Friday, December 16, 2005

A Common Sense View at the New Orleans Disaster

Here is a link to a posting on the WizBang Blog that takes unique approach to describing the causes of the flooding in New Orleans. Katrina may have made the conditions suitable for the flooding, but the root cause of the flooding is mismanagement from all levels of government from the local levy board to FEMA. I do think this article gives an interesting perspective into the situation. What do you think?


Bryon Rogers said...

I have to agree. People are saying "it's not our fault because the levee could only hold up to a category 3 storm," but that information would've best been used in the hands of the many New Orleans citizens more than a day before the storm hit.

BlackLabelAxe said...

I hate it that so much property was destroyed there, and so many people got hurt or died, but you can't justify building a barrier for a worst-case scenario in New Orleans. With no economy to speak of, how could you explain spending billions of dollars so that people can live below sea level? The concept of a city below sea level is doomed from the start. I promise you, as a civil engineer here, the cost of making this city fit for humans is and will continue to be astronomical. If new levees are constructed, they're not going to be able to cover Nola as we know it. They need to let the swamp have some of it back to save the rest of the city. Building those levees aggrivates both downstream and upstream flooding, and greatly advances the destruction of coastal wetlands. You have no idea how much environmental damage the city of New Orleans does just by maintaining its below sea level location. Thousands of acres of wetlands (and endangered species) are dissapearing every year. Not all of this is due to one city's levees, but all the levees on the Mississippi are collecting a mortal toll on the environment.

Nola's situation is a very tough balancing act. On one hand, you have to save people's lives, and as much property as you can. On the other hand, the engineering costs are beyond outrageous, and you're literally destroying the environment by doing it. Playing the blame game over something like this will not help anybody, but it will waste hours and hours of endless debate, and thousands of pages in newspapers, making it the perfect topic for politicians.

BigNewsDay said...

Yes Axe, but even if New Orleans was above sea level, it would have most likely flooded during Katrina. The water level isn't what flooded the town, but the fact that the levee failed is what flooded the town. I do agree that towns should not be built under sea level. We can blame that one on the French (Damn cheese-eating surrender monkeys.)Very good points about the effect cities are having on our environment. Thanks Axe!