Okay, it’s the Friday as Rita is coming to the LA / Texas border. The Levees in New Orleans are leaking again, and the 9th ward and st bernard’s parish are getting flooded out again, and this before the main part of the storm hits town. This proves, conclusively, that Mayor Ray Nagin’s plan to put 180,000 people back in New Orleans was a little bit pre-mature.
Ray, here is a hint: Unless the levees are completely repaired and secure, you can’t put people back in harm’s way. You can’t even really let them start to rebuild or anything, because, well, you can’t keep anything they do secure.
I have a suggestion for you (and not a popular one, I am sorry).
Except for the areas of New Orleans that have stayed dry, you need to plow the rest of it down, and allow the water to come in full time into those areas. Remove the levees from that side, let it flood out, and just let the lake be bigger. Use the dirt that you dig up from those areas to raise the overall land level of other areas of the city that are marginal, and raise them up before you rebuild them. Basically save the french quarter, the business district, the port area, and so on. Give up on the rest, the costs for keeping it dry in the long term is not a very good business investment.
You will end up with a smaller city, but one that is much more secure and much more willing to work for the future. This will also renew your city, and hopefully bring new investment and new money to your city, which will help all the people who come to live there.
Good luck to everyone in the path of the storm. Stay dry!