Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Thoughts About New Orleans

In my earlier 8/31/2005 blog post, "Some Thoughts About New Orleans", I suggested that it made no economic sens to rebuild New Orleans in its historic location (which is below sea level), due to the extreme vulnerability of that location to future catastrophic events.

I was pleased to subsequently learn that I was not the only one who thought that way. Dennis Hastert, Republican House Speaker, recently made a similar observation. However, he didn't go quite as far as I would prefer. His press secretary said that Hastert wasn't suggesting that the city should be abandoned or relocated.

I agree that New Orleans should not be abandoned, but relocation is another matter. The only way I can think of that the current location could be made reasonably viable would be if the area was filled with enough soil to raise the entire city substantially above sea level, so that levees were no longer as crucial to the survival of the city. Even if that could be done in a cost-effective manner (and that's doubtful), its close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico would still make it extremely vulnerable to future hurricanes. It seems to me that moving the city further inland, onto higher ground which was further from damaging winds, would cost a lot less than rebuilding the city in its current location. And such a plan would protect the city more effectively from future catastrophes.

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