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Thread: Environmental impact of New Orleans flood

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Environmental impact of New Orleans flood

    We keep hearing about this Toxic Sludge that will remain after they pump the city dry and all the toxic water will then be in the lake. It made me wonder about how successful the clean up will be. The city for all real purposes is now a 200 square mile brownfield. The French Quarter is not all that bad, but other places will have to go through some serious clean up from all the household chemicals, oil and gas from cars, corpses, fecal waste, bacteria, and other toxic waste that has soaked into the ground. And even then Lake Pontchartrain will be contaminated, so then we will have to look at how to clean that up after the city gets taken care of.

    Unlike an earthquake or a fire, the environmental damage from a flood has the potential of exceeding the physical damage.

    What are your thoughts on the environmental impact in regards to potential rebuilding? Will it be the French quarter surrounded by a massive park?

    Off-topic:
    Thanks for moving, I was unsure as to where this thread should be
    Last edited by michaelskis; 08 Sep 2005 at 9:22 AM.
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    I think you are right. The domestic water and sewerage systems would have to be entirely rebuilt to return the city to functioning, along with almost all of the other infrastructure. The city should be abandoned, leaving the French Quarter as a tourist attraction.

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    The city should be abandoned, leaving the French Quarter as a tourist attraction.
    But what chances would you give of that actually happening? Will politics prevail over the planners once again?

    Ive read that the Environemental Justice movement is very active in LA. Will the poor refuse to live in such a contaminated place? Will they demand new homes constructed on greenfields far from polluting industries?
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    But what chances would you give of that actually happening? Will politics prevail over the planners once again?

    Ive read that the Environemental Justice movement is very active in LA. Will the poor refuse to live in such a contaminated place? Will they demand new homes constructed on greenfields far from polluting industries?
    That is the crazy thing about this case. The mayor should show how important the economic influence of New Orleans on the Energy distribution (Nat Gas, Oil, Gasoline and such) as the main reason for rebuilding. He should also mention the cultural and historic heritage of the area. That way the economic aspect will appeal to the conservatives and the cultural aspect will appeal to the liberals. It is a win win work both sides of the line.

    The other thing the government (regardless of who is in office) does not like to put people back into poverty, even if that is where they came from. In many cases, the New Orleans that they are going to return to might be better than it was.

    I do think that it will be a transitional cleanup process that will take years starting with the core and working outward from there. I wonder if they will do something stupid like introduce Zebra Muscles to Lake Pontchartrain to clean up the contamination and pollution since it worked so well for Lake Erie.

    I think that they should rebuild, but one thing that would be very interesting to watch and even study is the migration and distribution of the residents. Many of the low income persons stated that they don’t want to go back because they realize that even with federal and state help, it will still be hard for them. I think that many sociologists will start tracking the distribution and the influences it has had on other cities in the US that have accepted the refugees.
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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis

    What are your thoughts on the environmental impact in regards to potential rebuilding? Will it be the French quarter surrounded by a massive park?
    That would be really cool (French Quarter in the middle of a massive park). However, I don't think there is a chance in hell of that happening. New Orleans will rebuild eventually, but it will be a shadow of its former self. The City will carry a stigma with it for a very long time. There are no jobs to go back to, even for the poor. Nobody has really discussed yet how bad the environmental cleanup will be or how long it will really take. The utility systems are completely compromised. Basically, all that will be left are condemned building shells and roads.

    People have mentioned San Francisco and Chicago as examples of rebirth. However, they are not constantly reminded every time they drive down the street of their potential for problems again. Chicago will probably never have a fire like that again, as would San Francisco. San Francisco gets minor earthquakes fairly frequently to remind them of their situation, but New Orleans will be constantly reminded of their potential for disaster every time they drive past a levee. Also, the incidents in Chicago & San Francisco were not broadcast worldwide as the events occurred like they were in New Orleans. My gut tells me that the New Orleans population will not reach 100K for at least five to ten years. The only thing that may save this city is the presence of the port.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    New Orleans has suffered a disaster but it will recover. I think that many of the people posting in the several New Orleans threads here are grossly underestimating peoples' ability to recover, and are being overly pessimistic about the situation. I have no trouble believing that a third of the city's population will return before the end of the year. Their houses may not be complete and they may be living in temporary facilities, but it will happen. There are significant problems, and I have even outlined several in other threads, but they will be overcome in time.
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