Two years. It’s been two years since Katrina wiped out New Orleans. The news outlets are searching for nuggets of hope, but the overwhelming news is not good. Major parts of the city still look like they did the day after the disaster. Violent crime happens 10 times more frequently in New Orleans today than in New York City (details here). Over 80% of the allotted federal funds have already been distributed (details here).
New Orleans Councilman-at-Large Arnie Fielkow blames the federal government. He claims that the disaster was caused by “the massive failure of a flood protection system caused by the negligence of our federal government.”
But he’s wrong. Human denial and indifference was the ultimate cause of this disaster.
New Orleans lies, on average, 8 feet below sea level – and it’s sinking at a rate of 3 feet per century (details here). Global warming trends aside, the pumping system of the city itself is increasing the rate of sink. I don’t have the magazine at my fingertips, but a copy of National Geographic magazine I read recently made it pretty clear that it was just a matter of time before a disaster of this magnitude hit New Orleans – and that it WILL happen again.
Yes, it was a unique city with an interesting cultural history. But it makes no sense to try and rebuild it.