. The barges must offload to the ships and vice versa. There must be a facility to empower this exchange. It is also the facility where goods are stored in transit. Without this port, the river can't be used. Protecting that port has been, from the time of the Louisiana Purchase, a fundamental national security issue for the United States.

Katrina has taken out the port -- not by destroying the facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system -- the foundation of the entire American transport system. There are some substitutes, but none with sufficient capacity to solve the problem.

It follows from this that the port will have to be revived and, one would assume, the city as well. The ports around New Orleans are located as far north as they can be and still be accessed by ocean-going vessels. The need for ships to be able to pass each other in the waterways, which narrow to the north, adds to the problem. Besides, the Highway 190 bridge in Baton Rouge blocks the river going north. New Orleans is where it is for a reason: The United States needs a city right there.

New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place.
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posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 11:50 PM

Scientists, meanwhile, have continued to accumulate impressive data on the rising temperature of the oceans, which has produced more severe hurricanes.

There is NO evidence that global warming has anything to do with more hurricanes. People didn't cause Global Warming, and thats why we cant stop it. The earth has being changing from warm to cold for millions of you think having Bush sign the Kyoto Protocol would of changed anything...Theres isn't even ANY proof that Global Warming is linked to our use of fossil fuels.

Why dont you save your bush bashing coments to the Politics forum?

I dont think they should rebuild in the same place...everything there is destroyed, is that not a better time then any to re-locate your city?

I'm not saying get rid of New Orleans from your maps and minds...i'm just saying that it whould be moved. Its right next to the Ocean and the Mississippi river, and its below sea level, Why in the hell would you want to live in a hurricane area that is next so so much water and be below sea level?!?

Now everyone there is walking in nasty water, sewage and what not...not to mention that because there water table is so high that they dont/cant burry their dead, so there above ground...which will cause even more disease.

and I dont want to hear comparisons to the Trade Towers, rebuilding a taller tower is kind of a pride thing, but rebuilding a city in the same flood prone area is just foolish.

posted on Sep, 1 2005 @ 11:59 PM
I posted this to the wrong thread erlier.

hope this is the right place.

We knew it was just a matter of time!

Check this out. After Ivan people started asking what if.

The link below is a study that looked at what we are dealing with right now.

We knew it would happen sooner or later but how do you tell 1.5 million people they are living in a death trap.

You can't relocate a city just because there is a threat of a natural disastar.

This is nothing compared to what's going to happen when LA gets the big one or we have a real volcanic eruption.

Just my 2 cents, hope it ads a little insight.


posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 01:22 AM
International commerce may mandate the resurrection of New Orleans, but we should bring in the
water control engineers from Holland and rebuild as they have, to cover a 10,000 year event.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 02:34 AM
Solution? Tell Bush Oil is in New Orleans, he will send thousands of troops there to find the WMDs, to spread democracy, so forth.

Proof of Bush taking money from New Orleans/Lousianna

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 02:59 AM
I don't see the point in saving a city that is in such a precarious position to be destroyed in the future.
Sure we love the French Quarter and the Marti Gras, but what is the cost for a party that can be held on higher ground in another location.
Now that the city is being totally evacuated, it should stay that way, and be given back to the alligators.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 12:06 PM
The city is an average of 8 ft below sea level, so I think adding dirt/gravel/rocks or whatever is out of the question. Of course it could be done, but I dont see anything about that city that is so important that it needs to be located in the same spot.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 01:07 PM
What does New ORleans have that's worthy of billions to rebuild the city? Nothing really. There is Mardi Gras, jazz and gumbo but not much else. NASA, petrolplants and everyone else will not be around anytime after the water recedes, way too expensive.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 01:11 PM
We need to get the Dutch in there to help, half their country is below sea level and they have the most experience engineering the equipment that will be required to make a new safe New Orleans.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 01:26 PM
Do some reseach. If you did you would see that the storm systems are almost idenitcal to the patterns that were experienced in the 1950's.

The information is out some actual research.

I thought people were supposed to DENY IGNORANCE on this site!

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 01:37 PM

Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree

International commerce may mandate the resurrection of New Orleans, but we should bring in the
water control engineers from Holland and rebuild as they have, to cover a 10,000 year event.

very good observation.
but the Holland/Netherlands people & experts should be willing & eager
to work for & under the NWO group that compromise the Bush Regime.

The rebuilt city, under the direction & authority of the micro-managing
NWO'ers, will use this project to spotlight theirselves and agendas and
methods of 'getting-the-job-done'! oh, their hearts & minds are doing backflips in glee.

Sorry to say, but the rebuilt commerce center which was once New Orleans,
will of course be downsized from the sprawling urban-metropolitan area it once was. The former N.O. had a demographic in which 27% of the citizen-consumer-voters were considered poverty level constituents, and by conventional wisdom that segment of society was trapped in that desperate condition, and would never ascend from that economic dungeon.

When the new center-of-commerce enters the reconstruction & retrofitting as a mega-structure project...the old technology & materials (i.e. wood framing) will not be permitted.
The longer range plan for the 'new city'
will envision that "Port Orleans" will be a combined commerce & cosmopolitan center under a dome which will allow for any world-wide rise in the sealevel.
'Port Orleans'/ 'the new city' (see Nostradamus)
will connect to the mainland by means of 3 delta-tunnells, similar to the famous 'chunnel' of GB & France, sorry- no airports there, you'll have to mag-lev on a highspeed train to enter the new city.

Politically, All this rebuilding the 'Gem of the NWO' will get VP Cheney
into the Presidential Office in 2008...

Also, the stage is now set for the use of tactical nukes for the purpose of
destroying the hurricane Eye-Wall, whenever a population center is in danger of taking a very-close or direct hit from a category 3 or greater hurricane...

just a few thoughts & whimiscal notions on why the old N.O.
will & should & must be- - - rebuilt the 'proper way' this time.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 02:17 PM
St Udio - get your head outta *the pretty pretty flowers*, NWO...come on.

and BTW, apparently you didn't here Cheney say awhile ago that "if elected I will not run.

Theres no such thing as the NWO, never has, and never will be. Keep your comments in the "New World Order" Forum.

*Mod edit for personal attack*

Yall play nice now

[edit on 2-9-2005 by Amuk]

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 08:24 PM
IMHO, no. NOLA should be declared a national park but all existing oil and gas easements should remain.

Now, here is something a friend of mine wrote - I won't give his name because I haven't gotten his permission. I believe he will polish it up and submit it to a major newspaper but, they probably won't print it, so...I'm sharing.

I have written a short essay about New Orleans and what is happening. It is a draft and comments are welcome. It was written hastily, and I hope it makes sense. It is pasted below and in an attachment.


* 50 cent gas tax for relief, 50 cents for rebuild*

What is happening in New Orleans is no surprise. New Orleans has talked about the "big one" ever since Camille and Betsy in the late 1960s. The storm surges, overtopped and breached levees, and complete submergence of large swaths of urbanized New Orleans have been predicted, modeled, and prophesied for decades. It was taught in grammar schools, high schools, and universities. Local television stations and the Times Picayune have run dozens of special reports. Just one year ago, millions fled via the elevated expressways out of the city in the wake of Ivan.
And the city has also had several dry runs with moving thousands of people to the Superdome and then storing them there while waiting out the storm. The huge logistical nightmare was predicted, modeled, and prophesied, and to some degree, experienced before this day.

Hurricanes are normal, even a cat 4 over NOLA. Hurricanes hit the Gulf coast almost every year, somewhere – Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana. IF not a Hurricane, a weaker tropical storm. These storms are part of the reason the South is so wet, so fertile - a land of milk and honey.

But many, especially the political leadership, will pander to the weak-minded and fall back on claims that this was an act of God. The governor of Louisiana attempted to marry church and state in a prayer session while New Orleans drowned and burned. They use prayer as a front. Calling it an act of god, or natural, deflects responsibility away from the last several decades of willful negligence. Already the embedded media cuts to film footage of desperate victims praising Jesus when rescued, or lamenting about "god's will" while surveying their leveled homes.

But what is happening in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast is not an act of god or a result of nature. What is happening in New Orleans, more than anything else, is the result of public policy. Let's start with the disaster of evacuation and the horrific images of tens of thousands of poor black people left stranded in the city after the call for evacuation.

Post storm aerials show a yard of about 50 yellow school buses submerged in the flood. Couldn't these buses have been used to evacuate at least some refugees? Public policy dictated no, not God, not nature. On Sunday, while panic set in but the skies were clear, the airlines not only cancelled flights, but extra planes were not sent in during this state of emergency. That is public policy, not god. Passenger rail?
Forget it. Public policy says that this efficient and fast way to carry people for daily needs as well as evacuation is not necessary in America.

And where are the planes now? We have a huge airline fleet ferrying business class right now from meeting to meeting across the continent.
Apparently some upper class yuppies trapped in the American Can redevelopment in Mid City were flown out Thursday night? Did they use credit cards? What about the Lower Ninth Ward?. What gives?

In the aftermath a variation of Mad Max and Hieronymous Bosche "Hell"
have set in. Cries from attics. Bloated bodies floating - some with bullets in the back of the head. Rape, hysteria, insanity. Rooting corpses, a foul suffocating stench. For the smug white racists in Covington, or the white flighters from Metairie who now reside in Baton Rouge, New Orleans has indeed become Haiti. You know what I am talking about.

The response from the National Guard, our civilian, disaster relief militia, is not even paltry. All lines are busy at the moment, call back later. Logistics and relief services are tied up in Babylon, fighting for oil. That too, is public policy – not god. And that should have been predicted, modeled, and prophesied since we started to bomb Afghanistan.
But by then the American public entered the hypnosis of the "war on tear" and forgot the purpose of the National Guard, forgot that the reason thousands of people joined the national guard was for disasters just like this. Those national guard people stuck over there in the desert must be feeling really #ty right now.

Like the bungling evacuation and apocalyptic aftermath, the true causes of this disaster were public policy. It is important to know these causes in order to have a sensible rebuild. Without knowing the causes, the trajectory of decision making is off course.

Public policy response to accelerated *coastal erosion* is a cause. For decades pipeline canals, shipping channels, and oil platform access canals were built willy-nilly across the coastal marsh. The oil industry was given carte blanche to decimate the coast. Salt water intruded.
Marshes died, open water moved closer towards the city. The buffer for the storm surge disintegrated. This was public policy. It could have been different. And people knew it then, as now. But Americans wanted cheap gas.

Public policy towards the *Mississippi River* is a cause. The River's 25-foot levees kept the river bounded in a swift and fast channel. Mud was not deposited in the wetlands to recharge them – as it had been for eons. Freshwater and silt was shot straight into the Gulf, instead of fanning over the delta. Discussion of breaching levees got nowhere.
Capitalist interests got priority. Shipping, refining capacity, and real estate development blinded decision-makers. That was public policy. It was decided by political leaders that the course of the Mississippi (which shifts "naturally") must be maintained for commerce. Breaching it both above and below New Orleans to deposit silt, mud, and freshwater was considered communist.

The more subtle problem of widespread *subsidence* is also about public policy. Subsidence normally took centuries, it was a "naturally" slow process. The river floods mentioned above were an essential part of slowing and mitigating subsidence - "naturally." The river deposited new mud and silt on top of previous layers. Over the last few decades, subsidence happened rapidly and in short time-spans. Not only do the levees on the river block deposition of new silt and mud, the weight of buildings and pavement accelerate sinking, and the removal of water, oil, gas from ground causes even more sinking. In 60 years, the already low floodplain around New Orleans sunk by 2 feet.

The subsidence is especially problematic in the *backswamps*, those areas of greater New Orleans away from the river and its "natural"
levees. Historically, development in Louisiana, whether in New Orleans, along the Mississippi River, or along the bayous, was on the higher, drier grounds immediately along the rivers. These natural levees were built by the rivers and bayous over centuries of flooding and deposition. After an afternoon thunderstorm or huge hurricane, these natural levees would drain into the backswamps. In New Orleans these backswamps also stored the surges that came from Lake Pontchartrain.
These backswamps are now paved over with low-density, automobile oriented sprawl. New Orleans East, the New Orleans Lakefront, and Metairie are largely filled backswamps. They continue to act as storage areas for the surges and floods, but it is largely auto-centric sprawl that is now submerged, not cypress swamps and marshlands. The levees built to protect this backswamp sprawl now hold the water in, allowing it to fester and stagnate, full of the toxic residue of sprawl – motor oil, gasoline, lawn fertilizer, and so on. Sprawl has been a national public policy for at least six decades. This is the face of sprawl in New Orleans today.

Enough has been said about *global warming* by the less cowardly sectors of the media, most notably the New York Times. We know that global warming is happening, the debate is how much, how fast. We know sea level is rising faster than under "natural" circumstances. We know that the Atlantic is warming, thus spawning more storms like Katrina. We know that rising sea levels mean that the already imperiled coastal wetlands, deprived by public policies onshore, are in even more trouble. Global warming makes the coast of Louisiana even more vulnerable. But the leadership in both the US and the State of Louisiana refuse to confront global warming. Kyoto was weak, but no one considered signing. Across the nation, motorists balk at high gas prices, get "confused" by the conflicting date fed to them by oil interests, and go about their daily lives of massive carbon emissions. 25% of the world's emissions, 4% of the population. But from the Bay Area to Charlotte the ethos is, "yeah, but I have to get to work, yeah but I have to carry my big dogs to the park, yeah, but I can't carry groceries home without an SUV."

For global warming New Orleans was the sacrificial lamb in this storm, while greedy motorists hoard gas in Atlanta.

From coastal erosion and pipeline canals to filling in backswamps with sprawl, these were public policy decisions and there should be hell to pay. Anyone who says that this is "no time for blame" probably has something to hide, or is beginning to understand their complicit role in this disaster and seeking cover.

But that is not the worst of it. The worst of it is yet to come. The worst of it will be the way it is handled afterwards, especially the denial and failure to recognize cause and effect. The leadership will pray. The leadership will talk about natural disasters and acts of god.
The leadership, from Washington DC to Baton Rouge and to Poydras Street, is interested in money, rich people, oil, extreme property rights, hyper-consumption, and getting their frat boy or sorority friends in the loop. The American public, largely in the dark about the true causes of this disaster, and largely complicit in this horror, will proceed to allow this pathetic leadership to misdiagnose and misallocate the rebuild, setting the path for the next disaster.


Here is what should be done, but will not be done until true progressive reform occurs.

*Removal of sprawl around **New Orleans**:* Much of Greater New Orleans should not be rebuilt. I am not talking about the French Quarter or Victorian sections and the development along the natural levees. What should not be rebuilt is the sprawl surrounding New Orleans. Get the sprawl out of the backswamps. Retreat the levees. Empty all areas north of I-10 and along the Lakefront and recreate a marshland buffer zone all along the southshore. This includes Metairie and Kenner. Even parts not currently flooded should be axed and replaced by wetlands. Empty New Orleans East & most of St Bernard (except the natural levees) and recreate marshland buffers there too. The removal of this sprawl wasteland will take decades, should be done in a methodical and coordinated manner, and with ecological restoration as first priority.
Remove the levees along Lake Pontchartrain and rebuild levees below I-610 (remove I-610). Restablish cypress swamps in the "bowl" of New Orleans.

*Rebuild of "old" **New Orleans*: A sustainable New Orleans rebuilt could densify and manage half a million people including tourists.
Permanent population might be lower. Rebuild and densify New Orleans along the natural levee including downtown, French Quarter, Marigny, Bywater, Uptown, and Riverbend. Most of these are still intact. Gretna, Algiers, and West Bank areas along the natural levee get rebuilt too.
Mid City is debatable. Either empty or minimally rebuild with adequate drainage and more open space. The population of greater New Orleans (including both east and west bank) would be under 500,000. The Greater New Orleans economy would center on tourism, arts, university, seafood processing, light manufacturing in waterborne craft/ Shipbuilding, and a port (smaller than 2005). Construction and craftwork will be very important in the decade after this storm. The city should create a systematic bike network, bus lanes, and expand streetcar. Reduce parking city-wide. Access to the city should be primarily by rail. Flood control should be upgraded or rebuilt. Levees should be rebuilt closer to the cities natural levee, and massive ecological restorations should be undertaken in all of the former sprawl surrounding the city. A civil conservation corps should be established.

*Baton Rouge**: *Electric passenger and freight rail from New Orleans to Baton Rouge should be constructed. Baton Rouge would be the primary entry to New Orleans. Rail would utilize natural gas for electricity generation until another source can be found.

Build rail station in downtown Baton Rouge along present rail lines along the Mississippi. Create high density housing and retail-services downtown.

The city of Baton Rouge would experience major densification. Baton Rouge should be reconfigured into a compact city of 1.2 million. Main arterials and highways should be lined with 3-4 story apartment buildings, with ground floor retail, services. No parking would be provided. The space would be used for housing, services, and green space, and drainage – not car storage. Implement Bus Rapid Transit, priority bus lanes, bike lanes, wide sidewalks, and eventually electric trams in dense areas radiating from downtown. Areas of densification would include: Florida Boulevard, I -10 corridor, Airline Highway, I-12 corridor, Scenic Highway corridor, Essen, BlueBonnet, Siegen, College.

The physical footprint of Baton Rouge should not be expanded. Rather, the city should absorb new population by developing all surface parking and low density sprawl. The Baton Rouge economy would function as a regional commercial, government, service hub. Information, government, refining, petrochemicals, food processing, freight distribution, and a minor port would make up the economy. Construction will dominate the economy for many years.

*Mississippi River**: *a greater portion of the Mississippi River should be diverted into the Atchafalaya. About 60- 70% of the total flow at Old River (in Point Coupee Parish) should flow down the Atchafalaya. The remaining 30-40% continues down the present Mississippi. The flow down the Mississippi should be preserved but significantly reduced. * *Strategically breach levees of the Mississippi north and South of New Orleans to allow sedimentation, aid in replenishment of wetlands. Use New Orleans as a port until a new port is built on the Atchafalaya.
Maintain smaller-scale port in New Orelans as river levels are lower at New Orleans. Build new port on Atchafalaya at a suitable site to be determined. Do not build one single mega-port. Build multiple smaller ports. Connect ports by rail, with modern intermodal facilities.
Minimize truck access.

*North** **Shore**: *Build passenger rail from Baton Rouge to Florida, Parallel to I-12. Focus compact development in Slidell, Covington, Hammond. Distribute 200,000 along corridor as bead on a string along railway line. Economy – services, farming, food processing, light manufacturing. Wind farms. Solar collector farms.


This disaster was largely caused by public policy. These public policies were centered on the accommodation, expansion, and unquestioned dominance of unfettered automobility. It is only fair and logical to tax automobility and its supporting land uses – sprawl. The funding would be implemented incrementally.

First, a 50 cent gas tax should be implemented nationwide for direct and immediate aid and disaster relief/ clean-up. It should remain in place until every person is accounted for, fed, sheltered.

Second, an additional 50 cent gas tax should be implemented nationwide to finance the rebuild fund.

The US consumes 10 million barrels of oil a day. Each barrel is 42 gallons. A $1.00 tax per gallon (at the site of processing) would bring in 420 million dollars per day. All of that money should go to this disaster every day until the rebuild is complete.

posted on Sep, 2 2005 @ 08:43 PM
Well, if we bring some of the best Dutch engineers I think we can build some pretty damn good levees.

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