14 April 2006

The Short and Not-So-Sweet on my NOLA posts

For those of you finding this post, it is a single place capturing of my thoughts on re-building NOLA. Contained will be the necessary links to my other posts and just a bit of commentary on them:

1) First up the Geophysics of the Delta. Simply put, all the delta material is a viscous liquid slowly flowing out into the Gulf. A few hundred feet or more of such stuff and NOLA sits on it. So, unless you have a way of totally making the delta into a solid, NOLA will also head down and out into the Gulf.

2) New Orleans and New, New Orleans. NOLA is sinking. Given the first item in this list, that should be no surpirse to anyone. The question is: is rebuilding the metro area worth the trouble in-situ? My statement is: NO. Build a new population center inland connected by high speed rail and single road access to the Historical New Orleans, a New Port and move the Petrochemical heads. This will cost as much as rebuilding NOLA *without* the cost of making it Cat 5 hurricane resistant. Also this opens up the Atchafalaya cutoff, allowing the Mississippi to shift its course and deposit sediment robustly in the NOLA area while rebuilding the delta elsewhere.

3) The Ship of New Orleans. For less than the cost of rebuilding, use the city core to house a workforce to make the newest industry in the world: Freedom Ship construction. Use the USACE to dredge Lake Pontchartrain with a secured set of locks and build a New Port elsewhere after opening the Atchafalaya cutoff. Within 5 years the first Freedom Ship for NOLA will be done and 120,000 people can move onto it and have Cat 5 hurricane survivability by an hour or so of heading out into the Gulf. Also, since there is a port, airstrip and other transport capacity on-board, along with all the amenities of a small city, it serves as an INSTANT coastline disaster recovery vessel. Keep the ship moored off the New Port and near to New Orleans, so that there is easy commuting between them.

4) What did YOU do to Save New Orleans when it was YOUR tax dollars being ill-spent? I want to offer a *better* way than rebuilding a sinking city... a way that preserves the people and culture of the city. There will always BE a New Orleans with these concepts, even once the city itself has sunk beneath the water level beyond saving.

5) I play school teacher. Background reading on the poor decisions made in the past and how each of them, while doing something for the short-term, has made the long-term much, much worse.

6) Last thoughts from my viewing of post-2005 material shown on the History Channel. First, higher containment walls would have done nothing to address both breach types. One would have been stopped, the other, due to 1972 era methods of putting in pilings and their spacings, would still have failed. New Orelans has sunk 3" in 30 years vice the expected 1.5" or less: when your AVERAGE is double, the one thing that can be assured is that the current rate is MORE THAN DOUBLE when physical systems of slow moving viscous liquid are concerned. Also, the barrier islands no longer protect the delta from storms or Gulf currents, so the delta is rapidly ending up on Texas beach fronts.

Saving more than the absolute core of NOLA is nuts.

The Federal Government, State Government and Local Governments have all botched this since the 1960's. Before tens or hundreds of billions of dollars get spent on a sinking city, it is encumbent upon the Citizens of the Republic to look for alternatives.

I offer two. Others, I am sure, can be found. Just remember that if you are trying to predict the new long-seasons of high potential storms, the Mississippi, the delta, the Gulf and the way they all interact, anything you do to any one part of the system will change the state of the entire system. And usually for the worse.

America *needs* a port for trans-shipment there.

America *needs* a petrochemical head for Gulf oil in that region.

And America *needs* to preserve the heritage and core of the City of New Orleans for as long as possible.

All THREE together make it a tempting terrorist target.

And now the weather is setting its sights on NOLA, the delta and the region like has not been seen since the 1930's.

If you want to just rebuild and re-inforce the city, then there WILL BE another disaster as the entire delta sinks, the storms continue, terrorists contine to eye it and everything that is done will need maintenance and upgrading like never before seen.

Is that how YOU want YOUR tax money spent?


TexasFred said...

I am a Louisiana NATIVE, but I had the good sense to get OUT of NOLA...

Pull the flush handle, NOLA is done, and all that's being done now is throwing good money after bad... And it mostly ends up lining the pockest of Louisiana politicians...

A Jacksonian said...

Fred - I agree on metro NOLA, that needs to be surrounded and made a national cemetary and memorial, with a small historical area in the city core.

The population, OTOH can *live* just about anywhere with either a high-speed rail connection for port facility jobs and the petrochemical heads or with transport from a Freedom Ship.

Leave metro NOLA as the great science experiment to shows what happens when a modern city dies in a swamp.

The nation does need a trans-ship port and petroheads, however... and a party park to show off the NOLA culture. Just keep the damn population from living in a swamp. *That* is truly insane.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 14 06

Hey AJ:
I think your post contains the common sense that is needed in our world. Unfortunately, people grew attached to that location and failed to see how utterly ridiculous it is to have a CITY on sludge! I only see another disaster occuring soon, if these climate models are correct...

A Jacksonian said...

Mahndisa - I am for saving that part of the actual location that can be saved. Force the insurance companies to pay out on everything else... if they can't take it, then they should learn not to insure things in a subsidance zone.

The actual needs for the Nation are few and the population necessary for those needs can be *safely* housed elsewhere. With the same or lower cost than actually trying to save NOLA.

General climate models show the Atlantic Current has shifted on its approximately 30 year cycle, so a period of 1.5-2 decades of more bad weather is in store. If the paleoclimatologists are correct, then we can expect to see large numbers of nasty storms on a regular basis for the next 1500 years or so.

A *perfect* time to get into megaship building... now if only there were a place to send *good ideas* on rebuilding.....

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 15 06

Ha AJ:
That is funny because my husband swears that we must build a hover craft ASAP. He laments the fact that we did not have a working model when the storms hit NOLA because it could have been used to rescue survivors etc. I do think that if the climatologists are correct, Lord knows WHAT will happen to California? There are a coupla rivers not too far from my house; The Stanislaus River and the Tuolomne River. Not to mention the ones in Sacramento. They are at the highest levels they have been in fifteen years or so! When we were on the Highway 132 the other day, I was tripped out at how swollen the river had gotten; it is almost parallel with the road and Gov Arnie declared a state of emergency. This weather stuff is no joke and I wish more of us took it seriously. Thanks for sharing:)

A Jacksonian said...

Mahndisa - I prefer something that doesn't need power to keep afloat or on a cushion of air... I take a look at the global warming concept and find it lacking. The Earth goes through multiple periodic cycles, but the trend for the last 65MY is steeply downwards for average temps...

As for California, well, it will continue to have part of it slide north while the rest stays with the north american continent... for weather? Who knows? I don't think anyone has done a decent long range study of storm cyclicity there as the seismic factors tend to keep people a bit more worried. Maybe a paleoclimatologist could help...