We will rebuild. Not only New Orleans, but also the Mississippi coast, and the many smaller cities and towns which people still call home.
Today though, unfortunately, I heard from at least two conservatives that they are against rebuilding. They don't want to spend the money. First a caller on Phoenix talk radio, and then from a right wing blogger that we should abandon New Orleans and other devastated areas to the sea, and one said to let the market determine where people would settle, the other to build it 100 miles inland. Of course, if we give up this fast, will we then abandon Los Angeles after the next really big earthquake? Florida and other low lying areas when they get flooded by hurricanes in the future? Kansas and Oklahoma next time there is a spate of tornadoes?
In contrast, President Bush (one of the few times I agree with him) echoed the words of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and pledged to rebuild the city.
And we should. To simply accept the sacrifice of a major city is ridiculous (would these conservatives have been as quick to say this if, say, terrorists had destroyed a city with a nuclear weapon?)
Now, those who say that New Orleans will never be the same are correct. Let's build it better. Better, and safer. It has been done before.
The Dutch, most of whom live on land that was once the bottom of the sea, know just a little bit about flood control and living below sea level. The first dikes were built as early as 1300, and today, millions of people live below sea level. The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe, and many live in a densely packed mass around Amsterdam and Rotterdam, much farther below sea level than New Orleans is.
In this century, large areas of Holland have flooded twice. Once during World War II, when some dikes were breached both by collateral bombing, and in some cases intentionally by both sides as defensive positions. The second time in 1953, during a major storm.
So, did the Dutch give up and move to the higher areas of the country? No, they did not.
But they did rebuild smarter. Now, they have giant hydraulic seawalls which are designed much like a ship's watertight doors. If one area floods, the seawalls will confine the flood to that part of the country. They also have state of the art pumps, (most of those in New Orleans are years or decades old) and a plan in place, with all necessary equipment, to quickly evacuate the entire population of areas that could be at risk if it becomes necessary.
Putting a plan like what the Dutch have done together, especially the seawalls, would be expensive compared to the meager budgets that the New Orleans district of the Corps of Engineers has been receiving (see my post from three days ago). But compared to the price we will now be paying for not having done something like this, the price is quite cheap. And it should certainly be put into the rebuilding plan. If there is one benefit to be found, it certainly won't be hard to obtain the land to put the seawalls on.
But, I commend President Bush for his statement today that, 'We will rebuild the great city of New Orleans.' And he is right. A far cry from the comment in the link above that:
You will rebuild? No, you won't. At least not if you are smart....I will raise holy hell with my Representatives if they talk about spending federal tax dollars to rebuild...
Oh, and if you personally want to contribute, follow the link on the left side of my page to the DNC site, they have a place there to donate to the Red Cross.