Slower than quicksand

But just as deadly: this is what faces New Orleans, and there’s a certain amount of sense, I think, in simply relocating it to higher ground.

Except that “simply” isn’t going to describe the process, so far as I can tell: just picking a site will be problematic at best. And then what?

Moving the bulk of the city would be more costly, at least at this stage before sinking increases and another disaster strikes. The costs of either decision will be enormous, but relocating makes more sense and will eventually be inevitable. Whether we cut our losses now and move or wait until a super-hurricane makes a direct hit and kills hundreds of thousands of people must be carefully considered.

There are a few psychoceramics out there who wouldn’t mind the loss of life so much, but they can be safely ignored.

The most cost-effective solution, perhaps, is to shrink the city down to its core:

One option would be to begin building newer, higher, stronger seawalls around the business and historic parts of the city, and declare other parts a national monument, in tribute to those who lost their lives to Katrina. The process of moving could be gradual, relocating refugees, destroyed businesses, port facilities, and other infrastructure to a new New Orleans.

I don’t expect this idea to sit well with the folks who think that they ought to (1) be able to live anywhere they want and (2) be subsidized for same. While I will happily grant them (1), I suspect (2) will be a tougher sell.


  1. Dan B »

    2 September 2007 · 5:11 am

    I thought they shouldn’t have been allowed to rebuild in areas BELOW SEA LEVEL to begin with, and let the swamp reclaim them.

    As for people living where they want, if they want to live in permanent standing water, where trenchfoot is a daily concern, and where the next time the levee breaks it will likely never be repaired, I’d say go for it but NOT WITH MY MONEY.

  2. Mister Snitch! »

    2 September 2007 · 11:01 am

    I’m with Dan.

  3. unimpressed »

    2 September 2007 · 10:20 pm


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