Originally Posted by willwren
This topic is straying off topic, but I think that'* a good thing right now.
Rebuilding would be stupid. It will happen again. And I think the main reason the help was late, is that the major flooding didn't happen until long AFTER the hurricane passed by, and they thought they were over the worst of it.
The port of New Orleans is very important to the US economy, so I'm sure some rebuilding will take place, but honestly, that city needs to be RAISED about 20 feet higher. I doubt more than half the former residents will ever move back.
One thing to realize is that there is very little choice about rebuilding. A large portion of the city was untouched by flooding, although it was badly damaged by wind and rain.
That portion of the city WILL be rebuilt(and some of it will need very little rebuilding), and from there it is a forgone conclusion that the rest of the city must be rebuilt in order to support the serviceable sections. In addition, NO is simply the only place in the Gulf for port facilities of that type, and if you have a port, you have to have workers nearby.
You are looking at a disaster that will leave several hundred thousand people out of work for years already. If busisnesses are forced to build new facilities elsewhere, instead of rebuilding existing facilities, it will extend that period by several more years.
There is also the fact that the surrounding states simply cannot absorb the number of people moving out of NO. The jobs aren't there, the housing isn't there, the infrastructure isn't there, and building these would take longer than repairing what IS there in New Orleans.
One of the major issues facing the immediate recovery effort is that under the current administration, the Coast Guard and Army Corp of Engineers have both suffered tremendous cuts in budget and manpower. The Coast Guard has only about half the number of helicopters it did ten years ago, and of those, a great many are in less than stellar condition because of lack of funds for maintenance.
The A.C.o.E., which is the entity responsible for building and maintaining the levees in NO and along the Mississippi River, along with many dams, reservoirs, and other things, also suffered huge budget cutbacks under the Bush tax cuts. They simply don't have the resources and manpower to properly maintain the thousands of milles of levees in America anymore.
One of the other problems (and race and income do figure here), is that the poorest sections of NO also happen to be the lowest-lying, and therefore the people living there are the least able to pick up stakes and evacuate. They are less likely to have a vehicle that can carry them to the high ground, less likely to trust authorities that try to evacuate them ahead of time, and have more reason to fear looting while they are gone.
And for those few who, in their ignorance,(I don't think anyone
on this site falls into this particular category) have asked "Why would you build a city below sea level anyway?", the answer is that they DIDN'T. New Orleans is actually above sea-level. The problem is that they originally built on a piece of land between the MS River and lake Ponchertrain(sp?). This land is almost entirely composed of silt laid down by the MS, and over the years it has settled, so that NO is now in a depression between river and lake.
It isn't the Gulf of Mexico, but the lake, that has broken the levees and flooded the city.