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Your e-mails: Rebuild New Orleans? readers on what's next for the city

Calvin Sylvester took this photo of flooding near his 9th Ward home.


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Should New Orleans be rebuilt?
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(CNN) -- New Orleans faces tough questions after the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina.

Should the city be rebuilt? If so, how? posed those questions to readers, who sent in their opinions via e-mail. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:

The federal government should not encourage people to return to a city that is mostly below sea level (and slowly sinking lower) and that is vulnerable to flooding every hurricane season. The government should remain neutral. People can live at the bottom of the ocean if they want, but the rest of us should not be forced to subsidize them. If a shrunken New Orleans, consisting of the French Quarter, the downtown and a few residential areas is all that remains after nature and market forces have taken their course, so be it. Change is normal and natural; the world is not a museum.
Bill Schroeder, Carbondale, Illinois

Yes, emphatically. Yes, New Orleans is worth rebuilding. The cuisine, the music, the history, the architecture ... the people ... black and white, rich and poor ... are what make this city such a flavorful and rich treasure of the United States. It would be a crime to turn the 9th Ward district and other destroyed areas into a "white bread" look-alike settlement of boring neighborhoods similar to others in "urban renewal" sites across the country. Rebuild, solidify, and improve the levees, so that the original residents can return, live, work, and be safe from future hurricanes. And rebuild the original neighborhoods with mindfulness of historical/architectural integrity. New Orleans is a national treasure, and it should be renewed, preserved and respected.
Natasha Jones, Columbus, Ohio

I don't see a problem with rebuilding, however I do not believe the rest of the country's taxes should be increased for a city that is already below sea level. I would never build or buy a house on the coast due to the unpredictable weather, and I do not believe our taxes should be increased due to those people as well.
C.R., Jacksonville, Florida

I think maybe some parts, definitely not the Superdome, too many bad memories. I mean, you could never look at any event held there the same. I also think it would be disrespectful to try to cover it up; it would be like trying to forget 9/11.
Dee T., Camden, Arkansas

Residents of homes that were not destroyed should be allowed to return, but the homes that were lost should not be rebuilt until the land underneath is somehow raised significantly up above sea level. Earthquakes teach us to build homes resistant to shaking, great fires teach us to put sprinklers in buildings and fire stations nearby. Hopefully Katrina will teach people not to build homes below sea level near the ocean.
Stuart Kahler, Kansas City, Missouri

Not until every levee is rebuilt to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, period! If they can't keep the water out, why rebuild it?
Tom Newman, Surprise, Arizona

There is an unimaginable amount of debris from these two hurricanes, and there are questions about what to do with all of it. Why can't it be sent to New Orleans to "fill the bowl"? It could be done section by section of the city. Cover the debris with earth, grass, paved roads and New Orleans would no longer be below sea level. We would have found a place to put all of the wreckage and the city would no longer be as I said below sea level. I guess some people would say it is a naive idea, but if it were filled neighborhood by neighborhood I think it could be done. The entire city needs rebuilt right? I know we can't tear down the French Quarter and raise it because of the historical importance, but why not the rest of the city?
Edna Sprinz, Belleville, Illinois

A hometown is the root of many souls. This is a special place to millions and the heart of many. To rebuild is to move forward. All of us must care about each other and find ways to support each other. A disaster can and may happen to any one of us. We must support each other.
Sarah McColman, Faison, North Carolina

Being a proud native of Louisiana, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that New Orleans should be rebuilt and will be rebuilt. Cajun people have two things instilled in them at a very young age. Never give up in what you believe in (we are survivors) and when you have hit your lowest (rock bottom) come back bigger and better with a sense with a whole lot of wisdom.
Eva L. Broussard, Perry, Florida

Rebuild? Yes, but in a location that will be less susceptible to a repeat disaster. If people wish to ignore the federal government and build there anyway -- they should be excluded from disaster money. Just as residents who live on parts of the Ohio River have been subjected to.
Mike, Columbus, Ohio

Would you invest in Enron knowing what you know now? How about WorldCom? How is rebuilding New Orleans any different? It will without a doubt get hit by another hurricane in the future. It almost happened twice in one month. The only difference is that rebuilding New Orleans will cost Americans more money than Enron and WorldCom combined and in the end we will have no choice in the matter. New Orleans will never be the same no matter how much you invest into it.
Chris, Anchorage, Alaska

I think the city should rebuild, but I also believe that building in the same location would be crazy. I think they should relocate and turn the parts of the city that are below sea level into a wildlife sanctuary of some sort. I don't have the answer as to how this would be accomplished, but knowing the problems that exist, I think it's the only answer.
Sandy Craig, St. Louis, Missouri

New Orleans has a rich and colorful history, full of both historic and modern traditions. Now that the city has been almost entirely lost, I think it is time to leave it and move on. Its traditions will never be forgotten, but its location should be. The city's design is less than ideal: below sea level, close to the coast, in an area prone to hurricanes. It would be irresponsible of us as a nation to rebuild there. In the midst of global concerns over a rising sea level and increased occurrences of hurricanes, and especially after seeing what happened to our families and friends at the hands of Katrina, how could we send our fellow citizens back there with a false sense of hope? Insurance companies will naturally start refusing coverage in that area, causing even more problems for many of the people who can afford them the least. Haven't they been through enough already? Now is the time to celebrate the life of the city and the lives of the people lost in it. We have no right to risk our nation's resources, and more importantly, our nation's citizens, for the sake of restoring a lost city.
Jill Mahon, Jamestown, New York

We can't throw away almost 400 years of American history! Would anyone abandon Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, or San Francisco because of a disaster? Both Chicago and San Francisco, in previous disasters, were completely destroyed as well.
David Aeschliman, Corona, California

Neglect of the levees, not a hurricane was responsible for the increased damage to New Orleans. So, it should be rebuilt with an upgraded and regularly maintained levee system.
Daniel Ortiz, Seville, Spain

It is worth rebuilding with 21st century technology and forethought. Embrace the flavor and history of New Orleans with mindful planning and architecture.
J. Johnson, Ignacio, Colorado

Yes, it is worth rebuilding the city. Remember, it is a modern-day city. By the way, it could be done to last to the end of time if the federal , state and local government did not try to price the cost within a current-year annual budget. Remember, the city is 288 years old, so why should we worry about the financial cost over a one-, two- or even a three-year period of time. First, whatever it cost to build (without fraud) the money should be made available to completely rebuild the areas and buildings that was damaged to a newer and higher standard. The federal government should appropriate the necessary funds and make it a set-aside budget that the city can pay those funds back to the government over the next 200-plus years based on the full faith and credit of the people and government of New Orleans, Louisiana. This would allow the budget to be amortized into a smaller amount that can become part of the normal annual budget for the city. At the same time, it gets paid. Under the current system, we are going to make a real mess of the rebuilding process.
Will Hardy, Inglewood, California

Yes, I believe New Orleans should be rebuilt. This city is so rich with history that it would be a crime to not rebuild, but this time above sea level and if that can not be done, than some other way to protect the people who would be in the path of a hurricane. Even if it means raising tax dollars. I am not a wealthy person, just a blue color worker, going to college at age 57 to try to make a better life for myself and my family, but if everyone would just pull their belts a little tighter, maybe we could get something done. Let rebuild this city and let her people come home.
Bonnie, Cumberland, Maryland

We should not encourage people to live there. Instead of giving incentives to move back and rebuild, we should instead offer grants to those who do not go back. The town will never completely disappear, it has too much history. But it should not attempt to become a viable American city. It should be a tourist city able to evacuate at a moment's notice. It's like building on an active volcano; not very well thought out.
Andrew, New York

New Orleans should be rebuilt by the people who want to live there. The cost, however, should not be borne by people who have freely chosen to live in a safer place. The government should provide low or no-cost loans only.
Ron Kelly, Lewes, Delaware

Where there is "high ground" rebuild ... where there is not, make it a park wetland area. Stop making everyone else pay for rebuilding in hazardous zones. Make any residents bear the full cost, then let's see who wants rebuilding.
Tom Butowicz, Olympia, Washington

Yes, it should be rebuilt! People think of New Orleans as sleazy bars on Bourbon Street. In reality, New Orleans is the port; the oil and gas industry; the fisheries; a repository of a unique architectural and historical culture; and the home of more than a million people.
James McArthur, New Orleans, Louisiana

Turn the lowest areas into parkland that will serve as a natural drain during flooding. I understand the emotion behind those who say rebuild, but it is pure emotion, not logic. I think the government could start a new town immediately nearby and build a train to transport people into the city for work. To rebuild in the same place is just crazy, and a terrible waste of all our tax money, not that they care about that these days.
Todd Szymczak, Rochester, Michigan

I believe that the city should not be rebuilt. I think that it should be designated as a historical site, but classified as uninhabitable by human beings. New Orleans is basically a geological version of the Titanic, because of the topography.
Sir Winnie Moore, Memphis, Tennessee

I think they should rebuild with specific guidelines. Due to the city being well below sea level, they should have a code to raise all houses to a specific height. Everyone knew this was going to happen to New Orleans, it's been talked about for years, but nobody really ever reacted. It's always after the fact. So they need to learn their lesson and make some major changes. The city could rebuild, the poor could become middle class and it could become even a bigger tourist area.
Kristine Heffron, Monroe, Michigan

I believe the city should be rebuilt with a few caveats. I think the debris from this disaster should be left right where it is. I think the people should be invited back to get what they can and then the city should be buried under 10 feet of dirt. No demolishing, no places to put refuse. Just bury it and start over. That way the city would be higher than the levees and not be subjected to flooding in the future.
Karen Mackey, Lapeer, Michigan

Yes, New Orleans is worth rebuilding! The history is too rich not to. I would rebuild away from the ocean, higher houses and waterproof roofs and walls.
Aidamaria Gonzalez, Apopka, Florida

I think that New Orleans should be rebuilt so that people can go home. I am from the 9th Ward of New Orleans, and most of my family are still residents of this city (albeit evacuated). New Orleans will always be home for us. I believe that to not rebuild New Orleans would be a slap in the face to so many people, who are already suffering as a result of Katrina. I've spent every Christmas of my life in New Orleans, and I already feel lost knowing that it is most unlikely that I will be home for Christmas this year. But I look forward to being home with my family for Christmas next year. I remain optimistic, and hopeful. My grandmother, who will be 83, is also looking forward to rebuilding her home, and returning to it. I pray that she can get home.
Gwen Hoover, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Why shouldn't New Orleans be rebuilt? It is a major city in the United States. Let's say Los Angeles was burned by the wildfires, would you be asking the same question? Of course not. There are a lot of people who live and work in New Orleans; what do you want them to do if the city isn't rebuilt?
Mike Broussard, Lake Charles, Louisiana

The 9th Ward, St. Bernard's parish and other hard-hit, poorer neighborhoods should be rebuilt first, as these are the people less able to hold on for long and wait, and also because we need to show that the worst-affected deserve the quickest and most complete response.
Toni Sammons, Port Ludlow, Washington

My sister lost her home and everything in New Orleans. Turn the flooded areas of the city into green space. The French Quarter and Uptown need to be the true city now. Do not rebuild in areas that will flood again -- all you would be asking for is human pain and physical destruction again. You cannot build the levees high enough to withstand the hurricanes this city will see in the next 20 years.
Ben Raney, Mountainburg, Arkansas

New Orleans is a wonderful city. Everyone always wants to talk about the crime or the parties and strip clubs. No one wants to talk about the history, the culture, or the people. Yes, it's a poor city as far as big cities go. But it's a good city, and it's where people have grown up and lived their entire lives. To just abandon it would be a crime. Maybe the government should try spending a little money on fixing things, instead of waiting till something bad happens to fix the problem.
Nikole Earnhart, Slidell, Louisiana

Yes, New Orleans should be rebuilt. I can't believe that is even a question! Why would we spend billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq and have to question ourselves about rebuilding a major American city?
Joseph Inyang, Houston, Texas

No, man needs to respect God's plan -- he made the land to be a buffer between the land and ocean. Let nature reclaim the swamp and relocate the residents to a safer area.
Susan Randolph, Cookeville, Tennessee

Yes, it's one of the busiest ports in the world. You can't let that income evaporate.
Daniel M. Jacob, San Diego, California

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