New Orleans

Some discussion about the subject can be found in these two threads:

The French Quarter and most of the Garden District are on the high ground next to the Mississippi River, and most of their nice historic buildings did OK, or at least that’s how it looked when I was there in January. (The oldest part of the city is along the Mississippi. Paradoxically, the land along the river, and also a thin strip along Lake Pontchartrain, is the ‘high ground’ in N.O.; it’s the land in between that’s below sea level.)

I’ve long been in favor of a zone along our ocean and gulf coasts where anyone living or building there would be officially on notice that the government would NOT help them rebuild. I think that if you’re within 1/4 mile, at least, of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf of Mexico, if a natural disaster should befall your property, you’re on your own.

But you know what would happen if that proposal was enacted, right?

I’m a banker and moving with my company. I know Tennessee is seeing serious growth, espcially from Gulf Coast residents moving there. We went to Nashville a few months after the storm and I was depressed when I left knowing what was waiting for me back here.
The problem with the city being below sea level is that decades ago it was protected from hurricanes by the marsh land. Now the marsh protection zone is almost gone from a combination of oil companies cutting it all to hell and flood control of the river but mainly the oil companies. When oil exploration really got going, the oil companies simply cut canals all over the marsh that began killing the plants. As the marsh has eroded, the city is closer to the Gulf and feeling more of the impact of storms. NPR had a good story on it a couple of days ago.

There was a joke e-mail making the rounds years ago saying “you know you’re from New Orleans if…”. One of the reason was, “You like your rice and politics dirty”. I like my rice dirty but the dirty politics and politicians are just too much now when I see how badly it is hurting the areas recovery.

As for national attention, I don’t blame anyone for New Orleans not being front and center on everyones list of worries. Kids are being killed in Iraq every day along with many other things that should take center stage. The area should be helping itself a hell of a lot more than it is doing. Every day I hear comments about FEMA and other agencies not doing enough. Working in banking I see the money pouring in and being pissed away. You could give many of these people a million each and they would piss and moan about the amount while wasting the money.

Maybe it’s seeing the large number of lazy people who will simply sit around waiting for someone else to solve all the problems or the corrupt government. I can’t stand this place anymore. For the first time in my life I cringe(sometimes) when I tell people I’m from here. Next hurricane the surrounding states will probably close the borders and turn everyone back at gunpoint.

Luckily the taxes and royalties paid to the government went to shore up the levee to make up for the loss of the marsh…Oh, I see…

It seems I have identified a ‘bone of contention’ here. :wink:

Heh. That city’s government appears to have been totally corrupt, and who do you think was first in line?

Nagin is a tool.

Having said that, I think it is criminal that things have not changed in NO.

Nagin has been fighting corruption since he came into office. While it’s quite possible that a person who fights corruption is guilty of it himself, I’d sure like to see some actual evidence from anyone making that claim. Have any?

I heard that houses in some parts of NOLA are skyrocketing in value-why so? Is it because the supply of housing is so reduced? Nagin keep talking about his chocolate city-is this evidence that the poor of NO are being pushed out?

A good source of news from new orleans is the Times Picayune’s website. Registration (free) required to read the articles.

My house went up about 40% after the hurricane because we had no flood damage and only minor wind damage. Large parts of New Orleans East and St Bernard Parish(borders Orleans parish) are not habitable so the displaced people are buying homes in other areas with their insurance money. We are trying to go to close before next hurricane season ramps up on the assumption that a scare/evacuation will probably kill the market(not to mention a direct hit).

The poor are not being pushed out, they were flooded out. Many of the poorest places such as the 9th ward were completely destroyed.

I would not pin corruption on Nagin but his handling of things since the storm has not been the best.

I have a good friend in New Orleans I’ve been worried about, as he’s been more uncommunicative than usual since moving back after Katrina (he’s lucky to have a job and an apartment, but still . . .). I sent him the OP and wait to hear what he says . . .

This thread makes me very sad. New Orleans is one of my favorite places to visit. I used to have occasion to travel through NOLA on my way from Texas to Georgia and back. I was always excited whenever we stopped in New Orleans because it had such a wonderful sense of intrigue, spirit and adventure. I have a feeling that if I returned, I might be disappointed at what I found. I cannot imagine how the inhabitants feel.

I sincerly hope that someone somewhere finds the resources and the drive to clean up New Orleans and can make it better. I know the city has always had its problems but it holds a special place in my heart.

you’re aware that NOLA is a pretty fair ways away from the Gulf - a good bit more than a mile- right? It’s on a rvier and topped by a big ass lake. It’s not seaside.

Suppose the worst happens, and another force 3 hurricane hits NOLA dead on: what then? Will there be another Suoerdome disaster, people on hosetops, etc.? Ray Nagin denouncing FEMA? I ask because I don’t see the federal Government getting another huge chunk of cash to fix NOLA>>

The Superdome will no longer be used as a shelter of last resort. Current comments are that everyone leaves, period.

The worst hit areas are largely unoccupied now and many of those residents scattered across the US. If the topping of a leveee or breach occured in the same places (17th street canal, etc.), then you’d have a lot of empty flooded houses. The flooding in the quarter and garden district, though pronounced, was nothing compared to what it was in the lower ninth ward.

Interestingly, it was said that the levees were supposed to be able sustain a direct hit from a category 3 hurricane the first time, and they didn’t even get that but failed nonetheless.

If you will re-read my previous posts you will see that I am referring to the Mississippi Coast.

I’m very well aquainted with the geography of the area, including the Mississippi River, Lake Ponchartrain, and New Orleans, thankyouverymuch. I’ve only just lived right here next door all my life, have family living in New Orleans, and have been in floodplain analysis (as a Civil Engineer) for twenty years.

The NOLA levees were built to (allegedly) sustain a fast-moving category 3. And while it’s easy to blame the current city administration for corruption problems, the biggest corruption issue with the levees has long been with the levee board, who would take a large cut of any federal monies before anything went to building levees. How else could you explain a levee board building itself its own big fancy marina on Lake Pontchartrain?

Nagin was doing a great job of fighting corruption in city government before Katrina. Unfortunately, he apparently was completely overwhelmed by the chaos the storm created, and although he had a power base of white folks and wealthier black folks, he has since succeeded in alienating that power base to the point where he’s going to have a very hard time getting anything done, even assuming he knows what to do at this point. I don’t think anyone does, short of filling in all the canals dug through the swamps that have succeeded in eroding and destroying a huge part of what was for many years NOLA’s buffer zone against storms. Without coastal wetlands restoration, there won’t be a NOLA in another 50 years no matter how high people build levees, I fear.

I’m sorry you’re leaving, The Long Road. I lived just across the river in Jefferson Parish – Terrytown – for the four years just prior to Katrina, and fell in love with the whole area. (And to confirm speculation about real estate prices, the house I sold a month before Katrina would sell today for probably 30-40% more than we sold it for since it was unflooded and undamaged.) New Orleans is a truly unique place in a world that has fewer and fewer unhomogenized cities, and it would be a cultural loss of indescribable magnitude to lose it. But without someone the national level willing to step up and take massive, immediate steps to restore coastal wetlands, almost anything else done at the local level will become moot in only a few years, I’m afraid.

I wish you and your family happiness wherever you end up. And I hope that someday you’ll be able to return to New Orleans and help combat the “brain drain.”

Another interesting thing about this “category” business - it is more or less referring to wind speed, not storm surge; the storm surge associated with Katrina was significantly greater than expected. Those in the biz are now suggesting that a different categorization be used to describe potential damage risks according to storm surge instead of wind speed.

Only if you extend that idea to those living along major faults, tornado alley, area fequently burned to a crisp by wildfires, along the Mississippi river flood plain and in and around the volcanoes in the NW. So… Where is it safe to build?