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Rebuild New Orleans

Rebuild or Abandon New Orleans?

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New Orleans is a quirky, incredible part of our american history, culture, and architecture. Rebuild it -- maybe on stilts or higher ground the next time!
 
Once the water is drained, whether it will take weeks or months I don't know, all of the devasted homes will likely need to be razed and then rebuilt. I believe that a large percentage of the population will decide that the idea of rebuilding their homes in such a vulnerable area is just impractical. I do think that, as is the case in the wake of most disasters, many will want nothing more than to build another house in the place that they call home -- New Orleans. Truthfully, I think that this question can best be answered with another question: Is hurricane season over for New Orleans?
 
In my opinion, the following should be done:

Seeing as a lot of the structures are already devastated by flooding and structual failure, they should be torn down. Those that are salvagable should be readied for jacking up for phase two.

Phase two involves all the strip mining operations across the country. Every operation produces tons of rocks and dirt that are just going to be carted off anyway. That material should be shipped to New Orleans pronto for phase three.

Phase three is the Galveston-esque raising of the town above sea level and up to a height of about 20 to 30 feet. The dirt and rocks acquired will help fill in an area that will be protected by a major seawall of approximate height in relation to the new city ground level. The salvaged buildings should be jacked up and be placed on top of the new solid ground. Utilities can then be placed underground in conduits (perhaps pressurized with air pumps to keep water out) to avoid having utlities such as electricity from being completely wiped out in the event of a major disaster.

Phase Four is rebuilding the city. With the city raised and brought up from being below sea level (and being able to withstand most surges in the future), the city should survive for a much longer time than if they just rebuild after the water is cleared.

However, if the project is too costly to consider, then build at your own risk. Either that or abandon the city altogether and be done with it, makes no difference to me.
 
I think before you rebuild you have to answer the question "Should ANY building be done ANYWHERE along vulnerable coastlines?".
 
My thoughts are abandoning...this is a liability for the future of America. This will end up costing taxpayers a whole lot more money. I'm not say give up rescue operations and such though.

He who builds his house on sand vs. he who builds his house on a solid foundation...

I opt for the solid foundation.
 
Truth is they always build and rebuild. As long as the federal government bails them out and insurance companies insure this will continue. I have heard with all the Florida hurricanes of recent years and with so many insurance companies going out of business it is getting more difficult and expensive to insure in these areas. Keep in mind that it is also always taxpayer money that bails out these situations. I think some rules and guidelines should be established about building along coastlines. Granted we still have to have ports for trade.
 
New Orleans is such a huge city, that I don't think it's practical to really say that they should just ditch the city... That's 1.5 million people, millions of jobs, etc, that are involved. There's no place for those folks to go. At least rebuilding New Orleans will provide jobs for those who will undoubtedly need them.

On a somewhat related note... From WWLTV.com:
Jeff Parish President. Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month.
http://www.wwltv.com/

How are these folks going to afford to not work for one month? How about how to afford living in hotels for one month? Can't really cook kitchen food, so eating out for one month? There will need to be a ton of federal emergency money to provide these folks.
 
It's a moot point. The city will absolutely be rebuilt. 0% chance of any other outcome. It will look different, for sure, but it will be rebuilt.

While I agree in principle with the insanity of building a house, let alone a whole city, in such a vulnerable position, I think anyone who seriously suggests abandonment is massively misreading human nature. This area has a very, very long history and culture. It prides itself on being one of the most vibrant parts of the United States, the birthplace of jazz. People don't just walk away from that.

On top of which, in situations like this, many people take on a seige/war mentality, us vs. them (in this case, the "them" is mother nature and the elements). Irrational though it is, to many, abandoning would be tantamount to declaring defeat, and emotionally they absolutely cannot do that. (In fact, I think that's why a certain percentage of folks always choose to ride it out rather than evac -- they view the storm as the enemy, and evacuating as cowardly retreat.)

I actually heard this exact sentiment from someone in Biloxi or Gulfport on the evening news earlier. They showed someone hoisting an American flag into a tree, and this woman who had lost her house said "We've lost this battle, but not the war." She clearly planned to rebuild.

Meanwhile, my 6 year old son asks me why they're putting up an American flag... and I had to try to explain the completely irrational yet real connection for many people between natural disaster and patriotism.
 
I don't think that alot of you realize what exactly rebuilding will involve. Almost every single building in the affected area will have to either be demolished or completely stripped to the frame and rebuilt. By the time that the rebuilding process can begin, with the floods and exposure due to roof and window failure, so much mold and rot will be in place that this will be the only possible solution. The entire flooded area will have to be cleaned up for hazardous waste, chemicals, petrolium products, and human and animal remains. Multiple cities infrastructures will have to be completely rebuilt, including power, sewer, water, and road and highway systems. Then, all of the business that will have gone bankrupt during the rebuilding time will have to be replaced. The cities main source of revenue, tourism, is gone for an undeterminable period of time. And this is just a few of the problems facing the rebuilding effort. And before any of this can begin, you have to stop the water from coming in, and get it all pumped back out.

All of this...just to have another hurricane come through the year after the rebuilding is finished.

Move the city to the Northshore. Best plan of action.
 
I don't think that alot of you realize what exactly rebuilding will involve. Almost every single building in the affected area will have to either be demolished or completely stripped to the frame and rebuilt. By the time that the rebuilding process can begin, with the floods and exposure due to roof and window failure, so much mold and rot will be in place that this will be the only possible solution. The entire flooded area will have to be cleaned up for hazardous waste, chemicals, petrolium products, and human and animal remains. Multiple cities infrastructures will have to be completely rebuilt, including power, sewer, water, and road and highway systems. Then, all of the business that will have gone bankrupt during the rebuilding time will have to be replaced. The cities main source of revenue, tourism, is gone for an undeterminable period of time. And this is just a few of the problems facing the rebuilding effort. And before any of this can begin, you have to stop the water from coming in, and get it all pumped back out.

I agree with Chris on this one. Every building in town is flooded and will be that way for quite some time. The wet buildings will be cooking in the hot sun festering some really nasty mold and other interesting critters. Most homes will be a total loss. I don't know how many houses are there but let's say 100,000. Now if we assume $100,000 per house we're talking $10,000,000,000. That's ten bilion with plenty more to be found in the burbs. Throw in the apartments and businesses and that figure should easily double. It's time to cut the losses and move. If possible, save the historic buildings and move them to the new plat. After this is done the levies can be permanently removed and the area can ecologically restore itself which will limit future storm damage. All this will cost a tremendous amount of money carried largely on the backs of the taxpayer but not much nore than to 100% rebuild in the current location. This is the opportunity to build a better, cleaner, safer city.
 
An LSU scientist speculated earlier on CNN that a massive tent city will go up on the North Shore of the lake. More than a million people will have no place to live for a very long time, and they won't all want to leave the area entirely; most won't have the money to relocate far away in any case. Many of the New Orleans residents I know would never consider living anywhere else. They love their home and their region, like most of us.

It would not surprise me if a new city doesn't emerge from that "tent city," much like new Palestinian towns grew in and around the refugee camps there. This could be a possible 'new' New Orleans. Who knows.
 
I can't imagine rebuilding in the traditional sense. In fact, any attempt to do so would be incredibly stupid and a collossal waste of money. If they are going to "rebuild," it shouldn't even be considered unless they are going to literally raise the city on a thirty feet of bedrock and sand. The whole "bowl" situation must be abandoned, and the current city buried forever.

The question is, can the insurance industry survive this?
 
The question is, can the insurance industry survive this?

Insurance companies don't insure against floods that come from the ground up...like in New Orleans. Only the federal goverment insures against this through the National Flood Insurance Program.

The big question is if they rebuild will anybody re-insure the area?
 
That's an interesting point... Aren't most "dollar figure damages" that we see associated with storms for the "insured loss"? For example, Andrew's ~$25 billion, wasn't that for insured losses? If so, assuming most of New Orleans isn't insured for flooding, won't the dollar figure amounts of damage from this hurricane be hugely understated in comparison to the actual amount of loss, seeing how almost all of New Orleans damage will likely be flood related.
 
That's right. Most of the figures you see are for insured losses. Actual losses are obvioiusly much higher and far reaching.
 
Insurance companies don't insure against floods that come from the ground up...like in New Orleans. Only the federal goverment insures against this through the National Flood Insurance Program.
A significant portion of the destruction has nothing to do with flooding. It's "hurricane damage," not to mention the fire, vandalism, and other causes of loss.
 
With insurance it doesn't matter. Damage caused by wind, rain, and fire will be covered by your policy. Damage caused by flooding will not be covered. I don't know how they sort out the difference, but they do. Unless of course you participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

I'm not sure about looting. Destruction caused by war and riots is often not covered. Looting may be considered a riot.

I don't know the details about every insurance policy, but I do know what they generally cover.

Storm surge would also not be covered by a standard policy, you would need to be in the NFIP to be covered for that.
 
Maybe it's human nature to feel like we haven't been beat by nature, and to take pride in our culture/society. But, isn't that pretty foolhardy? Haven't we learned our lesson? The forces of nature are much stronger than our pride, as was evidenced by the many who perished simply because they did not heed the warning.

The city of New Orleans has been humbled and brought to its knees. It is time for them to think circumspectly, and rebuild on higher ground.

Gabe
 
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