Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thoughts About New Orleans

The parts of New Orleans that flooded during Katrina, was built on drained swamps that required a levee to keep the waters of Lake Pontchartrain from filling back in. The Old part of the city was built on the natural levee that was built up over the centuries by the Mississippi River.

The flooding like that of Katrina had happened before, for example, the Crescent City had similar flooding after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The big difference then was the city then still had a viable middle class, which was mostly independent self reliant. That middle class mostly disappeared long ago and has been replaced by people who have been dependent on the welfare state.

New Orleans was a great tragedy and the loss of human life was horrible and terrible and this kind of tragedy should never happen again in that city. For New Orleans to survive as a major American city this sort of catastrophy must be made a near impossibility. She will need to have levees and locks that are state of the art and on par with what is found in a place like Holland. If that is not done than the city should shrink to the higher ground in the older parts of the city which are nearer the River.

For much of my childhood and early teens I lived 20 miles up river of the city and we too lived between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain on high ground near the River. After about a mile from the river the high ground disappeared and the back swamp began and the swamp continued all the way to the lake, jast as was once found in Orleans Parish.

New Orleans needs two things to once again be a great city. It needs good levees and locks and just as importantly it needs a population that is more middle class and self reliant.

Coram Deo,


GumboFilé said...

I could be wrong but I don't think Betsy was nearly as catastrophic as Katrina. I don't think the city was under water for as long. I don't think the pumps failed. That's the big difference.

Cajun Huguenot said...

I do believe you are correct about the pumps, but Betsey was pretty bad and the Ninth Ward and other parts did flood during Betsy just as they did with Katrina.

I do believe the cities demographic is also very important. New Orleans had become a city who's middle class inhabitants had mostly fled the city after Betsy.

A large part of her inhabitants had become people dependent on the state to supply thier needs.

That is a big difference, but has nothing to do with rebuilding the city. I think it would be terrible to rebuild the city without first building first rate levees and locks that could withstand a Cat 5 storm.

They need to do it right (which would be very expensive) or shrink the city.