Daily Illuminator

September 24, 2005: Still Looking Like A Miss

Rita still looks like a very dangerous storm, but more and more it looks like one that will bypass most of Texas, and (from my selfish point of view, fortunately) will miss Austin and Houston. My sympathies go out to everyone who left Houston for what, in retrospect, looks like a false alarm - especially Agent Grf, who spent 19 hours on the road to Dallas - but running from a Category 5 is really a Good Idea. Don't think of it as a false alarm. Think of it as practice for next year. Our last few decades have been atypically storm-free; for the rest of our lives, the Gulf Coast will be windier.

But the farther east it goes from Texas, the closer it gets to battered Louisiana. Right now New Orleans is dealing with storm surge from the ocean. In a few days, it can expect a lot of rainwater coming down the Mississippi. The question is: can the United States, the State of Louisiana, and Orleans Parish honestly claim jurisdiction over the area behind the levees, or does it properly belong to the Gulf of Mexico? Set aside the political posturing from various officials: how much are we willing to spend to re-set that below-sea-level deathtrap to kill more thousands in the next hurricane, instead of building New New Orleans on higher ground? (I mean, if you REALLY want to kill off poor folks, there are cheaper ways . . .)
-- Steve Jackson

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