Warehouse B
Paradise Lost
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Why Rebuild New Orleans?


By James Donahue

April 2006


The City of New Orleans has been a national treasure. While the territory was under French rule in the early Eighteenth Century, New Orleans was among the first established colonies in the new world. It grew to be a major port city for ships arriving from overseas and steamboats traveling on the Mississippi River.


New Orleans is consequently a very old city, filled with the ghosts of the past. It was the home of the great jazz bands, the Marti Gras, and all of the colorful stories linked to the birth of the nation.


But New Orleans has been a city in trouble for a long time. Built on a swamp, the community used dykes, levies and pumps to keep the water out as developers projected new homes deep into areas that were well below sea level, and the level of the Mississippi River. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before a major hurricane overpowered the levies and flooded New Orleans.


That hurricane, the product of our own environmental recklessness, was Katrina. And meteorologists are now predicting more great storms of that same magnitude looming in the future as global warming heats the oceans. Also as the world glaciers and ice caps melt, the ocean levels are rising . . . some estimates are as high as 13 to 20 feet above current sea level. That means cities like New Orleans, Venice, Miami, and even New York are in danger of flooding.


Now that New Orleans is ruined, the logical question is why should we rebuild it? Sure, a lot of people have property ownership there. They also have memories of the great city that once was, and they long to return to that city and that life style. But is it possible? Is there any guarantee . . . even with the government pouring billions of dollars into new and better levies to keep the water out . . . that the disaster of 2005 will not occur again this season, or next?


Because we did not heed the warnings of overpopulation, industrial pollution, deforestation and all of the other problems created by the rape of our planet, nothing can ever go back to life as we once knew it.


New Orleans is gone. It is foolish for us to be spending government tax dollars to rebuild a city in a hole at the edge of the ocean. Especially when scientists tell us with all certainty that the sea levels are soon going to be high enough that the slightest sea will overpower the best of levies and whatever is constructed on that site will be destroyed once more.


We can expect to see other great cities built on the edge of the sea . . . cities like Venice and Amsterdam which also are below sea level, to also suffer similar fates. Then the cities and towns now resting at sea level on the edge of the land will be fighting back the inevitable.


It is time for people to wake up to reality. We have destroyed our environment. Nothing can be the same. Ever again.