September 1, 2007


Resisting the obvious in New Orleans (Steve Chapman, September 1, 2007 , Washington Times)

Before the nation undertakes the extravagant project of rebuilding New Orleans and securing it from the elements, we might ask if there isn't a better option, not only for the nation but for the flood victims.

The Democratic debate over the future of New Orleans somehow passed over the instructive example of Valmeyer, Ill. In 1993, the town of 900 was swamped, not for the first time, by a rain-swollen Mississippi River. It hasn't been swamped since, because it's not there anymore. Rather than remain in a vulnerable spot, the residents voted to relocate their village to a bluff 400 feet above the river. But no one wants to suggest similar discretion in Louisiana.

New Orleans, like Valmeyer, had long been a natural disaster waiting to happen. Most of the city lies below sea level, surrounded by water on three sides, and it's sinking. Moreover, it has steadily grown more exposed to hurricanes, thanks to the loss of coastal wetlands that once served as a buffer. It's a bathtub waiting to be filled.

As one scientist said after Katrina, "A city should never have been built there in the first place." Now that we have a chance to correct the mistake, why repeat it?

Looked at objectively, rebuilding the city seems a plot to drown black people, though, on the bright side, it does provide good jobs for a lot of Mexicans...

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2007 8:53 PM
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