New Orleans--A City Worth Saving, Or Cut Them Off
I cannot stress how important the message author John Barry clearly and concisely penned in this opinion piece entitled "A City Worth Saving" which appeared in USA TODAY last week and reprinted in the Times-Picayune a few days ago as "Expensive, but worth it" be understood and absorbed into the brains of all within our country.
To the naysayers concerning the investment of public monies towards rebuilding New Orleans: preserving and protecting New Orleans and Southern Louisiana is not even about our culture, our architecture, our traditions, our music, or our food to which there is no equivalent in the country or probably the world. Quite frankly, the economic implications to the United States without New Orleans are staggering and the abandoning of the city would severely hinder the well-being of our country. New Orleans and Louisiana's increased vulnerability to hurricanes and storm surge is directly associated to the physical changes made to Louisiana's natural systems that have led to massive coastal wetland loss. The primary reason for these changes are economically based on the national scale. The levees, jetties, and revetments that keep the Mississippi River open to international shipping, the canals necessary to access the oil and gas fields along the Louisiana coast, and the oil and gas drilling process (poking holes in the ground leading to subsidence) all greatly benefit the United States--but at tremendous cost to Louisiana's environment. Our country has a monetary obligation and must have a long-term commitment and must make the repairing of our coastline the utmost priority.
From John Barry: "Restoring the coast will cost an estimated $14.1 billion -- spread over 25 to 30 years. By contrast, Iraq costs $6 billion a month." $6 billion dollars a month with no sign of ending compared to $14 billion spread out over 25 to 30 years. That translates to roughly $600 million a year--a bargain in comparison.
Our state (and we are state, although handled like a resource rich colony) needs to be treated like the 18th State of Louisiana, not Liberia. Or perhaps is it time to cut off the oil and gas infrastructure from the rest of the United States? Or maybe close off the Mississippi River to ocean-going vessels disallowing the agricultural products of the Midwest to world markets? Shut down the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) perhaps?
Maybe then our country would understand New Orleans' and Louisiana's relevance.
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Coastal Restoration, Louisiana, John Barry