Thursday, September 04, 2008

Receiving Difficult Answers

It seems that the arrival of Gustav has provided some individuals an opportunity to bring up the question of whether New Orleans is worth it. Many of the articles that I have been sent seem to discuss the same topics in a similar way. It seems like these are "talking points" the same way that articles and opinions were published during the midwest floods this summer.

The MinnPost
The Oregonian
Montgomery Advertiser

The authors claim there are some tough questions to answer, but for New Orleanians and Louisianians the answer seems obvious - do what it takes to protect us because we are far more important than most people realize. There are ships full of Midwestern grain and corn that need a port to get goods to market, there are oil and gas pipelines and refineries providing energy, there are farms that supply a nation with rice and sugarcane, there is the industry that supplies the country with fresh seafood, and the list could go on. Go tell them what you think.

To discuss the future of New Orleans in terms of dollars and cents just can't be done. Because underneath all of the monetary values are the people that choose to live in an area that gets threatened by hurricanes because they love it. Sure, New Orleans is a soup bowl. Who could argue with that? And the soup bowl is not protected adequately. What would it cost to make New Orleans safe? What did it cost to make airline travel "safe", if it even is? What did it cost to rebuild San Francisco? Chicago? Every flood that has taken place on every creek or stream or river that the residents who live on those creeks or streams or rivers should know is coming? Did they rebuild? Was it ok for them to rebuild knowing the danger? What makes New Orleans different? Has Montgomery, AL ever had a flood? Has any city in Oregon? Minnesota? Did people rebuild?

Sure there are tough questions, but the answers are not. New Orleans deserves world-class flood protection - improve and redesign levees and drainage, restore wetlands, and do it all correctly and honestly and with integrity.

To me the tough question is this - what is taking so long?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stephen - It's Chad and Sharla. We are OK and staying with Dayna and Angela @ B's place. Lenora is with Chad's mom in Monroe. No power at our place for 3-21 days, who knows.
I don't have your email address or phone info handy. Please call my cell or e-mail when you get a chance. I hope Kate and George are doing well! Thanks, Sharla