I'll cheat enough to say New Orleans needs two things: a true hurricane-flood-protection system and the restoration of Louisiana's coastal wetlands. The Dutch have done it right a state-of-the art system engineered to a 1-in-10,000-year factor of safety. We've been promised 1-in-100-years, by 2011. As the Army Corps' own reports have proven, dividing responsibility, and dividing the costs, have just resulted in buck-passing, inertia, and a 40-year-long project that failed when faced with a storm that wasn't even The Big One. If we can't do it right, let's call in the Dutch. The wetlands have been our buffer against stronger storms. The good news is rebuilding the wetlands is not rocket science; it's not even levee science. The nation has committed to restoring the Everglades. We should do no less for the source of almost half of the nation's fresh seafood, if for no other reason than to avoid having to eat Chinese crawfish.
Since Katrina, defenders of the Administration's tepid response and people who just don't like New Orleans have lectured us about not demanding handouts, about the necessity for pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Actually, in the face of recalcitrant insurers and a homeowner compensation program that is just starting to disgorge compensation money from the state-federal maw, and despite the 200,000 still unable to come home because of lack of resources and lack of rental housing, homes and businesses are being rebuilt by everyone who has resources, friends and/or volunteers. The good-news story is that, today, New Orleans is Bootstrap City.
Born in 1943, this writer/actor is probably best known for providing many of the voices on The Simpsons, including Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders. He also co-starred in This Is Spinal Tap. The former SNL writer/cast member is originally from Los Angeles, but keeps a home in New Orleans as well. Shearer writes a blog for The Huffington Post which focused mostly on issues in post-Katrina New Orleans. He is involved in various groups which are part of the rebuilding process in New Orleans.
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