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OC 09-01-2005 03:48 PM

Should we rebuild New Oreans?
What is happening right now in the aftermath of Katrina I think must be beyond all of our wildest nightmares. May God give all those suffering folks some sence of dignity. And may we as a nation put all our resourses we have left into helping.

But I have concerns about the rebuilding of New Orleans. Yes it needs to be rebuilt but my concern is that if we pour Billions and billions into this area will it go again soon. It seems the hurricane seasons are becoming more and more severe.
I have been hearing reports today on the radio that New Orleans could have been spared from such devistating damages if the land south of the city all the way to the Gulf which is a lot of miles had been left in its natural state. Mangroves and native vegitation were cleared 80 some odd years ago. The entire Delta is one big ditch now. Most of the ditches were made to drain flood water from the north but worked in reverse dirrection with the storm surge.

My question is do any of you have any ideas what should be done to protect the rebuilding of New Orleans? Must we get the surrounding environment back in a stablized natural state. Should we call in the Army Corps to build bigger levies? Maybe a combination of both. Better yet maybe move the city 50 mile north which might just happen naturally if people and business does not ever move back.

Moonlight 09-01-2005 05:07 PM

Demarie and I have been having this disscusion fro several days.
My first question is why did they build there in the first place if it was below sea level and if it was not below sea level how did it get that way? I was talking to Topwater about his gear for sale and the subject of the below sealevel thing came up, he claimed that the place has been slowly sinking and did not start out below sea level. Oh well between sinking and rising seas levels it seems to me like it might be a good time to move for higher ground.

nmbrowncom 09-01-2005 05:09 PM

hi oc, hope married life is agreeing with you. you know,about 40% of the netherlands is below sea level. the dutch are therefor considered the master dyke and levies designers in the world. in fact the person in charge of such things in new orleans is dutch. from what i have read, the new orleans levies are quite old and built to withstand a category 3 hurricane. from that point of view, they held up well. however as some dutch experts have been saying, the 19th century technology and the utter failure of the american government to upgrade despite decades of warnings made the disaster inevitable. hence, it seems to me that ythe technology is there. as for the money aspect---if we can rebuild europe, japan, iraq and all the others why not our own?

flytyer 09-01-2005 06:03 PM


As large a disaster and tragedy New Orleans is going through right now, my personal thoughts are that having had the dikes built to allow the city to expand into the Gulf was a mistake in the first place. Because of this, I think it would be far better to instead of rebuilding all these area in New Orleans below sea level once again to have them build anew on land that is above sea level. However, knowing how human nature usually works, I would be very surprised if that happened.

juro 09-01-2005 07:07 PM

Having watched the coverage with great sympathy, I have to say I was truly saddened and would give my time off in a minute to help if I thought I could make a difference. If I were a charter boat captain or a boat maker in the area I would donate time / craft to the folks, shuttle people to safety, and distribute food. Water is a real issue, perhaps a distillery or bottler of spring water could pay back the ridiculous profits they make on small bottles of water back to the people. Car makers are donating 25 or 50 trucks to the Red Cross, and medical firms are donating first aid and hygiene kits. Perhaps every raft maker in the US could ship inexpensive and highly portable rafts to the area for families trying to move what little memories they have from the muddy flooded streets. General foods - send granola bars, peanut butter, power bars and other easily consumed nutrition. If every company in America did one little thing the victims would fare significantly better. It's encouraging to see the support directed toward the area.

:confused: I am a little surprised that our government leaders have not seemed to take a prominent role in this affair as of yet. I could be mistaken but usually politicians involvement in anything comes with the utmost fanfare and propaganda and I haven't heard any chest beating about aid or mobilization of troops toward the cause. If anyone can elighten me I would be all ears.

Paxton 09-01-2005 07:37 PM

What stikes my as odd is that the people traped in these areas have no clue as to the amount of devastation nor even where to go and what is would seem to me that flyovers and the dropping of info leaflets would go a long way in giving these folks some sense security and direction. The lack of info is obviously contributing to increased frustration, anger and despair.
As for rebuilding....I don't believe that the Dutch experience hurricanes...maybe that, plus their expertise keeps them make no sense to me, given the that hurricanes frequent the area of the gulf, that building below sea level makes any sense.

Eric 09-01-2005 08:13 PM

Lots of interesting ideas here.

The Dutch angle is a good one -- maybe the historical portion of the City, the part that is an national park (Jackson Square, the Cathedral, the French Quarter, Preservation Hall) could be restored and rebuilt. I understand that these areas suffered less damage than other portions of the City anyway. A modern system of dikes and levees could keep the water out in event of future hurricanes. Public transportation serving the historic district could be added.

The rest of the City -- Superdome et alia; residential areas; Garden District -- could be assessed on a building by building/block by block/neighborhood by neighborhood basis. What's worth rebuilding, by some criterion, could be rebuilt in situ. The rest of the growth and rebuilding could occur out toward the airport, I guess.

The bottom line is, if there is to be a Nawlens where it once was, there needs to be a massive and modern system of dikes and levess built to withstand the many severe hurricances and rising sea levels we will see in the future.

Nawlens is a spirit -- in music, in the sheer joy of living, in style, in architecture, in cusine, in specialness in our country -- it's without peer. I cannot imagine a United States without Basin Street or Bourbon Street, or Mardi Gras.

Let the good times roll (Laissez les bons temps roulez) again!

Rex Steelhead

nmbrowncom 09-01-2005 09:07 PM

great thread. picking up on juro's comments, it's difficult to fathom just how inept the government's response haS been particularly in light of the vast history of warnings that new orleans is so vulnerable to just such a catastrophe and the multitude of time in which katrina was threatenning. i can't help but wonder as to why the government did not put any meaningful assets in place in the days prior to katrina striking especially when the worse was contemplaed. are they that out of touch? scary. what does this say about our leaders and their decisions and analytical process? i guess i'm ranting a bit but it's mind boggling

flydoc 09-01-2005 09:08 PM

When they do rebuild (and they will), I agree that it is equally/more important to address the loss of wetlands along the Gulf Coast, not simply as a buffer against the effects of storms, but also as critical habitat for my winter quarry (quack....) and many other game/nongame species...

juro 09-01-2005 09:24 PM


Eric said: Nawlens is a spirit -- in music, in the sheer joy of living, in style, in architecture, in cusine, in specialness in our country -- it's without peer. I cannot imagine a United States without Basin Street or Bourbon Street, or Mardi Gras.
Eric -

You've hit the nail on the head. We could not be who we are without somehow reinstating this indellible piece of our heritage. Thanks for bringing a light of renewal to the situation, however distant at this time.

Once we get past the restoration of life, safety and comfort - I have complete confidence that we will get back to the serious business of restoring this cultural hotspot in the American experience. Hopefully with more 'Dutchmen'.

I'll contact you offline about a potential visit to your homewaters this fall...

flytyer 09-01-2005 11:13 PM

I remember seeing on the news Saturday afternoon that the mayor of New Orleans issued an evacuation order for the whole city and that the governor issued an order for the folks to evacuate in the areas in and around the city. However, human nature being what it is, only 80% of the residents took heed and left while the other 20% stayed behind.

I've seen a few of those very brief "interviews" with some of those who stayed behind and they were saying things like, "I never thought it would be this bad. I have been through huricanes before and they never did anything like this." And one of my favorites, "We decided to take a nap for a short time to let the roads empty a bit and I guess we fell asleep becaue when I woke up the water was already coming into the bedroom. My husband and I had to go up on the roof to not be drowned."

I suppose what I getting at is the good people of New Orleans had been told to leave; however, like usual, there are far too many people who don't believe it will be too bad or believe the government is just trying to show them who the boss is. I also think that some of the folks who stayed did so for the possibility of looting and getting a lot of stuff if it did prove to be as bad as predicted.

I've seen folks complaining that the New Orleans police and firemen haven't been doing enough to find survivors; that the police and other public safety people are not picking up bodies of loved ones when survivors are with the body; that the police are doing enough to get drinking water and food to people still in the various neighborhoods; and that the police are spending too much time looking for survivors instead of stopping the looting. Those poor police, firemen, and national guardsmen trying to do all this have an impossible task at the moment because they can't do it all.

Roads are impassible, bridges are out, power lines are down, buildings are down or falling down, trees are down or falling down, and water is 20'-30-' deep in much of the city making it virtually impossible for rescue or other operations using vehicles to move into, let alone around in, most of the city. And the downed power lines, power poles, trees, buildings, and those falling down or in danger of falling down make it extremely difficult and very dangerous to get into most of the city in small boats.

I saw a report this evening that one of the dike breaches was plugged through using military helicoptersand and that most of the water coming through that breach was stopped from coming through. This will allow that part of the city to lower the water level; however, since it is below sea level it won't simply drain away, it will have to be pumped out. And since it is going to be weeks is not months for power to be restored to the city, the water will have to be pumped out by diesel or gasoline powered pumps flown in with helicopters or barged in. Unfortunately, barges cannot get into these areas yet because of all the debris, damaged and broken boats, oil rigs, pieces of buildings, etc. As the mayor of New Orleans has said, it is going to be 12 to 16 weeks before people will be able to return to the city, and at least a month before buildings, roads, and infastructure damage can be assessed.

I've seen several news reports that 10,000 to 15,000 national guard troups have been deployed and that they are in the greater New Orleans area at this time. An aircraft carrier has been deployed to the New Orleans area to function as a command center because nearly all of the city is under water and has been pretty much decimated.

I've also saw the the American Red Cross has gotten $15 million in donations from individuals as of noon today for the New Orleans relief effort.


I agree wholeheartedly, if corporate America would donate supplies, cash, and/or manpower to help clean up this huge disaster and to help the people of New Orleans, it would be a huge help. Perhaps we will see some of this occur. My prayer is for people accross the US to rise to the occasion and show compassion and mercy to those who have been made refugees and to provide money, manpower, food, clothing, building materials, and equipment to the city and people that have been so decimated.

Unfortunately, it seems like greed is already rearing its ugly head in the form of price gouging for food, motel rooms, etc. for the now homeless people of New Orleans and the Mississipi Gulf cities and towns. I've also seen fuel prices going well over $3.00/gallon in places like North Dakota. And my wife's sister who lives in Chicago sent us a photo today of a gas station in her neighborhood on Chicago's west side with gasoline prices of $5.87 for reg, $5.97 for mid-grade, and $6.17 for premium. I sincerely hope the folks who ingage in price gouging are prosecuted for such dispicable and greedy behavior.

acklinsboy 09-02-2005 12:12 AM

Certainly the whole world grieves and must do what we can to help a people who do so much for the world.

On Sunday there will be prayers. Additionally, my church will be collecting what monies we can for donation to the US Red Cross.

However, as one looking in, the response is what frightens me. I don't see the know how or is it the bureaucracy of Homeland Security. Sometimes pride gets in the way. Maybe, this is a good time for the UN's help.

Many have done a lot more, and a lot more quickly with a lot less. I pray in the hours to come the people who need help will get it.

Finally, regarding the order to leave the city. I trust my leaders have learnt from from this disaster. The most vulnerable must be assisted in leaving the areas of danger and provided for. Busing (etc) is a must before a hurricane strikes. Certainly, policitians would have had buses lined up if it was a polling day, for they understand that many don't have the resources. The twenty percent that stayed were the ones who could not leave without help. (i.e. infants, the ill ones, the elderly and the poor).

There is a lot of blame to go around. There was talk for years that the system would not hold in a major event as was unfolded.

God bless America!

bd12345678 09-02-2005 08:30 AM


However, human nature being what it is, only 80% of the residents took heed and left while the other 20% stayed behind.
While I do believe there were those "hurricane hardened" citizens who made the decision to stay, it also seems there were many who hadn't the means to leave. Whether it meant a lack of transportation, money, place of refuge or certain disability- even ignorance- some people just couldn't leave.
Instead of blaming these people, it must be realized that many were left behind. What about those unable to leave hospitals? Or the dedicated workers who stayed with their patients? They need help more than ever; it upsets me to hear any criticism on their behalf. Not now.

OC 09-02-2005 09:53 AM

I agree with you 100%. I don't think any of us understand what is like to be so poverty stricken, very sick and alone or so committed to those who need your help. What were there 300,000 left behind in NO? Some were stupid yes, idiots even. But what I see on TV is the lifeless bodies of the elderly, the sick and those who are invalids. What I see is survivors with little or no skills in a thing called life.
This should be a great lesson to all of us who call this country our home. The lesson should be that our culture is a proud one but is truely fragile one also. We have built a culture here in America that is so unreal, so based on materialisim that it has blinded us as a nation, as families and indivivduals. I'm not talking about goverment, I'm talking about its people as a whole. Be you rich or poor the majority of Americans have become so dependent on the machine over the last 40 years or so that when a disaster happens we honestly do not no how to respond, how to survive. I often wonder what will happen if this country hits the economic skids equal to the great depression. Will we have the skills, the stomach, the moral conviction to stick together or will see New Orleans nation wide? I will not critisize any goverment be it local, state or federal at this time, there will be plenty of time later. I am thankful for all the help pooring in from all over the world and that many of us are sending money for aid. But why has this happened in the first place? Mother nature does pretty much what it wants and we have forgotten entirely how to live with her. We play Russian Roulett on a daily basis, all of us.

flytyer 09-02-2005 01:16 PM


That is exactly what my much more wordy tome was getting at. We Americans as a whole do not heed the distruction nature can wrought. Like you, I cannot fault what government did or has done in the first few days after this unprecedented disaster in our country.

We have become so dependent on someone else (usually our citizens look to the government) doing things for us that we don't heed nature and the potential losses if we ignore nature and go on our merry way because of what the government has done, whether it is to put up dikes or says our buildings are earthquake proof. Thus, the Russian Roulette has even higher stakes and results in huge losses of life.

Please understand, that I have been moved to tears when I see the reports. I heard one today that said FEMA is in need of approximately 20,000 body bags! That is a huge loss of life. And this doesn't even speak of the problem of how to house the million people who cannot move back to their homes in the city and the surrounding area for many months if not years. My heart breaks for them.

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