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Should New Orleans be rebuilt?

  1. Sep 7, 2005 #1

    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 Minnesota and all other farmers in the Midwest.

    It will impact Latin America 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.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2005 #2
    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.
     
  4. Sep 7, 2005 #3

    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.
     
  5. Sep 7, 2005 #4
    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.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2005 #5

    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  7. Sep 7, 2005 #6

    Astronuc

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    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.
    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.
     
  8. Sep 7, 2005 #7

    SOS2008

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    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.

    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.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2005 #8
    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
     
  10. Sep 7, 2005 #9
    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.
     
  11. Sep 7, 2005 #10

    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.
     
  12. Sep 7, 2005 #11

    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.
     
  13. Sep 7, 2005 #12
    Read the post again. It stated The Port of NO was 5th by tonnage. NO is 9th by overall in $$$ worth of goods.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  14. Sep 7, 2005 #13
    Ports - busy by tonnage vs busy by containers

    By tonnage, South Louisiana is number one. Long Beach is the busiest container port. This information is mirrored widely by reputable sources.
     
  15. Sep 8, 2005 #14

    Astronuc

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    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)

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

    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
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2005
  16. Sep 8, 2005 #15
    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.

    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2005
  17. Sep 8, 2005 #16
  18. Sep 8, 2005 #17
    Wiki's copyright agreement

    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



    Something doesn't compute there.
     
  19. Sep 8, 2005 #18

    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.
     
  20. Sep 8, 2005 #19
  21. Sep 9, 2005 #20

    BobG

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    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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