Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We Need RADICAL New Ideas

Recently, I've had a lot of thoughts concerning rebuilding the New Orleans area, but my ideas are from an outsider, at least outside of the immediate New Orleans area, yet my area, Terrebonne Parish, still faces many of the same and similar issues.

For instance, we don’t have ANY hurricane protection levees here in Terrebonne or Lafourche Parish, as is the case in many other areas of South Louisiana. Yet had we been hit here, over 200,000 people could have been displaced in much the same way as New Orleans. Houma is also an important oil-industry and tourist city. If NOLA gets billions of dollars from the Feds for levee protection, why can’t we get some too? What about all of the millions of coastal residents in cities across the Gulf and Atlantic? What about Galveston, Beaumont, Lake Charles, Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile, Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, Miami, the Keys, etc. (this list is very long).

Or is it that since New Orleans placed itself in one of the worst possible geological locations, at up to 15 feet below sea level and dropping annually, they are somehow rewarded with billions of dollars in federal relief. But our country and the Big Easy have a long history of rewarding poor performance.

Oh, by the way, had the nation’s insatiable thirst for oil and gas not sucked so many resources from Louisiana, we would not have destroyed our marshes with oilfield location canals, intercoastal waterways, and allowed the devastating coastal erosion that has vastly undermined our hurricane protection. These marshes HAD the ability to absorb billions of gallons of storm surge and protect the inland areas like New Orleans.

Finally, I am starting to grow tired of al the bullshit clichés too. But what we really need are plans to really fix things. These MUST be radical ideas. The ideas are not optional ones, if we don’t really fix the underlying problems this area will be unhabitable in the not-too-distant future. However, since I hate to complain without providing ideas, I will follow up shortly with what I believe we need to do.



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