New Orleans: The City That Learns Nothing And Forgets Everything

New Orleans set new standards for incompetence during Hurricane Katrina…

“Ok, everybody! Go to the Superdome if there’s an emergency! There’s no food, water, or doctors there, but that’s ok! Doh! You policemen? Start looting and running away and then as a reward, we’ll send you to Las Vegas on vacation! Yeargh! We could bus people out of here, but we left all the buses on a flood plain! Dur dur-duur!”

…so, is it surprising, that the citizens of New Orleans, after reelecting America’s most incompetent Mayor, Ray Nagin, are moving right back into the areas most prone to flooding? Sigh, idiots, idiots, idiots, idiots…

“…After Katrina, teams of planners recommended that broad swaths of vulnerable neighborhoods be abandoned. Yet all areas of the city have at least some residents beginning to rebuild. With billions of dollars in federal relief for homeowners trickling in, more people are expected to follow.

Moreover, while new federal guidelines call for raising houses to reduce the damage of future floods, most returning homeowners do not have to comply or are finding ways around the costly requirement, according to city officials.

“It’s terrifying: We’re doing the same things we have in the past but expecting different results,” said Robert G. Bea, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and a former New Orleans resident who served as a member of the National Science Foundation panel that studied the city’s levees.

“There are areas where it doesn’t make any sense to rebuild — they got 20 feet of water in Katrina,” said Tom Murphy, a former Pittsburgh mayor who served on an Urban Land Institute panel for post-Katrina planning. “In those places, nature is talking to us, and we ought to be listening. I don’t think we are.”

…Mike Centineo, the city’s building chief, said, “Legally and morally, we’re doing the right thing,” but he acknowledged that most returning homeowners are not raising their houses to meet the new flood guidelines. “You wouldn’t want to put people through more than they can endure. It’s a catastrophe that happened. No one wants it to happen again. But they’re just rebuilding as best they can.”

…In the fall of 2005, planners from the Urban Land Institute, working with the city’s Bring New Orleans Back Commission, recommended that large sections of Lakeview, Gentilly, New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward be abandoned, at least temporarily. The panel called for the government to purchase homes at pre-Katrina prices.

There were two reasons for the planners’ proposals. First, the levees had proved catastrophically fallible. Even now, they are not guaranteed to stand during the strongest hurricanes. Moreover, the wetlands that once protected the city from storm surges continue to erode, and hurricane experts, including Max Mayfield, the outgoing director or the National Hurricane Center, have repeatedly warned that many homeowners are taking on unacceptable risks in U.S. coastal areas.

Second, it seemed likely that New Orleans’s post-Katrina population was destined to be smaller. It made sense to consolidate neighborhoods, planners said, to prevent blight from overtaking sparsely populated, partially abandoned areas.

“What we said was that, in the areas that had gotten 10 feet of water, don’t commit to rebuilding anything yet, because it probably won’t happen anyway,” said Joseph Brown, head of the urban design panel at the Urban Land Institute.

But Nagin, who was hearing complaints that shrinking the city’s footprint was unfair, particularly to African Americans, rejected the idea. Everyone should be able to return to their homes, he said.”

American tax dollars should not be spent on building homes in a bowl, 20 feet below sea level, in a city that shouldn’t even exist anymore because it’s so prone to hurricanes. Oh, but it would be “unfair” to make people move to an area where their whole home won’t end up under water if there’s a hurricane, — give me a break.

These dopes don’t seem to get that Mother Nature doesn’t care about “diversity.” If there is another hurricane next year, “Gaia” isn’t going be thinking, “You know, we already hit New Orleans and a lot of black people got hurt. Maybe I should hit Vermont this time just to mix things up a bit.”

There COULD BE another hurricane that hits New Orleans next year. It COULD flood the city. Then what? Besides, half the city never came back after Katrina, so it’s not like there isn’t plenty of room for people to move. Anyone who had the modicum of common sense could figure out that homes should be built in the higher parts of the city in New Orleans at this point! In fact, this is such a no-brainer that anyone moving back into these 10ft-20ft below sea level portions of New Orleans should be pre-approved to win a Darwin Award if they get killed in another hurricane.

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