Thursday, October 06, 2005

Common Sense

CNN hosted some interesting ideas for the rebuilding of New Orleans. There are many folks out there who know how to make lemonade out of a lemon. Within it all, there still is the basic question that needs to be asked an answered: How much of the city of New Orleans does it make sense to rebuild? My answer would be: only that which is above sea level.

Admittedly, that will leave a large part of the city in rubbles. But the reality is that next year, as the people in Florida saw this year, New Orleans could be dealing with damage from another major hurricane. Can we really afford, even as a country, to pour billions of dollars back into the area, only have to do it again next year? And the year after?

Admittedly, the Cameron, Louisiana barely above sea level didn’t fair a lot better than New Orleans did. There are no structures there now, and the people are going to have rebuild from scratch. But at least they have a reasonable chance of doing that in a reasonable time using a reasonable amount of resources. Rebuilding any city that is dependent upon levees to stem the tide of flooding on multiple sides because it is below sea level seems like a trip into insanity. I’m just talking simple physics here, folks. Even the best engineering must succumb to that. And has. Consider that the National Weather Service is saying that the New Orleans debacle was caused by only a Category 3 storm. What would happen if a year from now New Orleans saw a true Category 5?

Man too often likes to pretend he can beat Nature. He has won some battles. Ultimately, though, the trick to a happy life is to learn to live with it, not constantly fight it. I don’t see how completely rebuilding New Orleans like it was serves anyone. It’s time to be smarter instead of arrogant.