Hey, it's great to see this from you. I don't know how I missed that you and theferrett
were going to be in NOLA. I'd have driven down to say hi on the weekend. So close.
Definitely. We want to come back.
I am damn ambivalent about rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward. It's a flood plain, and there's nothing happy in the long term about building on a flood plain. Those repaired levees are already leaking
On the other hand, New Orleans needs all the hope and help it can get.
Just FYI, the levee referenced in your link is in Lakeview, not the Lower Ninth Ward. And, while you raise a valid point, neither neighborhood would have flooded if the federal levees had been built properly in the first place.
2008-06-03 09:44 pm (UTC)
As the article I linked to points out:
Outside engineering experts who have studied the project told The Associated Press that the type of seepage spotted at the 17th Street Canal in the Lakeview neighborhood afflicts other New Orleans levees, too, and could cause some of them to collapse during a storm.....
Timothy Kusky, a geologist with Saint Louis University and an expert on the Mississippi River, said engineering a safe levee system in New Orleans will be very difficult because of the soil.....
a levee sinks at different rates, and the sinking creates "little cracks in them that promote seepage, and also the old river channels and floodplain deposits have different potentials for underseepage," he said.
It is an extremely complex, perhaps impossible, task to actually build those levees "properly". (Unless the Lower Ninth Ward's levee is built on some rocky outcropping, not river sediment.)
In 1993 the Missouri River flooded the Chesterfield valley to the west of St Louis. There was only a little construction there at the time; the 15+ feet of water damaged mostly farms. Today the Chesterfield valley is full of giant suburban malls and expensive McMansions. The new levee is supposed to hold against a 500-year flood. But it is built on thick river mud, and has the same potential for settling and seepage as the New Orleans levees have. I have no joy in the build-up of the Chesterfield valley. I think if anything is tempting fate and the gods, it's that sort of massive construction on a flood plain.
And I feel the same about the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Sorry, that "anonymous" comment was from me, taking a brief break at work and forgetting that I'm not logged in here.
I think that the people of The Netherlands would disagree with your assessment. Though as the polar ice caps melt and water levels rise, they are having more problems themselves.
But the famous sea dikes of the Netherlands are not built on mud. The deep, mucky, alluvial soil of the Mississippi valley is very different from the rocky beaches of northern Europe.
Would you put your own money into building a house below sea level on a flood plain, protected by levees sitting on mud? Would you think it a good idea any place else in the world except New Orleans?
The federal levees were built to exceed the standards of the time they were built. But that was then and this is now.
As much as I feel for those who want to rebuild, the fact is those levees cannot be reasonably built to take a storm surge like Katrina delivered. If they rebuild there, they will be at risk of another catastrophic flood.
I did an interview with some neighborhood activist that said words to the effect of, "I will not rest until the federal government comes in here and builds levees that will with stand a category five hurricane."
While sitting in the truck listening to this guy, the question crossed my mind, "Even if this is practical, who is going to pay for this?"
You see while I will defend to the death his right to live in a flood plain, I have a serious problem with my tax money going to flood proof an area that cannot be reasonably flood proofed. Nor do I want government funds to replace his house every ten years.
If you build in an area with an elevation of -12 feet below sea level next to a huge sea level lake, Saint Murphy is going will eventually notice, point his finger down from on high and say, "Let my law come into effect."
Edited at 2008-06-04 03:40 am (UTC)
Yes my lady. The Netherlands have a marvelous system of levees. They also have the added bonus of not having to deal with hurricanes bringing storm surges ranging from 1 to 28 feet.
Lets split the difference, a 14 foot storm surge means your levees are going to have to be at least 15 feet tall in the center of the surge.
However, one can never predict where the center of the surge may come ashore, so the top of your entire levee system has to be at least 15 feet above sea level. And it has to be thick enough, even at the top, to hold back that much weight. Then you add hurricane wind loading on a structure of that length and height, with that much water pushing against it.
When you start adding all these things together, the figures start to get north of astronomical. Even if there was enough money to build cat-5 hurricane proof wall, it may not be practical to build it.
The problem is that we can't just manufacture other land to give people.
Isn't there a federal program to buy flood plain land? After the 1993 floods in the Midwest, many people who had been flooded out were able to get fair value for their property, so they could move out of the flood plain.
2008-06-03 06:11 pm (UTC)
Ghost Hunting Sante Fe Desert
When I was 5 (6 by the end of the trip), my dad decided that since we were in Colorado for my then-newborn cousin's Baptism, to take the opportunity to drive across the Sante Fe desert for the remainder of the vacation. Here I am, 6 years old, squeezed between my sisters in an un-air-conditioned car-but I never noticed the heat. One of my strongest memories of that trip was driving past some dunes and an actual NA Indian ON HORSEBACK, checking out the road. If I ever get around to it-I will scan the pictures we took-abandoned homesteads, a one room schoolhouse frame (think that church from "The Outsiders where Pony and Johnny laid low),abandoned churches (complete with barely marked graves-we could tell they were graves because a great deal of the local NAI's would place things on them to "honor the ghosts of the past" according to one of them who stopped on over, freely answering questions (in 1980, a random Indian walking by on a barely populated road wasn't considered scary). Your post flashed that entire trip back into my head-and weirdly enough it would be almost 29 years ago in another week. Now I have to post about it LOL.
As for the 'Nawlin's locals-I admire their spirit and moxie, I smiled at the way you wrote how they were still there. Phoenixes In 'Nawlins. I hated it when I lived there, but probably should go back to see what it is like now.
Hope all is well in Zoetheferret world! :) I know that since P & B have moved your visits are scarce in this area, but we hope to see you sometime!
2008-06-04 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: Ghost Hunting Sante Fe Desert
I love the desert southwest. It's another place I could visit again and again.
We are busy busy. Hope we do get out that way, but it probably won't be for a while, what with Clarion and all.
Thank you for going to New Orleans and thank you for writing about it. *hugs*
thanks for writing about this - new orleans is someplace that should be cherished and yet our government is continuing to treat the city and its residents so badly it's appalling
I just returned from New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. While we did rent a car and got out of the French Quarter, I didn't have the nerve somehow to visit the Ninth Ward. I do second that the city is not dead though! We had a fantastic trip and I'm glad to have spent so much of my money there. It's a long way from western Canada but it was well worth it. I am telling everyone I know to go.