Tim Kusky is a professor in the Earth Sciences Department at St. Louis University. He told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that New Orleans should be abandoned:
“Because New Orleans is going to be 15 to 18 feet below sea level, sitting off the coast of North America surrounded by a 50- to 100-foot-tall levee system to protect the city,” explains Kusky.
He says the city will be completely surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico just 90 years from now.
“That’s the projection, because we are losing land on the Mississippi Delta at a rate of 25 to 30 square miles per year. That’s two acres per hour that are sinking below sea level,” says Kusky.
As the city assesses damage and plans to rebuild, Kusky believes there’s a better plan.
“We should be thinking about a gradual pullout of New Orleans and starting to rebuild people’s homes, businesses and industry in places that can last more than 80 years,” says Kusky. Instead, the law will allow residents to rebuild if their homes lie at the 100-year flood level, much of which was inundated by Katrina’s waters and would be put underwater again should levees fail.
The Johnsville News looked at both the quality of life in New Orleans and the geography and asked on Sept. 5th: Why rebuild the criminal cesspool that is New Orleans?
Do not reclaim or rebuild the cesspool - the parts of the city that are currently below sea level. Go green and turn the low lying areas back into protective swamps and wetlands - naturally barriers to hurricanes. The lowlands are lost.
Mr. Kusky in a Sept. 25th article for boston.com said:
The projected setting of the city in 2100 is in a hole up to 18 feet below sea level directly on the hurricane-prone coast. The city will look like a fish tank battered by coastal waves, surrounded by 50- to 100-foot-high seawalls that are barely able to protect it from hurricanes that are only as strong as Katrina. Such a city is untenable, and we as a nation need to face this reality.
New Orleans Is Sinking [cbsnews.com, Nov. 20, 2005]
Time to move to higher ground [boston.com, Sept. 25, 2005]
New Orleans: Why rebuild a criminal cesspool? [TJN, Sept. 5, 2005]
Ocean Levels Are Rising [TJN, Sept. 28, 2004]