Saving New Orleans or bailing out?


Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina exposed the brittleness of New Orleans, New York Times reports that even after spending more than a billion dollars the city is still at risk. I had written earlier on how New Orleans might be the city that never should have been and if taken at face value, I can be acussed of undermining human tenacity and resilience. But at the core of the matter is our struggle with nature. To put it bluntly, we can never win. No matter how hard we try or how long we hold her off, nature will always win. Rivers that change their flow or sea levels that rise will not consider the fate of those millions living on its banks or the coastline.

Christopher Hallowell’s Holding Back the Sea documents man’s futile attempts in controlling nature. Hurricane Katrina not only exposed our societal inadequacies but also laid bare some of our massive engineering feats. No offense to the Army Corps of Engineers, but they will always be fighting a losing battle and can only hold the fort so long. Even if it was technically possible to hold off the inevitable for a longer time, I doubt we have the financial prowess to do it anymore. Other more urgent and important priorities have crept up the national agenda. At some point in time, we have to reevaluate our presence in the volatile Mississippi basin. Perhaps nature doesn’t want us there at all. We can claim that we have been there for over a hundred year but nature has been there much longer, right?

One thought on “Saving New Orleans or bailing out?

  1. doctorj

    America abandoned my hometown a longtime ago. I lost all respect for my country post-Katrina. We have seen how well the COE does its job. We have seen how well the government does its job. Ask how that billion was spent. Ask where the money went. It is a complete joke. But at least NOW we know it is a joke and we will deal with it as such. Just tell me one thing, why do I pay taxes to this nation? It seems it is to rebuild Iraq. After Katrina I knew why the 1.2 TRILLION spent there has shown similar results. The same incompetent, inept, crony filled government is in charge. I will stay and fight for my 300 year old city. Our artists will tell the story of abandonment for the world to hear, even if you don’t want to listen.

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