Monday, April 03, 2006

Save NOLA?

I saw that sticker on a white Yukon with Louisiana tags today and I had to ask myself why should we?

Then I find this story from the Associated Press about New Orleans and its problems. It has been known for decades that South Louisiana has been suffering the loss of large tracts of land. That New Orleans itself was sinking. The culprit has been laid at the canalization of the Mississippi River that meant all the silt in the Big Muddy went diving off the continental shelf and not spreading across the wetlands during the floods rebuilding those wetlands. Then there is the far-fetched theory that global warming was causing a rise in the ocean levels and helping to destroy the wetlands that make up South Louisiana. Then we got people in the US Geological Service who are saying the subsidence South Louisiana is suffering is caused by too much oil drilling.

Now we have another contender as to why New Orleans is sinking and why large portions of South Louisiana have been lost to the Gulf of Mexico and rendering New Orleans more vulnerable due to loss of buffer land. East New Orleans is sitting over a fault, the Michoud Fault is sinking which means any structures like levees also sank as the land over the fault sank.

Now why should the US government waste any money rebuilding a city that has so many problems? If we were homeowners and we are offered this lovely turn of the last century Victorian would we jump at the chance to buying it if we knew it sat over an active fault, was three miles downstream from a dam, and has Formosan termites. Of course not, so why should we rebuild New Orleans? Is it ego speaking here? Stubbornness? Or politicians fearful of saying the correct thing? Or all of the above? None of the above reasons are good enough to keep risking lives.


Anna said...

There's a very eerie article in the October 2004 National Geographic. LA is losing approximately an acre of land every 33 minutes. This has probably changed some since Katrina reclaimed some marsh area, but it's a combination of several different factors, dredging, drilling, levees and basically people fighting Mother Nature. Why can't people learn that in a fight with Mother Nature, humans lose?!

Anna said...

For most of the past century the US Army Corps of Engineers has been battling Mother Nature in regards to the course the Mississippi River takes. There is a control station where the Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi merge. If it was not for the Corp, the main channel for the Mississippi River would be more and more running down the Atchafalaya River, eventually leaving New Orleans high and dry.

Talk about throwing money away.