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RSMC

Helping to Understand Our World
Committed to Finding Better Ways to Live in It


Save New Orleans, Once and Forever

Flooding of New Orleans will never go away until we make it go away. It will be cheaper in the long run to raise New Orleans to above sea level! I can hear the scoffing now; doesn't she know how big New Orleans is? Yes I do, but it doesn't matter.

By putting up quick simple retaining walls about every square mile and pumping sand and earth from the Gulf we could fill about one square mile per month and begin to raise New Orleans 12 to 15 feet. When starting from the levees this new level of earth would provide levy support making any further need for work on them unnecessary, an instant saving on upgrading and repair costs. At a fill rate of one square mile per month it would take years to raise New Orleans, but it would still be cheaper than what we spend now on pumps, pumping and pumping stations, levy resign and reconstruction, long term oversight, hurricane damage, reconstruction due to weathering and aging, FEMA aid, military support, combined civilian recovery support, and on and on. And the lives of the residents and property owners could begin anew with hope instead of fear.

The problem is that we think too small and always look for expedient solutions when in some cases more permanent solutions would be more appropriate. We have the ability to move huge amounts of earth and sand in slurry form over long distances at relatively little cost. This solution would have many benefits: as the water drains from the filled sections, within one year new construction could begin and recoverable buildings could be relocated, and all the ancillary work needed to create communities would put many people to work for a very long time, instead of seeing miles of abandoned property in damage zones that will never recover. And the deepening of the Gulf Coast water would help to replace coastal depth lost by sediment deposited by the Mississippi, which should help to reduce water temperatures and improve fishing.

Diane Richardson

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