Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More on the New Orleans situation

New Orleans has been continuously inhabited since 1718. In that time it has endured storms, fires, wars, and floods. However, the current flood is unprecedented, and, it appears, is directly related to cuts in funding to maintain the levees.

This is not a new issue. The New Orleans newspaper has been warning that New Orleans may have to be abandoned if the current situation persists. The basic problem is that New Orleans sits on the Mississippi Plate. Think of a large dinner plate floating on top of a tub of molten lava. Now take a bunch of mud, carry it down the Mississippi River, and dump it on one end of the plate. What happens? That end sinks, and the other end rises. Thus Louisiana is sinking, and Arkansas and Missouri are rising. This, BTW, is a probable cause for the New Madrid earthquake, which may have been the largest earthquake to ever hit the United States. (Luckily the area of the earthquake was largely uninhabited at the time). Add in the fact that New Orleans is sitting on mud -- mud that is increasingly drying up due to the levees built around it. What does mud do when it dries? It shrinks, of course. The end result is that in some areas New Orleans is sinking at a rate of 5 inches per decade. And as New Orleans sinks, the levees do too. In fact, because the levees are heavy and are sitting on mud, they probably are sinking faster than the rest of the city.

Now, back during the Big Easy's prime, in the decade 1945-1955, that was not a big deal. New Orleans reached a population of around 630,000 during that decade. It was a can-do era for America... the levees are sinking? Just build them back up! But then desegregation happened, and the white population fled to the suburbs, with entire neighborhoods turning into crumbling ruins that looked like a war zone. New Orleans prior to the Great Flood of 2005 only had 450,000 residents left, of whom a large percentage were brown and poor. So New Orleans was left to maintain a levee system intended to protect over 630,000 people with a tax base less than half of what was needed, and became dependent upon federal funding to help maintain the levees. And furthermore, the times changed. We went from being "can-do America" to being "can't-do America". We went from a can-do era where we could do anything -- send a man to the moon in a decade? No problemo! -- to a can't-do era where we can't even get men into space reliably, much less to the moon. Both of these trends, the declining tax base, the cutoff of Federal money to the levee district in 2003 in order to fund the Mess in Mesopotamia, and the can't-do attitude of modern day America where an America sunk into cynicism and despair believes that positive change is now impossible -- collided in New Orleans today as the levees crumbled.

It now appears that I was optimistic about whether New Orleans will ever be inhabitable again. Even if this particular break is fixed and the city pumped dry again, the levees are continuing to sink -- and there is no money to fix them. All that will happen is that the levees will break again at the next storm. And that will be the last time. As with the last days of Rome, there will be no more money to dry the city out. It will be abandoned, like Rome was, other than a few thousand huddled survivors in the ruins. 20 years from now a small village on stilts in the Mississippi Delta will peek above the waters as you travel by cruise ship to Baton Rouge (the first high ground you'll hit), and that will be New Orleans.

Meanwhile, Nero fiddled -- Bush strummed a guitar. What a miserable failure...

-- Badtux the "In 20 years, will we recall a legend named New Orleans?" Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 8/30/2005 10:43:00 PM  


Post a Comment

<< Home
 My Photo
Name: BadTux
Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica

I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.

April 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 /

Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
Terror Alert Level
Honor Roll
Technorati embed?
Liberated Iraqis

"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce." -- Molly Ivins, 1944-2007 "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

-- Plato

Are you a spammer? Then send mail to my spamtrack mailbox to get permenantly banned! Remember, that's (hehehhe!).

More blogs about bad tux the snarky penguin.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?