So, should they rebuild New Orleans? This is another point addressed in the article referenced two blogs ago.
Yes. The fact is the civil engineering of the levees worked, or should have worked. They failed because of faulting design and construction. But the water did not go over them. The residents were right to trust the levees. They should have worked.
Now, why put a city below sea level. Well, not all of New Orleans is below sea level, and some of New Orleans that flooded was above sea level. New Orleans itself is not in swamp country, that is farther south. Now, the levees built upstream and ecological impacts along the Mississippi River (all the way to Minn.) is another debate that doesn't, in my opinion, include having a city where New Orleans is located.
Why build cities in California? The threat of a major earthquake exists everyday, without warning that a hurricane gives. The devastation from "the big one" in a city such as San Francisco or LA is devastating. But yet we trust engineers to design buildings that are safe if an earthquake hits.
Miami sits, waiting for a destruction of a hurricane. A hurricane could hit Houston and knock out oil and gas production that fuels much of this country.
The debate reminds me of a time in college when they were going to build a tunnel under a road and railroad track to ease the walk from one side of campus to the other. The thought was it would fill up with water when it rains. We laughed, thinking, umm, we can design tunnels to drain. Engineering can protect cities to a certain extent. The tragedy of New Orleans is the protection system was not overcome by mother nature, but failed due to faulty engineering.
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