NEW ORLEANS -- The predominantly black neighborhoods known as the 9th Ward can be brought back largely as they existed before Hurricane Katrina flooded them, a survey contends.
The finding contradicts the common perception that the neighborhoods are so damaged that they need to be rebuilt from scratch, said urban planners who conducted the survey....
The survey found that more than 80 percent of the 9th Ward structures "suffered no terminal structural damage" and that the majority of those structures were built atop piers, making it easier to raise them to meet new flood zone requirements.... (emphasis added)
Oh my aching back. The article goes on to quote New Orleans residents threatening to march on the government demanding money. Natch.
Yes, it's sad that a city built 18' below sea level behind defective dikes thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers was effectively destroyed by floods. And how incredible is it that a city built 18' below sea level behind defective dikes thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers was NOT required to have flood insurance. Flood insurance is damned expensive -- just ask any of my neighbors -- but if you don't have it and haven't paid for it, then why should you be able to collect on it? Now a class action suit against the US Army Corps of Engineers, that I could get behind. But that's not what caught my eye.
Imagine the breathless ignorance of saying that because the slum buildings are mostly built "atop piers, it will be easier to raise them to meet new flood zone requirements." Honestly, what's between those people's ears? The cost of raising a building 19' in the air is considerable. Besides the obvious cost of picking it up, you also have the less obvious costs such as utility connections and stairs -- long stairs (and don't forget ramps for the handicapped - ramps 228' long!). And while we're at it, are we going to make the structures compliant with new wind codes, too? That means for all practical purposes rebuilding them from scratch. Plus there's the flood damage, which is extensive and expensive. But never mind that, Virginia. Just how hard is it to understand this: The cost of raising a little slum house that high in the air is greater than the value of the house.
Yes, we could rebuild New Orleans just the way it was, but why would we want to? Why should we?