49 thoughts on “From a practical, long-term standpoint…”

      1. The water would be not be clean. There used to be a beach on Lake Pontchartrain until 1984. One of the reasons it was closed was because of bacteria, and other pollution concerns. Lake Pontchartrain is only 14 feet deep at its maximum depth. Doesn’t take much to pollute the water.

        I am sure more water flows through Venice to cleanse the water. Lake Pontchartrain has next to no fresh water replenishment.

        The Mississippi River is even less clean. All of the upstream cities have dumped all of their shit (literally) into the river.

        1. This is what would almost make it an okay idea: it couldn’t possibly get much dirtier than it is already.

          But the question of outflow is a distinct problem: there is no large supply of fresh water exchange, like in Venice (which is an estuary) or a lot of cities upriver which are on stilts, like Cairo, Illinois, where the Mississippi really does have a steady flow right through the town, even in flood season. The water would mostly be stagnant, and mostly that’s just asking for disease problems with yellow fever, typhus, cholera, and the whole Most Unwanted list of usual suspects.

    1. New Orleans is already sinking.

      In addition to the problem of building on newly deposited soil, and it sinking over it’s entire life. I’ve heard it suggested that draining the wetlands around it has contributed to the problem of it sinking.

      Of course, one must wonder why people live next to a river on one side, a lake on the other, and they the city is built in a bowl.

      1. Because people are strange?

        It’s the same reason so many humans died in the tsunami while almost no animals did. Animals are smarter than humans and pay more attention to their environment. Humans see the ocean level rise and go “oh, cool, lets go play in the water!”

        Building up some solid ground in the form of little islands, perhaps they could use garbage and make the whole town like a bunch of mini versions of Dream Island in japan. (Aka, build islands from garbage and cover them up with ground, then build on top of them.)

  1. Well therein is the flaw. Venice is built on a series of islands, New Orleans is on solid ground. I suppose you could dam up some streets and create canals, but nah.

    Still, I like the idea.

  2. Sounds like a task for another Public Works Administration, if there’s ever another really bad depression.

    It’d take a whole bloody lot of work.

    … other than that, Cool!

  3. No, they will drain the city. No Venice here.

    What they need to do is bring in clean dirt/sand/clay and fill in the bowl. Fill it up to compensate for 100s of years of more sinking. If I understand it correctly, New Orleans was near entirely above sea level when it was founded in the 1700s.

    I guess the other option is the stilts idea. A car port under every house.

    The silver lining is the forced urban renewel they are about to undergo. I am hoping the city will embrace this as an oportunity to improve the quality of life. Outside of the main tourist sites, New Orleans is a dirty, unpleasant city.

    1. It’s now a wet, dirty, unpleasant city. I do believe they’ll probably want to backfill the whole thing until they have it a good deal above sea level so it can tolerate much more sinking than it did in the last 300 years.

      Just hope either there are no earth quakes there, or the clay they fill it with is not thixotropic.

      1. Dude, the entire Mississippi delta is thixotropic! If one of the ancient fault lines in the East coast lets rip with anything above a 8.0 you can kiss good bye to the entire state, The entire Delta would just slump and the waters of the gulf would roll in. Like it does every 1600 years or so. [oh and yes, we are overdue]

        Trust me, you don’t want to buy properity down south.

        1. Believe me, I know that. I recently posted about how my favorite place to live is the western half of colorado just because of the lack of disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. 🙂

          I had a recent reminder though, We do have forest fires to contend with.

          1. Forest fires aren’t really disasters.
            Or rather, they wouldn’t be disasters if the government didn’t keep putting them out all the time.

          2. Oh, wildfires are DEFINENTLY a disaster. Just look at the Cave Creek Central fire we had here in Arizona about a month ago. It lasted for WEEKS. We had to bring in swarms of firefighters from other states just to contain it.

          3. h, wildfires are DEFINENTLY a disaster. Just look at the Cave Creek Central fire we had here in Arizona about a month ago. It lasted for WEEKS. We had to bring in swarms of firefighters from other states just to contain it.

            That’s what was meant by “if they didn’t keep putting them out.” If you have a fire every few years, it just burns off brushwood and some dead branches. If you keep putting the fires out, the brushwood builds up and then when it does eventually go, you get a firestorm.

            Of course, if you build your house out of those dead branches …

          4. That’s what I meant.
            The USA’s policy regarding wildfires for so many decades was ‘put them out’, but now that we’ve realized that that is STUPID, we CAN’T not put them out, because if we do everything will go to hell.
            So we’re screwed and its all our fault!

          5. Re: You can run but you can’t hide

            I think we’re a bit further away than would easily be covered by 20 feet of ash. Maybe 5 or 8. 🙂

            Time to crank up the air filter.

      2. I do believe they’ll probably want to backfill the whole thing until they have it a good deal above sea level so it can tolerate much more sinking than it did in the last 300 years.

        I’m no civil engineer, but I’m thinking they’d have to put in at least all new plumbing and sewer systems, aside from destroying and rebuilding every building currently standing.

        Just hope either there are no earth quakes there, or the clay they fill it with is not thixotropic.

        New Orleans is arguably within range of the New Madrid Fault Line. It doesn’t pop very often, but it was responsible for the largest earthquake ever recorded in the continental United States.

        Dav2.718

        1. I don’t believe the Mississippi River delta fell into the Gulf during the New Madrid earthquake. New Orleans felt it, but otherwise the earthquake did negligible damage. I doubt an East Coast Earthquake would do much damage either. I smell FUD.

          There are local earthquakes in the New Orleans area. As mass from the mounting deposits increases… the earths crust react by sinking. Weak to moderate earthquakes result.

  4. I say, rebuild it like Ankh-Morpork. just add another layer on top of the existing one. bring all the streets up to the new ‘ground level’ and you’d be all set. no problems!

      1. Yep! But the previous part wasn’t underwater at the time, they just needed to elevate the streets to meet up with the cliff and manage their sewage system.

        Backfilling New Orleans would be quite interesting, actually, particularly from the point of view of any archaeologists who dig up the city in a few thousand years.

        1. I still say they need to pull a Dream Island on the whole place and use it as a landfill for the surrounding states, then cover it up with soil again. 🙂

  5. No no no… once you get it presentable, leave the water IN there, and make it a tourist spot for glass-bottom boats and exotic diving.

    (Apologies if my idea is tasteless — I’ve disconnected myself from the tragedy emotionally until I have the time to mourn. And apologies if that’s tasteless, too.)

    That said, what happens to Anne Rice’s vampires when they wake up under water?

  6. I think they should declare the town screwed. Let everybody move 20 miles upriver. Leave the town flooded. Just clean up the industrial crap and off you go!

  7. If something like this ever happened, I’d be really dissapointed if they didn’t replace the gondolas with those giant Mardi Gras heads.

      1. People are already blaming it on abortion, claiming the false-color satellite photos clearly show a giant fetus in the hurricane.

        Normally this is the part where I’d make a mocking comment, but I really don’t see the need this time.

      2. No-no-no-no-no…

        This was George Bush using America’s weather modification technology to route the storm into the gut of the petroleum industry.

        You should know by now that Bush is to be blamed for everything.

  8. Backfilling the whole city to put it on higher ground is, in fact, quite practical, and has been done with at least two American cities that I know of: Galveston and Seattle.

    Venice, as I recall, has a myriad of “special” problems from its canals. (Among them sewage and insect problems). I think there’s more than one good reason why it’s the only city of its kind. 😀

  9. I say build it on floating platforms then they can float off somewhere else before the hurricanes hit.

    BTW Howard, I cursed you in my post today for getting me hooked on LiveJournal. I didn’t mean it and hope nothing nasty has befallen you and have since edited the post to remove the curse.

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