Should New Orleans be rebuilt?

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BobG
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It will take weeks to months to drain New Orleans. That's just the delay before New Orleans can start repairing itself. People with little stake in the city are unlikely to put their lives on hold for that long if they can resettle elsewhere. Is rebuilding New Orleans hopeless or is rebuilding essential?

The Port of South Louisiana (just upriver from New Orleans) is the biggest port (by tonnage passing through it) in the US. The Port of New Orleans is the fifth largest. Baton Rouge is the 10th largest with Plaquemines (just downstream of New Orleans) the 11th largest. Both the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of New Orleans rely on New Orleans for their workers and infrastructure.

The absence of its ports will definitely be felt through the entire Midwest. It will impact http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/12576122.htm [Broken] and all other farmers in the Midwest.

It will impact http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?Category=24&ID=241128&r=0 [Broken] and every consumer in the Midwest. (The impact on coffee imports really sends chills through me - I don't think I can live without coffee.)

It's absence will positively affect some cities like Houston.

I think you have to have a port where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf. Houston and other Gulf ports may be able to meet the needs, but none can do so as cheaply as a port on the Mississippi.
 
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I was thinking about the US setting up a Mulberry harbour system to combat the loss of a port - with the strength of the US Army and the skill of the Engineer Core I thought this would be possible (not sure how effective though - would depend on money pumped into the projecy.

regarding rebuilding the city - this is a toughy, I think that the city will be rebuild as it will show the country, and the world that the american will is strong enough to prevail etc.
 
SOS2008
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It doesn't matter whether it should or shouldn't, it will be rebuilt. There are enough people with stake in it, especially businesses. The problem is how will they rebuild. As stated earlier, global warming alone is a good reason to get out of the low lands. The wetlands should be restored to prevent future flooding, as well as a buffer to future hurricanes. Insurance companies should make it very clear that if they rebuild in flood zones they will not insure structures built there, and that goes for me too as a tax payer.
 
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Hmm. French quarter is mostly above water. Most of the city that's below will have to be demolished anyway.

Knock most of it down. Bring in lots of dirt, debris, etc. Fill it up like Seattle, or Tokyo, then rebuild. Build the levees properly. Reclaim the damage from coastal erosion. Things will be fine.

The dutch are rolling their eyes.
 
loseyourname
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Personally, I think they should relocate the port upriver to Memphis. It's not that far from the Gulf, but far enough to not be vulnerable to this kind of flooding.

By the way, where did you get the information that New Orleans is the busiest port in the US? Last I checked, it was behind LA/Long Beach, New York, and Houston.
 
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Astronuc
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BobG said:
It's absence will positively affect some cities like Houston.
I doubt that. I can see that some will profit very handsomely on real estate.

My sister informed me that apartments and houses have been leased or bought by outside investment groups, causing a shortage of affordable dwellings. One couple had a house bought out from under them just as they were to sign papers the day of the closing. Another party from New Orleans paid cash. The couple in Houston now has to start looking again, after having spent several months looking. The other houses they looked at have already been taken by investors - ready to cash in on others' misfortune.

Students cannot find affordable housing.

The quality of life is already strained in Houston. It is one of the more polluted cities in the country, and now and then surpasses Los Angeles in the poor quality of air.
BobG said:
I think you have to have a port where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf. Houston and other Gulf ports may be able to meet the needs, but none can do so as cheaply as a port on the Mississippi.
Economically, it will be much more expensive for shippers to ship bulk commodities through Houston rather than New Orleans.

BTW - Houston is also at risk from a Cat 4 storm. Parts of the city may be under 10-15 feet of water if a hurricane like Katrina hit is dead on! Parts of Pasadena would be under 20 ft of water, as would areas like Texas City and Galveston. Something to think about in the future.
 
SOS2008
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TRCSF said:
Hmm. French quarter is mostly above water. Most of the city that's below will have to be demolished anyway.

Knock most of it down. Bring in lots of dirt, debris, etc. Fill it up like Seattle, or Tokyo, then rebuild. Build the levees properly. Reclaim the damage from coastal erosion. Things will be fine.

The dutch are rolling their eyes.
I really enjoy your posts, and having enjoyed myself in NO on more than on occasion, the food, jazz, jello shots :eek: I feel it is part of American heritage that should be preserved. And, I am not advocating restoration of the wetlands for environmental reasons (e.g., wildlife, etc.) but for practical reasons.

Shrinking La. Coastline Contributes To Flooding
Washington Post - August 30, 2005

Two months ago, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told an audience of congressional staffers and scientific experts the federal government needs to spend billions of dollars over the next two decades to restore her state's wetlands. She warned that intentional rerouting of the Mississippi River over the past century, coupled with rising sea levels due to climate change, had eroded Louisiana's natural buffer against massive storms.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/29/AR2005082901875.html

So I hope this tragedy is turned into an opportunity to address long-standing problems.
 
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perhaps not the lowest areas that flooded the deepest
turning them in to parks or sports areas
downtown and the french quarter are much higher

after ANDREW here in miami FEMA required extra high elevations before rebuilding was allowed if over 50% of the value of the home was damaged
some how that was over turned fairly shortly but not before leaving some homes 10 feet higher then others

at least most homes are wooden in N O and far eazyer to rase then miami's CBS on a slab type

far stronger and higher dikes are perhaps a cheaper fix along with more and better pumps [that willnot flood out] then wholesale raseing homes thruout the city
 
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It would be foolish to rebuild it without taking safety precautions. Despite the historical value, it would only be too soon for this to happen again within another lifetime.... the kids of today, who are witnessing the disaster may end up wondering why logical people would have done such a thing. Filling the land is a good idea, while buildings would need to built Ford tough.
 
SOS2008
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Levees and landfills are not a good idea if these affect the river's natural course and/or block the silt from being carried out to sea. Rebuilding on higher ground may not be sufficient, but rather moving further inland may be needed.
 
Math Is Hard
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The Houstonians I have spoken with (my family there, mostly) are a bit nervous, considering that they've just taken in about a quarter of a million people. I don't know how accurate that is, but my mother said she got that number from the Houston Chronicle. The fear is that they'll end up basically stranded there, unable to find jobs.

I understand that some of the oil companies have procured cruise ships to house workers and their families so that they can continue operations while New Orleans and the Gulf Coast cities are rebuilt. This sounds optimistic to me.
 
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loseyourname said:
By the way, where did you get the information that New Orleans is the busiest port in the US? Last I checked, it was behind LA/Long Beach, New York, and Houston.
Read the post again. It stated The Port of NO was 5th by tonnage. NO is 9th by overall in $$$ worth of goods.
 
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Ports - busy by tonnage vs busy by containers

loseyourname said:
By the way, where did you get the information that New Orleans is the busiest port in the US? Last I checked, it was behind LA/Long Beach, New York, and Houston.
By tonnage, South Louisiana is number one. Long Beach is the busiest container port. This information is mirrored widely by reputable sources.
 
Astronuc
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There are a substantial number of energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell. The city is also home to one Fortune 500 company, Entergy Corporation, an electric power provider.

The federal government, has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish. Lockheed-Martin also has a large manufacturing facility located in the Greater New Orleans area that produces external fuel tanks for space shuttles.

The Port of New Orleans handles about 145 million short tons (132 million tonnes) of cargo a year and is the largest faction of the Port of South Louisiana, the latter being the largest and busiest shipping port in the western hemisphere and the 4th busiest in the world.

About 5,000 ships from nearly 60 nations dock at the Port of New Orleans annually. The chief exports are grain and other foods from the Midwestern United States and petroleum products. The leading imports include chemicals, cocoa beans, coffee, and petroleum. The port handles more trade with Latin America than does any other U.S. gateway, including Miami.
from Wikipedia (see hitssquad's subsequent post - thanks hitssquad)

Rankings of US ports in 2003 by tonnage

Top 10 US Ports in Total Trade (by tonnage)

PORT/STATE TONS
1 South Louisiana, LA, Port of . . 198,825,125
2 Houston, TX. . . . . . . . . . . . . 190,923,145
3 New York, NY and NJ. . . . . . . 145,889,166
4 Beaumont, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . 87,540,979
5 New Orleans, LA. . . . . . . . . . . 83,846,626
6 Huntington - Tristate . . . . . . . 77,641,149
7 Corpus Christi, TX . . . . . . . . . 77,224,732
8 Long Beach, CA. . . . . . . . . . . 69,195,350
9 Texas City, TX . . . . . . . . . . . 61,337,525
10 Baton Rouge, LA. . . . . . . . . . 61,264,412

Top 10 US Ports in Foreign Import (by tonnage)

1 Houston, TX. . . . . . . . . . . . .126,893,405
2 South Louisiana, LA, Port of. . . 80,432,872
3 New York, NY and NJ . . . . . . . 79,684,774
4 Beaumont, TX. . . . . . . . . . . . 68,787,271
5 Corpus Christi, TX . . . . . . . . . 53,394,091
6 Long Beach, CA. . . . . . . . . . . 52,371,332
7 New Orleans, LA . . . . . . . . . . 48,876,450
8 Texas City, TX . . . . . . . . . . . 43,391,804
9 Los Angeles, CA . . . . . . . . . . 42,791,436
10 Lake Charles, LA . . . . . . . . . 31,805,494

Top 10 US Ports in Foreign Export (by tonnage)

1 South Louisiana, LA, Port of. . . 49,575,553
2 Houston, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36,557,758
3 New Orleans, LA . . . . . . . . . . .27,986,582
4 Hampton Roads . . . . . . . . . . . 18,940,192
5 Long Beach, CA . . . . . . . . . . . 14,401,810
6 Los Angeles, CA . . . . . . . . . . .12,829,183
7 Duluth-Superior, MN and WI . . .12,553,516
8 Portland, OR . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,354,366
9 Plaquemines, LA, Port of . . . . . 10,481,966
10 Tacoma, WA. . . . . . . . . . . . . 9,706,733

Top 10 US Ports in Domestic Trade (by tonnage)

1 South Louisiana, LA, Port of . . 118,392,253
2 Huntington - Tristate . . . . . . . 77,641,149
3 New York, NY and NJ. . . . . . . . 66,204,392
4 Houston, TX . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64,029,740
5 Valdez, AK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49,851,043
6 Pittsburgh, PA. . . . . . . . . . . . 41,675,421
7 Baton Rouge, LA . . . . . . . . . . 38,112,248
8 Plaquemines, LA, Port of . . . . . 36,915,174
9 New Orleans, LA. . . . . . . . . . . 34,970,176
10 St. Louis, MO and IL . . . . . . . 32,431,145

(source - American Association of Port Authorities - http://www.aapa-ports.org/industryinfo/statistics.htm [Broken])

For container traffic see - http://www.aapa-ports.org/pdf/2004_NORTH_AMERICAN_CONTAINER_TRAFFIC.pdf [Broken]

1. Los Angeles
2. Long Beach (near LA)
3. New York/New Jersey
4. Oakland (CA)
5. Charleston (SC) - another potential hurricane victim.
12. Houston
26. New Orleans
 
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Skyhunter
SOS2008 said:
Levees and landfills are not a good idea if these affect the river's natural course and/or block the silt from being carried out to sea. Rebuilding on higher ground may not be sufficient, but rather moving further inland may be needed.
The problem with the levees is they are sinking. I don't know if it is practical to fill the low areas if they will continue to sink. I would like to see a study done first, because that is an awful lot of fill. It would have to be done in layers with each layer being compacted.

The reason the seawall failed at 17th street was because the levees that held up the sea wall had been sinking, and the steel piles had badly corroded. My understanding (this hasn't been verified) is that the steel piles had been replaced but the earthen levee had not been compacted and hardened due to cutbacks in funding for the project. Allegedly it was to have been completed a few years ago. Once the water rose up over the seawall it washed away the levee until it allowed the seawall to cantilever, causing the breach.

As for the global warming connection.

Controversy about the connection between severe storms and climate change seems to follow inevitably on the heels of hurricane season. This year is no different: a report this week in the journal Nature will argue that global warming is a major cause of the rise in cumulative hurricane power since 1970. MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel found that in the past three decades, Atlantic-basin hurricanes have grown more than twice as powerful, with a notably sharp upswing since 1995. The researcher links the formation of intensified storms to an increase in average ocean-surface temperature of nearly one degree Fahrenheit during the same period -- due in part to climate change. If coastal populations continue to increase, Emanuel writes, it is likely to mean "a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the 21st century." Emanuel's is the first study to make a statistical link between global warming and stronger Atlantic storms.
If this is what we can expect, will we have a window of calm, long enough to rebuild?

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/12272807.htm

[edit] I also agree we should restore the wetlands for a multitude of reasons. As it stands though developers have been given the right to develop the mississippi delta wetlands. Maybe Katrina will change the mindset that any development is good development.
 
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911
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Astronuc said:
(source - American Association of Port Authorities - http://www.aapa-ports.org/industryinfo/statistics.htm [Broken])
I can't get through to that site. Apparently Katrina is causing a Denial of Service event.
 
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911
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Wiki's copyright agreement

Astronuc said:
There are a substantial number of energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell. The city is also home to one Fortune 500 company, Entergy Corporation, an electric power provider.

The federal government, has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish. Lockheed-Martin also has a large manufacturing facility located in the Greater New Orleans area that produces external fuel tanks for space shuttles.

The Port of New Orleans handles about 145 million short tons (132 million tonnes) of cargo a year and is the largest faction of the Port of South Louisiana, the latter being the largest and busiest shipping port in the western hemisphere and the 4th busiest in the world.

About 5,000 ships from nearly 60 nations dock at the Port of New Orleans annually. The chief exports are grain and other foods from the Midwestern United States and petroleum products. The leading imports include chemicals, cocoa beans, coffee, and petroleum. The port handles more trade with Latin America than does any other U.S. gateway, including Miami.
Wikipedia's copyright agreement requires that you link back to the original webpage when you copy wikipedia text.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans,_Louisiana#Transportation



Astronuc said:
The Port of New Orleans handles about 145 million short tons (132 million tonnes) of cargo a year
[...]
PORT/STATE TONS
[...]
5 New Orleans, LA. . . . . . . . . . . 83,846,626
Something doesn't compute there.
 
Astronuc
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hitssquad, I checked the link to AAPA and it works.

I don't know the origin of the data in Wikipedia article, but I would believe the AAPA numbers, which btw are from 2003.
 
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There was a lot of expansion in progress at the port of NO.

http://www.portno.com/PortReview.pdf [Broken]
 
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BobG
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edward said:
There was a lot of expansion in progress at the port of NO.

http://www.portno.com/PortReview.pdf [Broken]
A lot of the expansion is filling slots left open after the Port of South Louisiana opened upstream. The loss of wetlands and growing vulnerability of New Orleans hasn't been lost on business. As soon as the PSL opened, a lot moved further inland. The expansion at the Port of New Orleans shows the potential of the Mississippi is still greater than the existing port facilities. Instead of the Port of South Louisiana replacing the Port of New Orleans, new businesses just started filling in the slots left open.

None of the upstream ports can compete for the cruise line business. New Orleans is the draw for them (provided the city comes back, of course).

Of course, even if the Plaquemines and New Orleans ports were closed, the workers at the Port of South Louisiana have to live somewhere. The end result might be a bigger Baton Rouge, a smaller New Orleans, and a string of medium size cities all along the Mississippi between them - almost a long skinny city 90 miles long. (Kind of like the I-77 corridor south of Cleveland used to be and like the I-25 corridor north of Denver is quickly becoming)
 
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Astronuc
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September 10, 2005
New Orleans Executives Plan Revival
By GARY RIVLIN, NY Times

BATON ROUGE, Sept. 9 - The New Orleans business establishment-in-exile has set up a beachhead in a government annex here, across the street from the state Capitol. From here, organizations like the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau have begun to plot the rebirth of the city.

In the cramped offices and hallways of this building, called the Capitol Annex, and continuing into the evening at bars and restaurants around Baton Rouge, New Orleans's business leaders and power brokers are concocting big plans, the most important being reopening the French Quarter within 90 days.

Also under discussion are plans to stage a scaled-down Mardi Gras at the end of February and to lobby for one of the 2008 presidential nominating conventions and perhaps the next available Super Bowl.

So far, those conversations have been taking place largely without the participation of one central player: the city. "They're still in emergency mode and not yet thinking strategically," said J. Stephen Perry, the chief executive of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We're thinking strategically."

The hurdles are formidable when so much of the city is still flooded and some are predicting it could be six months to a year before New Orleans is once again habitable. But the power brokers are not deterred.

For instance, F. Patrick Quinn III, who owns and operates 10 hotels in and around the French Quarter, has set up shop temporarily at the office of a friend and business associate in Baton Rouge so he can make frequent trips to his hotels, where guests - from journalists to employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency - are now staying.

Emergency generators have allowed Mr. Quinn to provide limited power to his guests, and he has bused in workers from Texas and Florida. "We'll be up and running whenever the city is ready," Mr. Quinn said.
. . . it is the French Quarter and nearby areas that draw virtually all the visitors to New Orleans, where tourism is king. The industry brings in some $7 billion to $8 billion a year, according to the convention bureau, with most of that spent in the French Quarter, the central business district and the warehouse district - precisely those areas that were least affected by the flooding.

"We're walking a fine line here," said Bill Hines, the managing partner at Jones Walker, a leading New Orleans-based corporate law firm that moved more than 100 of its lawyers into a satellite office here.

"People in Baton Rouge are looking at me funny, as if talking about bringing back music, or Mardi Gras, or the arts or football is frivolous when we're in the midst of this kind of human tragedy. But I think New Yorkers can relate," said Mr. Hines, a native of New Orleans.
Alden J. McDonald Jr., chairman of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, is more subdued than some of his business brethren. He is chief executive of the Liberty Bank and Trust Company, the third-largest black-owned bank in the United States. Mr. McDonald, who is working out of one of his bank's Baton Rouge branches, said his customer base, unlike those in the tourist business, was hit hard and at least half his branches were badly damaged by water.

Yet he, too, is starting to have some of the same conversation. "We're talking among ourselves, some banking officials, others here in town," he said. "The idea is we should get on the same page so that we're moving in the same direction. I suspect that over the next week to 10 days there'll be a lot more momentum behind these conversations."

Mr. McDonald said that on Monday he would be reopening several of his bank's branches in Jefferson Parish.

The business community, at first scattered throughout Louisiana and nearby states in the week after the storm, sorely needed a central command - and they fell into one, courtesy of the state's lieutenant governor, Mitchell J. Landrieu, the son of the former mayor, Moon Landrieu, and the brother of Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat who represents Louisiana in the United States Senate.

On the morning the hurricane first hit, Mr. Perry headed north and west to his mother's home in Baton Rouge, with no idea where he would work. Thinking he would be gone for two days at most, he brought only two dress shirts with him.

By that Thursday, Mr. Landrieu, whom Mr. Perry knew from his days as chief of staff to a former governor, granted him and his organization a small suite of offices down the hall from his own, on the top floor of a handsome, five-story, 1930's-era building. Others also took Mr. Landrieu up on his hospitality.

Now, when Mr. Perry needs to talk with his counterpart at the New Orleans hotel association, he walks downstairs to the third floor. The mayor's office of economic development is on the second floor. The director of Greater New Orleans Inc., a private development organization that represents many of the city's largest corporations, had called a first-floor conference room home base until moving on Friday to more spacious quarters.

On Thursday night, Mr. Perry dined at Gino's, a popular Italian restaurant here thick with well-connected lawyers and other movers and shakers who call New Orleans home.
Some lingering questions -

What about the poor?

Will their areas be redeveloped?

Will they be able to afford to move back to New Orleans or live there in the 'rebuilt' city?
 

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