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Is it wrong to profit from N.O. mess?

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posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 11:36 AM
As a Michigan real estate developer, I've been propositioned by a N.O. insurance executive who has assembled a group of business people to invest in some of the N.O. rebuilding activities. He has a line on federal funds available for the rebuilding of housing, such as houses, apartments, etc. He also has local connections to the Mayors office, which he claims is necessary to getting federal contracts. I've known this guy for some time now and I trust what he is saying.

While I'm attracted to the prospect of making a lot of money (there will be many new millionaires made in N.O.), I must ask myself a few questions first:

1. SHOULD N.O. be rebuilt? All indications are that weather patterns strongly suggest a repeat of Katrina.
2. If you believe recent predictions from prominent climatologists, sea levels are rising and will continue to precipitously increase over coming decades. Again, isn't future flooding certain?
3. Who will live in this new housing? Unless it is provided free of charge to residents, I wonder who will be able to afford to purchase or rent new homes and apartments. Isn't the population left behind generally considered to be impoverished?
4. Rumor has it that there is outrageous graft taking place among local politicians and well contected contractors. Even if we could get plugged into the free flow of easy money, I'm not sure I like the idea. I generally dislike politicians because I consider many of them to be outright thieves. Getting in bed with them seems repugnant to me.
5. Why are taxpayers paying to rebuild a city that will likely be destroyed again? And, if locals choose to live in low lying areas prone to flooding, why are the rest of us responsible for paying to replace their losses? How many times must the taxpayers pay to replace homes for people who insist on living in high risk areas?

I'm just interested in hearing some of your thoughts. I need to make a decision whether to participate in this investment group. I'm really struggling to bring myself to rationalize some of the questions I raised above.

By the way, I apologize if this is a rehash of a previously posted topic.

posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 11:53 AM
5by5, I am a big believer in Karma and it's fateful affects on all our lives. I also believe that any exploitive activity in the aftermath of Katrina will put you into lock step with black or bad karma. You need to go to New Orleans and see the 9th ward, St Tammany parish and the like and truly see what your dollars may be doing. There are far cleaner $$$$ to be had. Thanks at least for asking what other people think. Good luck!

posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 11:57 AM
you already have answered your own question.
So the only remaing question is wich part of you wins ?
the part that wants lots of money and is willing to compermise your morals
or the part that belives its wrong to make money off other peoples loss.
Lets review whats happing right now in N.O .people who have lived there for generation On the SAME land are lousing it to these developers because of the structurs being condemed . They had little to start with now they have nothing not even a thank you.
contrary to some threads here no Goverment created the storm but once it happened the city goverment and contractors took adavange of it and are trying to rebuild the city in a new immage. A immage without thous thousands of poor who lost everthing.
mark my word in ten years go back there and all thous old immpovershied neberhoods will be filled with condos.

posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 11:58 AM

Originally posted by fivebyfive

1. SHOULD N.O. be rebuilt? All indications are that weather patterns strongly suggest a repeat of Katrina.
2. If you believe recent predictions from prominent climatologists, sea levels are rising and will continue to precipitously increase over coming decades. Again, isn't future flooding certain?

I have to say that we should NOT rebuild New Orleans. At least, we should not rebuild New Orleans in the same location or without adequate protection against rising sea levels or against the possibility of category 5 (or, if it's possible, stronger hurricanes). To do so would be, frankly, foolhardy.

I understand that people from New Orleans might disagree with me on this point but it is a question that needs to be raised. I understand the deep emotional attachment that people have for their "hometown" but this is a time to be practical.

Besides, what would be the reaction if New Orleans is rebuilt in the same location and is subsequently destroyed again? You just know that people will be commenting that it was a mistake to rebuild in the same location. Of course, at this time, they are not making such statements. They are thinking with their hearts and not their heads.

Personally, I think that New Orleans should be rebuilt BUT not in it's original location. The business center and most residential centers should be built on higher ground. The historic tourist areas probably can remain where they are until they are eventually destroyed by another hurricane or subsequent flooding.

I know that there will be comments from people who live in New Orleans or the area that will vehemently oppose what I am saying. However, I am not against New Orleans. I sympathize with the hundreds of thousands of people who were affected. And, I am certainly not against the people of Louisiana. I am simply being pragmatic and I am looking towards avoiding similar disasters in the future.

We have an opportunity here, with New Orleans, to confront an issue that will, in the future, need to be addressed by nearly every coastal city and town in the United States and, for that matter, the world. Face it, the ocean levels will be rising! If we don't relocate our coastal communities, we should, at least, be looking at the Netherlands who are, perhaps, the most proactive nation in the world when it comes to climatological changes in the sea levels and how it would effect coastal populations.

posted on Feb, 27 2006 @ 02:15 PM
I lived in NO for 22 years and I can tell you that it is one of the most corrupt places in the free world. I believe that a lot of money could be made there, because New Orleans will have to be rebuilt because its location is as vital today as it was 300 years ago. What I don't believe is going to work out though is rebuilding the way it was.

New Orleans, by the time I left there in 1998 was as much hype as it was a reality. The diversity that gave it its special character was mostly gone, supplanted by a mostly black population, the Irish, Italians, French and English having for the most part moved out during the sixties and the seventies. Crime was beyond rampant.

Its culture and uniqueness were becoming forced and artificial. Still there was a unique quality left that was part and parcel to its original organic growth. New Orleans was a city of neighborhoods and there were many privately owned bars, eateries and convenience stores that made every neighborhood unique unto itself. Even after all the demographic shifts and the homogenizing effect so common to American cities and towns, New Orleans was still special in the ways that I outlined, even if the many other things had moved on with the former populace.

So, the point I am trying to make is that because of the structure of New Orleans, it had avoided the look and feel of so many other places that have a huge streets lined with big chain fast food outlets and convenience stores. New Orleans had those too, but they were eclipsed by all the "mom and pop" places.

Now, NO is faced with rebuilding and that rebuilding will if it takes place as some envision, it will be filled with tract housing and fast food chains. Who is going to live in all these freshly built houses? The businesses were just as devastated as the housing. Without housing the businesses can't rebuild and without business the housing can't be filled.

A lot of people who lived in New Orleans are not going to want to move back and a lot of the people who lived there, New Orleans doesn't want to move back. Real estate speculators will have a plan and they will butt heads with preservationists and city planners. The old money and the mob will want a piece of the pie and there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

My advice would be to avoid get rich quick schemes revolving around New Orleans. The Reconstruction mentality is still strong there. Carpetbaggers are still looked at with skepticism. I would suggest that southern Mississippi would be a better place to put your investment than New Orleans. People there just want to get back to normal. New Orleans will spend decades trying to decide what normal is.

[edit on 2006/2/27 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 09:22 PM
Two weeks ago I went to give an estimate about 45 minutes outside of town. An octogon shaped house on the tip of a spit (small peninsula) sticking out into the bay. I get there... the house is on piers... typical rich mansion on the water. Water level during hurricane Dennis was 6' up on the piers. The customer already recieved a 60k insurance check to put on a new roof, a 55k insurance check to gut the house and 20k to re-sheetrock the break away walls under the house. I was there to give an estimate to redo the trim moulding that had to be removed in order to replace the sheetrock behind it.

So I go into the house that the man is about to have gutted. Now the roof was damaged... so there were small water stains here and there. Frankly... a little Kilz primer and dude would be back to normal. No major mold issues... no major damage. And the moulding in the house... all stain grade, polyurethane finished. Once it gets demo'ed there is no way it is going back up with a decent looking finish. Anything with a poly finish is in the same category as sheetrock... once there is any damage it never goes back to the way it was. Gut is telling me dude wants to remodel his house.... gets a little storm damage and now thinks he can talk insurance into footing the whole bill. He even fesses up to hiring a "private adjuster" that is going to get a % of whatever he gets from the insurer.

I go home and start writing up the bid... 3 pages in we're up to 30k labor and 12k materials to redo the door, window, and baseboard trim. Pimp house.

I should mention that I have a "no beach work" rule in my company and this upriver spit is looking more and more like a location that is doomed from the beginning... swampland... flood zone... never should have been built on...

Dude calls me, leaves a message: Oh... I need you to add in the custom kitchen... the "back sides" of the cabinets were damaged. Oh... and the custom wine rack... back side damage as well. And the upstairs cupola floor... that cannot be repaired, the whole thing needs replaced.

I was just in this house... the kitchen was A+... The wine rack, A+, the floor needed a board or two replaced; maybe.

I call him back, "I just want to let you know I cannot be involved in the project any longer. I wanted to help but intuition is steering me away. You're running an insurance scam and I want no part of it."

I am through with this crap. I have a life of productive things to do. I love to work and I do not care if I miss out on the high paying jobs. It is more important to me that the work I do does not slip into the sea as a pile of rubble.

I kept his $50 and never gave him his estimate. He's lucky I didn't call Lloyds of London; I hear they pay for such info.

Intuition will never steer you wrong,

Sri Oracle

posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 09:39 PM
Right now it is raining money in new Orleans. You are worried that it might not be ethical to pick some of that money up and stick it in your pocket.

What is being discussed here is not about New orleans. Its about you.

If you are asking for permission to become corrupt and profit off the misery of others, I can't tell you its OK to do that. I can't tell you its not OK either.

This is a question that can only be answered in your own heart and before your own God.

This is not about New Orleans, its about you.


posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 10:02 PM
I don't see this as a direct exploit of NO. I see it as the march back to greatness, and on this march of course somebody has to make a dollar. Is this unethical? How?

This has been one of the worst scenario's in a very long time, nothing but bad has came from here. Why shouldn't somebody get something from this? I mean NO will start to build itself back to greatness, and those who are working hard to do so are making a dollar.

Thats life!

If you personally went down their and caused these people direct harm, and then stood to profit off of their misfortune then yes, that would be completely wrong and unethical. Nobody here has done nothing wrong, it has been an act of mother nature that has caused such destruction, and now they need help.

This investment is a good business decision. If you do not invest, somebody else will. This will happen regardless. Yes people have suffered, and it probably isn't a great story to hear of people making alot of money off of this, but are the people of NO not benefitting from their investments?

Those who want to scream unethical and wrong just answer that, aren't both sides going to prosper here?

posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 10:36 PM
tell you what...
if i was hale & robust healthy as i was prior to 6 May 1997
i'd blaze a trail to NO, tomorrow.

what is it the ammount of $ that exceeds your living wage or what??

i personally do not think that pure profit actually exists,
for example the health hazards your exposed to are not counted as a liability until 'illness' or disease overcomes the worker/proprietor/profiteer..

? Should we rebuild NO?? because of potential rising sea levels or a likelyhood of repeated category 5 storms....well
Flood zones aren't condemmed and evacuated in the rest of the country,
Tornado Alley isn't denied building permits or licenses for trailer parks.

Mud slides, brush fires, avalanches, sink holes, all these risks exist most anywhere
Then, because of a need to have a piece of realestate, we are opting for 2nd & 3rd tier marginal land to build those dreamhomes & vacation houses & investment properties.

i like going to this NOLA website to read what the locals are saying or moaning about:
(i cannot post the forum address, but there is one,
and it includes replies from different wards & districts and the important concerns to those particular residents, and the gripes/snipes about the local govt)

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