New Orleans is sinking...

dissaffected

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Great city but only human folly and hubris builds a city in a flood zone of epic proportions. Millions and millions wasted trying to protect the city from floods. Having said that, I hope everyone survives and this is nothing but Weather Channel over alarm.
 

rabidhamster

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I find it impossible to feel bad for the area. And continuing to dump disaster money into it just to be shellaced again is just dumb
I agree but I also think that money is still cheaper than rehousing everyone in New Orleans would be. People refuse to leave there when they KNOW they will probably die by staying. They cant get residents to leave Flint, Michigan, you think they're going to be able to get everyone out of New Orleans?
 

Roberteaux

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On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, there were one million people living in New Orleans.

Two months after the deluge, there were only about 250 thousand.

Last time I checked, there were only about 350 thousand people there-- 14 years after the levees broke.

Thus, the majority of those who left the city never did come back. A lot of them were people who found themselves moved at government expense... who would have moved themselves if they could have afforded to do so, and if they figured they'd find a way to make a living elsewhere.

Most of those who returned actually had holdings in the city that more or less compelled their return. Some came back because for them, they wouldn't wish to live anywhere else to begin with.

At one point-- somewhere around 2011 or 2012, I think it was-- the city was actually giving away free parcels of property for people to homestead upon. Some places had dwellings on them that could be rebuilt after being gutted, some places needed to have the dwelling completely removed because there was no saving it. Meanwhile, there were squatters (who were usually young people) who found that if they simply mowed the lawn and had electricity hooked up, that nobody would hassle them for staying there.

But that was kind of a phase, and we don't seem to see much of that any more. A lot of those youths got older and realized what those who left before them realized: when there ain't no jobs other than service industry shit, it's hard to make a living.

Consider this: for a very long time there was only one Fortune 500 corporation that maintained a presence in New Orleans, and that was Home Depot. The crime rate is so high there that even the oil companies hauled ass. Once the flagship and symbol of prosperity in NOLa, One Shell Square remains the city's tallest structure... but man, the building is mostly empty... even today.

It's quite a messed up situation. You know, I spent almost 20 years studying the city itself-- its history, folkways, and most of all its funerary considerations, and I was there before the disaster of 2005 as well as after.

All I can say here is that New Orleans is a city that has more or less forgotten itself. Many of the less obvious folkways of the town have vanished.... its history, traditions, and local culture have faded to a considerable enough extent that almost all of what made the local culture unique has vanished, leaving behind only some of the more well-known local expressions of human culture.

It's a shame, really-- a thing that has always made me feel rather sad inside.

But that's just how it is.

Meanwhile, the city's importance to the upper states has long since vanished, with its last strong suit-- riverine commerce-- falling into obsolescence. We found in the aftermath of Katrina that actually, the shipping that New Orleans once handled could be picked up by Galveston and Panama City without much of a difference being made when we got to the bottom line of it all. Meanwhile, many of the railroad tracks leading into and out of the city are still unusable, though the most important rail lines have all been restored.

It's a terrible shame what happened to New Orleans. But I'm not surprised by most of the comments I've read in this thread.

Most of you grew up in a disposable culture-- where everything was junk, to be thrown away after just one use, and everything else was bullshit to begin with-- and now I believe we're getting towards the idea of disposable people and disposable cities.

And that might just be the way of it. But it leave me wondering yet again WTF human beings were ever "for" to begin with. :laugh2:

--R
 

Zungle

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On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, there were one million people living in New Orleans.

Two months after the deluge, there were only about 250 thousand.

Last time I checked, there were only about 350 thousand people there-- 14 years after the levees broke.

Thus, the majority of those who left the city never did come back. A lot of them were people who found themselves moved at government expense... who would have moved themselves if they could have afforded to do so, and if they figured they'd find a way to make a living elsewhere.

Most of those who returned actually had holdings in the city that more or less compelled their return. Some came back because for them, they wouldn't wish to live anywhere else to begin with.

At one point-- somewhere around 2011 or 2012, I think it was-- the city was actually giving away free parcels of property for people to homestead upon. Some places had dwellings on them that could be rebuilt after being gutted, some places needed to have the dwelling completely removed because there was no saving it. Meanwhile, there were squatters (who were usually young people) who found that if they simply mowed the lawn and had electricity hooked up, that nobody would hassle them for staying there.

But that was kind of a phase, and we don't seem to see much of that any more. A lot of those youths got older and realized what those who left before them realized: when there ain't no jobs other than service industry shit, it's hard to make a living.

Consider this: for a very long time there was only one Fortune 500 corporation that maintained a presence in New Orleans, and that was Home Depot. The crime rate is so high there that even the oil companies hauled ass. Once the flagship and symbol of prosperity in NOLa, One Shell Square remains the city's tallest structure... but man, the building is mostly empty... even today.

It's quite a messed up situation. You know, I spent almost 20 years studying the city itself-- its history, folkways, and most of all its funerary considerations, and I was there before the disaster of 2005 as well as after.

All I can say here is that New Orleans is a city that has more or less forgotten itself. Many of the less obvious folkways of the town have vanished.... its history, traditions, and local culture have faded to a considerable enough extent that almost all of what made the local culture unique has vanished, leaving behind only some of the more well-known local expressions of human culture.

It's a shame, really-- a thing that has always made me feel rather sad inside.

But that's just how it is.

Meanwhile, the city's importance to the upper states has long since vanished, with its last strong suit-- riverine commerce-- falling into obsolescence. We found in the aftermath of Katrina that actually, the shipping that New Orleans once handled could be picked up by Galveston and Panama City without much of a difference being made when we got to the bottom line of it all. Meanwhile, many of the railroad tracks leading into and out of the city are still unusable, though the most important rail lines have all been restored.

It's a terrible shame what happened to New Orleans. But I'm not surprised by most of the comments I've read in this thread.

Most of you grew up in a disposable culture-- where everything was junk, to be thrown away after just one use, and everything else was bullshit to begin with-- and now I believe we're getting towards the idea of disposable people and disposable cities.

And that might just be the way of it. But it leave me wondering yet again WTF human beings were ever "for" to begin with. :laugh2:

--R
I'm the least disposable person you'll ever meet....I will polish a turd for years before I replace it......

However......reality is reality....the area is not geographically suitable for modern life and dense population, we tried (humans) but its not going well...... if folks want to stay fine....but...their decision...their dime.

Mother earth and father time will present us with more of these scenarios, likely more serious, we'll eventually need a better strategy.....

Mt St Helens warned folks for decades to clear out.....they didnt and now their gone.
 

Roberteaux

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Great city but only human folly and hubris builds a city in a flood zone of epic proportions. Millions and millions wasted trying to protect the city from floods. Having said that, I hope everyone survives and this is nothing but Weather Channel over alarm.
I think it was mostly greed.

To explain my perspective: when Baptiste first surveyed the area that would become New Orleans, he selected the spot for the original city (that is, the French Quarter) for reasons that were extremely sound.

The location was seen to be idea for its envisioned purposes, which had to do with control of maritime trade for the entire Mississippi River Valley, military security for the Louisiana Colony above the city itself, and military control over the Gulf of Mexico. The city was also blessed with a kind of dual maritime access, in that ships could come in by way of Lake Borgne, the Rigolets, and Bayou St. John-- and not just the Mississippi River through the Delta. So for any land force that also had sufficient maritime military power and a determination to keep it, New Orleans was a highly defensible city.

And that's what the British learned when they tried to take the place by force in 1815, only to have the vaunted and supposedly invincible army of Wellington-- who handed defeat to Napoleon, among others-- utterly destroyed by the sparse and polyglot forces the United States was able to field for the Battle of New Orleans.

Strangely, the maritime forces of the nascent USA were defeated on Lake Borgne... but it was still the case that the ring of wetlands that isolated New Orleans contributed greatly to the ultimate British defeat that took place during the War of 1812.

But while speaking strictly of the river approach, the location of the city was also selected because of the big bend in the Mississippi River (aka the "Beautiful Crescent") that caused the current of the river to slow from 10 or 12 knots (which made berthing sailing vessels next to impossible) down to 4 or 5 knots. That's why the extensive wharves that once lined the river in that area were built. It's not for nothing that one of the first buildings erected when the US got its hooks into the city was the US Customs House, which still exists on Canal Street.

And that part of the plan of Jean Baptiste, Sieur Bienville worked out perfectly and as envisioned. In all the years up to the US Civil War, New Orleans was the wealthiest city in the United States.

New Orleans was also just as major an entry point for immigration into the US as NYC was-- with as many new citizens coming through it as came through the entire East Coast-- so there was also a humanist component to the bustling little town.

***************​

Looking at the development of the city, I believe it was simply that things were stretched too far and the city was allowed to grow to limits that were not at all practicable. But most of that came along in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and wasn't a factor for the first couple hundred years of the city's existence.

What happened was this: somebody developed a screw pump that would move water at rates that were unimaginable prior to the time the machine was developed. And once the new pump system was up, running, and mostly reliable, humans were able to drain areas of the city that had been wetlands since the day Bienville first showed up and decided on the site for the city.

The original city-- the French Quarter-- sat behind a naturally-formed levee that extends from Carrolton down to about what is today the St. Claude neighborhood. This is the so-called "sliver by the river" that almost never floods. Even when the levees broke in 2005, that entire area remained high and dry-- though admittedly, some of that was just fortuitous happenstance.

If we look at what flooded, it was mostly areas that had been wetlands until about the first 25 years after the turn of the 20th Century.

In the years before that, New Orleans was often referred to as the "island" of New Orleans, since that's what it might look like from a bird's eye view: an island of a city, absolutely surrounded by the wetlands formed by Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne, and the Mississippi River. Essentially, the city existed between two major canal routes for quite a while... and what was in-between those canals was the city itself.

Consider the fate of the 9th Ward-- and especially the Lower 9th: that area was just a soupy, swampy kingdom for mosquitoes and alligators to dominate until just before World War II... and after the war, it was the site of a lot of easy-to-afford parcels of land to accommodate the swelling population during the dawn of the Baby Boom. It had already been drained before the war, but nobody in his right mind would select the area out of preference as it was still marshy, with ground water lurking just a few feet below the surface of the soil.

But afterwards? People have to live somewhere, and not everybody can afford primo real estate in some place a bit more sound than New Orleans.

And it worked very well-- for a while, anyway. While minor local flooding still took place in heavy rains-- and still does, obviously-- generations lived and died there in the decades before Hurricane Betsy came along in 1965 to remind everybody of just how small humanity might seem to the elements at times.

But even during Betsy, the "sliver by the river" remained high and dry. In the lower 9th, that sliver is part of the Holy Cross neighborhood... and Holy Cross didn't even flood in the aftermath of Katrina.

Of course, I have left certain details out of this presentation so as to shorten it and make it less difficult for the casual reader to comprehend.

Capping it all off, I'd say that if we talk about "hubris", this was not an element that was found in such abundance as "practicality" when it came to the founding of the city... and that the "folly" of its placement didn't have a thing to do with the original positioning, so much as in the last century, when the place was allowed to grow well beyond what cautious people might have thought of as its practical boundaries.

But again: there was even a practical aspect to that, although it led to great tragedy for so many.

If we insist on framing everything in negative terms-- which appears to be the only real constant when it comes to most of those who comment on MLP-- I'd say that greed and a sense of bellic Euro nationalism were the real factors that caused the erection of the city in its ultimate locality... and that "hubris and folly" were motivators that came to pass after the fact of the city's rise to the power of profitability.

Might just be a different perspective, though.

At any rate, NOLa was a major US city once upon a time. Not that this matters in an age of Disposable Everything.

--R
 
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freebyrd 69

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On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, there were one million people living in New Orleans.

Two months after the deluge, there were only about 250 thousand.

Last time I checked, there were only about 350 thousand people there-- 14 years after the levees broke.

Thus, the majority of those who left the city never did come back. A lot of them were people who found themselves moved at government expense... who would have moved themselves if they could have afforded to do so, and if they figured they'd find a way to make a living elsewhere.

Most of those who returned actually had holdings in the city that more or less compelled their return. Some came back because for them, they wouldn't wish to live anywhere else to begin with.

At one point-- somewhere around 2011 or 2012, I think it was-- the city was actually giving away free parcels of property for people to homestead upon. Some places had dwellings on them that could be rebuilt after being gutted, some places needed to have the dwelling completely removed because there was no saving it. Meanwhile, there were squatters (who were usually young people) who found that if they simply mowed the lawn and had electricity hooked up, that nobody would hassle them for staying there.

But that was kind of a phase, and we don't seem to see much of that any more. A lot of those youths got older and realized what those who left before them realized: when there ain't no jobs other than service industry shit, it's hard to make a living.

Consider this: for a very long time there was only one Fortune 500 corporation that maintained a presence in New Orleans, and that was Home Depot. The crime rate is so high there that even the oil companies hauled ass. Once the flagship and symbol of prosperity in NOLa, One Shell Square remains the city's tallest structure... but man, the building is mostly empty... even today.

It's quite a messed up situation. You know, I spent almost 20 years studying the city itself-- its history, folkways, and most of all its funerary considerations, and I was there before the disaster of 2005 as well as after.

All I can say here is that New Orleans is a city that has more or less forgotten itself. Many of the less obvious folkways of the town have vanished.... its history, traditions, and local culture have faded to a considerable enough extent that almost all of what made the local culture unique has vanished, leaving behind only some of the more well-known local expressions of human culture.

It's a shame, really-- a thing that has always made me feel rather sad inside.

But that's just how it is.

Meanwhile, the city's importance to the upper states has long since vanished, with its last strong suit-- riverine commerce-- falling into obsolescence. We found in the aftermath of Katrina that actually, the shipping that New Orleans once handled could be picked up by Galveston and Panama City without much of a difference being made when we got to the bottom line of it all. Meanwhile, many of the railroad tracks leading into and out of the city are still unusable, though the most important rail lines have all been restored.

It's a terrible shame what happened to New Orleans. But I'm not surprised by most of the comments I've read in this thread.

Most of you grew up in a disposable culture-- where everything was junk, to be thrown away after just one use, and everything else was bullshit to begin with-- and now I believe we're getting towards the idea of disposable people and disposable cities.

And that might just be the way of it. But it leave me wondering yet again WTF human beings were ever "for" to begin with. :laugh2:

--R
It’s below f*cking sea level. My cousin and Aunt live there, but I don’t spare them either.....how stupid can you be to move/stay there. It ain’t IF something is going to happen, just WHEN. Same with people building houses on/near fault lines in CA. They are idiots.

Maybe I’m too cynical, but I have a hard time finding any disaster that is that blatantly predictable “sad”. What’s sad is they are not smart enough to leave.

@Roberteaux , I’m not sure why you are making it sound like it’s a “throw away”, or that people are misguided by saying the things they are. I read most of your post on the history....very informative. Bottom line, whether it was greed or whatever, it got too big for its britches, now it’s time to GTFO. As others have said, you wanna stay on a sinking ship, your dime. Disasters are bad things that happen unpredictably to well prepared people. Nola fits neither of those.
 
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Roberteaux

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I'm the least disposable person you'll ever meet....I will polish a turd for years before I replace it......

However......reality is reality....the area is not geographically suitable for modern life and dense population, we tried (humans) but its not going well...... if folks want to stay fine....but...their decision...their dime.

Mother earth and father time will present us with more of these scenarios, likely more serious, we'll eventually need a better strategy.....

Mt St Helens warned folks for decades to clear out.....they didnt and now their gone.

LOL

Get your turd polishing kit out, then, and get to work-- if you weren't at it already. :laugh2:

The city has been flooded so many times you might not believe it... and yet she's still there. If this latest business turns into another major flood, it will be the 23rd time that this has happened to New Orleans.

And yet: she's still there-- and probably will continue to be there after both you and I are feeding worms or have been converted to heat and light.

The city is not likely to ever be truly great again, though-- I'll give you that much.

--R :thumb:
 

Roberteaux

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It’s below f*cking sea level. My cousin and Aunt live there, but I don’t spare them either.....how stupid can you be to move/stay there. It ain’t IF something is going to happen, just WHEN. Same with people building houses on/near fault lines in CA. They are idiots.

Maybe I’m too cynical, but I have a hard time finding any disaster that is that blatantly predictable “sad”. What’s sad is they are not smart enough to leave.
Perhaps your aunt and uncle don't find you to be a cogent source of inspiration when it comes to the planning of their lives.

The area has been continuously inhabited since 1719, and ain't no volcanoes in sight.

All I can agree with in your post is to say is that I wouldn't wish to live in any area beyond the sliver by the river... and that I'd bolt every time a major storm approached.

--R
 

freebyrd 69

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Perhaps your aunt and uncle don't find you to be a cogent source of inspiration when it comes to the planning of their lives.

The area has been continuously inhabited since 1719, and ain't no volcanoes in sight.

All I can agree with in your post is to say is that I wouldn't wish to live in any area beyond the sliver by the river... and that I'd bolt every time a major storm approached.

--R
It’s not 1719 anymore. Things have changed. The infrastructure is very weak. I don’t take it upon myself to plan anyone’s life, but again, anything that happens there from storms and high water is not a “disaster”, it’s poor planning.
 




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