Thursday, May 27, 2010

Relocate New Orleans to Baton Rouge

This is the second gulf disaster in the last five years. Back when Katrina hit the underbelly of our states I believed that it was a bad idea to pump too much relief into this area. The disaster could have served us by indicating that New Orleans is pretty dumb place to put a city. The natural relocation of people into neighboring Houston, Baton Rouge, and Mississippi was a great way to move people out of harms way from a region prone to natural disasters. The hurricane resulted in 1,300 deaths and up to $150 billion in damages to both private property and public infrastructure.

The area is significantly below sea level. When there is a funeral people are buried above ground, otherwise they will not stay buried. The area will always be in danger of flooding from storm surge and hurricanes. The climate is hot and an ideal environment to breed mosquitoes. It is the perfect place to put a penal colony. The French originally used the area for this purpose. Recently, we have also learned that the Gulf Stream will likely whack its shoreline before it hits anywhere else.

In its defense it is also at the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is important port for shipping goods and services out of the heartland of our country.  It is strategically close to the Panama Canal. I have hesitated for five years to write this unpopular post because I have visited the area and enjoyed its culture and music.

In my opinion, the geographic liabilities outweigh the regions benefits. 500,000 barrels have spilled from the ocean floor since the BP well began to leak. The Exon Valdez oil spill was 250,000 barrels and destroyed an unprecedented amount of coastline. Should this oil spill attack the New Orleans coast line let’s consider relocating New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge is a more sensible geographic location that could have adopted and preserved the culture of New Orleans.

What is the next great disaster to threaten the area?  This is likely to be only the first of many oil leaks in the gulf as the aging oil platforms of the 1950’s become ripe for leaking. Making the New Orleans area a barrier area and wildlife refuge just makes sense.