Monday, November 28, 2005

A swirl of self-contradiction in New Orleans.

Deroy Murdock wrote in Townhall Nearly three months since Hurricane Katrina battered this glorious city, it has become the capitol of the Catch-22. The multiplicity of chicken-and-egg scenarios here could feed every FEMA employee in town.

Why is FEMA still there. The mayor and the governor did such a bad job, why not leave them to dig themselves out.
Business owners who wish to re-open or expand to pre-Katrina levels face a daunting labor shortage. New Orleanians, finding jobs scarce, remain in exile. Shorthanded employers are reluctant to resume operations, so they stay shut, compounding joblessness. Workers desperately need housing.
A smart employer would buy some trailers and set them up somewhere, and provide a bus to take employees from the temporary housing to his business and back home to the trailers. Don't wait for the government to do something; do it so you can open your business.
Katrina harmed some 74 percent of local residences, 50,000 of which may be bulldozed, the Wall Street Journal reports. This ranges from modest wind damage, to mold-encrusted walls in structurally adequate homes, to the Lower Ninth Ward’s jaw-dropping obliteration. Countless houses there floated off their foundations before settling atop cars or street corners, sometimes blocks away. Restoring and creating residences, in turn, would be easier if carpenters and roofers themselves had accommodations.
The ninth-ward, which is 7 to 15 feet below sea level, should be bulldozed and once new levees have been built to protect the land above sea level, the old levees should be taken down and allow a new lake to form. Alternatively they could be converted into a huge park.
Tourism might fare better if hotels, restaurants, and nightspots were more abundant. They, of course, might open more quickly if visitors proliferated — which would be likelier if lodging were plentiful.
NO lodging should be built on any land that is below sea level.
Civic boosters here need to spread good news to attract conventioneers and venture capitalists, but emphasize bad news to keep aid coming. Fortunately (or not) preaching this contrary gospel is a snap.
I think they have had too much aid already. Let the venture capitalists evaluate what should be fixed and what should be built, totally from a business basis.
Though many places are closed, it is easy to enjoy the Big Easy. Spectacular music again streams out of Donna’s, Maison Bourbon, the Maple Leaf, and other venues. Meuxbar’s tilapia in parchment is splendid, as are Yo Mama’s cheddar burgers, and Herbsaint’s Black Angus meatloaf. Bourbon Street’s saloons remain temples of modesty and self-restraint. One block south, Royal Street’s antiques and objets d’ art glisten while the Carousel Bar lazily revolves within the Hotel Monteleone. Most local landmarks are surprisingly intact, and 716 of the 720 live oaks along stately St. Charles Avenue are as avuncular as ever.
Because they are built on land that is above sea level.
Such encouraging words, however, trivialize the vast needs that prevail here. Many returnees are in dire straits, as are tens of thousands of exiles. These Americans still require assistance. Their plight should keep the armies of compassion mobilized and, for better or worse, public relief flowing.
They need new houses, but Bush had the right idea. Give them government land (in the area, but above sea level) if they can come up with a mortgage to pay to build a house on it,

This frustrating circularity applies to flood control. Reinforcing the 300 miles of earthen levees and concrete floodwalls that shield New Orleans from surrounding waters is central to its recovery. “People aren’t willing to re-invest in New Orleans and in this area unless they know that their investments are protected by the levees,” says Steve Pettus, managing partner of Canal Street’s acclaimed Palace CafĂ©. He envisions a late-December reopening after he has repaired roof damage and replaced some $250,000 worth of what has become high-end Sonoma County and Loire Valley vinegar. “The United States has benefited from New Orleans…When it costs money to rebuild these levees, it’s not just an investment in New Orleans; it’s an investment in America.”
It depends on what the levees are going to protect. It is stupid to build them to Cat 5 level protecting land 7 to 15 feet below sea level, when if a Cat 5 storm went over New Orleans it would rain would fill the bowl, even if the levees hold. Rather only build on land that is above sea level, and just protect that land from the storm surge, and make sure you have drainage area that rain falling on the above sea level land can drain to.
..... Enhancing barriers from Category 3- to Category 5-level would allow maximum cyclonic prophylaxis. Naturally, it’s not that simple. A three-way tug of war links the competing needs to protect communities up and down the Mississippi River from spring floods by building levees, keeping the Big Muddy moving to facilitate shipping, and diverting it to allow its silt to replenish the Atchafalaya Basin and marshlands above and below New Orleans. Letting the river take its natural course each spring would flood homes and businesses in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes but rebuild the area’s fragile coastal defenses, though this could hinder economically vital port operations. Hemming the Mississippi between levees, however, speeds St. Bernard’s and Plaquemines’s disappearance and hastens the day when New Orleans finds itself below sea level with Gulf waves crashing regularly against its ever-steeper ramparts.
Don't mess with Mother Nature. Turn most of the land into farm land. When it floods the silt from the Mississippi will make it even that much better farmland.

6 comments:

doctorj2u said...

Gee, Thanks for deciding a city my family has been a part of for hundreds of years now doesn't deserve to exist. There is one small pump in the road though. People are coming back! What are you going to do. Let them all die. Give Louisiana what Texas receives in their offshore oil revenue, and we will be glad to pay for levee projects and coastal erosion projects ourselves.

Don Singleton said...

Gee, Thanks for deciding a city my family has been a part of for hundreds of years now doesn't deserve to exist.

I never said it does not deserve to exist. I just don't want my tax money spent trying to keep water out of land that is 7 to 15 feet below sea level.

There is one small pump in the road though. People are coming back!

I suspect you mean bump. As far as people coming back, if they want to return to a place without housing, without electricity to much of the area, and with few businesses open, they are welcome to return. I suspect they won't stay long.

What are you going to do. Let them all die.

If they have any sense, they will settle in cities that are above sea level.

Give Louisiana what Texas receives in their offshore oil revenue, and we will be glad to pay for levee projects and coastal erosion projects ourselves.

Texas has a much longer coast line than Louisiana, and I am not responsible for what the Louisiana legislature does.

doctorj2u said...

Don,
It is not gross oil revenue, it is % of local production. Louisiana gets less than 1 % as a result of a feud between the federal government and a racist politician (Leander Perez) in the 1920's. Texas gets 100%, Alaska gets 50%. New Mexico gets 40% for drilling on federal lands. This has to be passed in Congress. It is not a state issue. Even at 40 % we can fund the projects on our own. We almost got this passed BEFORE Katrina. Yesterday the dutch ambassador came to Louisiana and gave the citizens hope. His country is the size of Louisiana and half of the land mass is below sea level. They are protected by dykes and surge barriers that were put in after a terrible flood in 1953. 1900 people were killed. (As of yesterday we have lost 1076 from a failed substandard federal levee.) HOPE. You will never know (or at least I hope you never have to know) how important the is. Sad that we have to get that from the dreaded Europeans and not from our own government. And by the way, it is my tax money too. ($40,000 last year) I think you forgot that we are American citizens in Louisiana too. As Time magazine said "A city's pain is the nations shame." By the way, I have voted for President Bush twice and I am warning the Republicans that white anger is boiling on the Gulf coast against the government's ineptitude. The solid south might be a thing of the past if things don't start turning around.

Don Singleton said...

Texas gets 100%, Alaska gets 50%. New Mexico gets 40% for drilling on federal lands.

Are we talking about drilling in federal land in the state or off shore drilling? If Louisiana is only getting 1% from drilling on federal land in Louisiana then I agree you should get more. I would not even object if you got more for platforms off the Louisiana Coast.

Yesterday the dutch ambassador came to Louisiana and gave the citizens hope. His country is the size of Louisiana and half of the land mass is below sea level.

If his country chooses to spend its money on such dykes and surge barriers that is their business. I suspect other EU countries would not like it if he insisted the entire EU fund work on those dykes and surge barriers

And by the way, it is my tax money too.

I have no objection to Louisiana taxing its citizens for such work. I don't think your tax money should pay for infrastructure work in Oklahoma, nor do I think Oklahoma citizens should pay for infrastructure work in Louisiana.

white anger is boiling on the Gulf coast against the government's ineptitude.

You should be mad about the state and local government's ineptitude. Blanco and Nagin did a terrible job. Their ineptitude delayed federal aid for a few days, but that aid arrived. But if you are foolish enough to expect that the feds are going to provide the obscene aid package that Landrieu tried to get, you need to think again.

doctorj2u said...

Don,
Call Congressman Jindal for specifics. I have no more time for people with your hateful attitude. I just started reading your original post and saw "Why is FEMA still there?" and I thought what a waste of time dealing with you. I am ashamed of what the U.S. has become. I voted for President Bush twice; I listened to his speech in Jackson Square. Guess what? The tinfoil hat crowd was right. He lies. FEMA? You think they have been here? People have trouble getting paid flood insurance benefits they paid premiums for. FEMA is a joke. It is not just New Orleans either. The whole lower Mississippi and Louisiana coast is finally sick of the run around. The Republican Party better get ready because the solid south is slipping from their fingers. I have been called an "ultra-conservative". I have defended President Bush a zillion times. I have donated hundreds of dollars to Operation Give and the soldiers of Iraq. If you have lost me, you have lost a hell of a lot of people. And you have lost me.

Don Singleton said...

Call Congressman Jindal for specifics.

I dont know who Jindal is, but he is not my congressman. If he is yours, then I encourage you to call him

I have no more time for people with your hateful attitude.

What is there about my attitude that you find hateful? I just dont want the entire country to fund infrastructure projects in your state, when there are infrastructure projects in their own states that need funding. Infrastructure should be funded by the state, not the Feds.

I just started reading your original post and saw "Why is FEMA still there?" and I thought what a waste of time dealing with you.

Why are they still there?

I am ashamed of what the U.S. has become. I voted for President Bush twice; I listened to his speech in Jackson Square. Guess what? The tinfoil hat crowd was right. He lies.

I listened to the speech too, and thought it made a lot of sense. I would much rather have the feds provide land above sea level to people to build houses on if they can come up with a mortgage to build a house on it, than to waste billions building up levees to protect land 7 to 15 feet below sea level, which will still flood from the rainfall if a cat 5 storm goes over New Orleans, even if the levees hold.

FEMA? You think they have been here? People have trouble getting paid flood insurance benefits they paid premiums for.

I doubt that is true

FEMA is a joke. It is not just New Orleans either. The whole lower Mississippi and Louisiana coast is finally sick of the run around. The Republican Party better get ready because the solid south is slipping from their fingers. I have been called an "ultra-conservative". I have defended President Bush a zillion times. I have donated hundreds of dollars to Operation Give and the soldiers of Iraq. If you have lost me, you have lost a hell of a lot of people. And you have lost me.

Sorry to hear that. The Dems certainly are not going to keep you safe.