Your e-mails: Rebuild New Orleans?
Some CNN.com readers say yes
Karen Farley photographed flood damage in her New Orleans home.
(CNN) -- New Orleans faces tough questions after the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina.
Should the city be rebuilt? If so, how?
CNN.com posed those questions to readers, who sent in a range of opinions by e-mail. Some answered that the city should definitely rebuild; others argued against it; still others offered solutions for building New Orleans into a different, perhaps better, city.
Below is a sampling of responses from those who said the city should be rebuilt. Some of the e-mails have been edited for style, clarity and length. Use the links at the bottom of the page to read other views.
New Orleans is quite simply this country's most interesting, culturally vibrant city. In my mind, there is no debate whatsoever as to whether to rebuild but rather how to. The Quarter, the Garden District, and downtown should be re-opened with as few changes as possible. Get locals, tourists, and money back in there as soon as possible. As for the lower-lying parts of the city like the 9th Ward that were impoverished to begin with, perhaps let them return to nature... to swamp in some fashion. Let the rest of the city rebuild as it was. And invest in a proper levee system. It wouldn't take anything fancy! Just something more than gross negligence.
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 destroyed as well.
New Orleans was never just another town. It represented a certain state of mind. It wasn't for everyone, and most of the time in the summer was like a steam room. For some going to Mardi Gras was a youthful rite of passage, and for others just another reason to let off steam. What other town represents that kind of spirit? Has that kind of history? Las Vegas comes close, but its glass and steel glitz and glamour pale in comparison to the wood buildings and urban legends of New Orleans. Clearly, those old levees must be improved. Made higher, stronger, and it will take time. Eventually the city will come back and Katrina will be part of the legend that will continue. Just like the great fire of Chicago. The big earthquake of San Francisco...but look at those cities today. They hardly packed up and moved away. Why should the people of New Orleans?
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.
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.
Why not let the residents of New Orleans do the rebuilding? I keep hearing about the poor and how they need job training. This seems like a perfect opportunity for them to learn a skill. It could be like a big Habitat for Humanity project.
I am not a resident of New Orleans, but I would vote to rebuild the city. In my opinion, big businesses in New Orleans who are also settled in different states and/or all over the world should contribute somehow in rebuilding the city. For example, tax abatements for corporations if they want to go back to rebuild. An example would be, Ritz Carlton. I'm sure they would want to go back to New Orleans and build a new hotel if the old one can not be occupied due to effects of Katrina. And other big companies would like to be part of rebuilding a historic city. Spread the wealth.
When has America ever backed away from nature? Of course it should be rebuilt -- with as much protection as possible.
New Orleans was my beloved home for more than 10 years. I worked at the Tulane University Hospital, Tidewater Building on Canal Street. My family and I weathered Hurricane Georges in 1998 and multiple other storms, with and without evacuations. The people are some of the best in the world and deserve a chance to start over again. The friends and family roots there are deep and they will survive. If I can do anything to help them, I will. So, bottom line -- yes. Worth and deserving or rebuilding and no matter what outsiders think. New Orleans will rise again.
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.
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.
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 collar 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Yes, it's one of the busiest ports in the world. You can't let that income evaporate.
I made a devastatingly haunting comment last year -- that I had better go see New Orleans before it floated away! I am humbled when I remember the visit that I made this year to New Orleans. I was fortunate enough to be given a tour by a Creole friend of mine. So I got to see Lake Pontchartrain in all her voluminous glory and ferried across the Great Mississippi. I saw the enormous houses in the Garden District. I visited museums. I walked around a park that once was a plantation and had been donated to the city. My favorite was the swamp tour -- I held a foot-long baby alligator in my hands. On that tour, I listened to a passionate tour guide (a Cajun man) explain how important care of the ecological system is to our environment -- in fact how important the care of the swamp is to our ecological system. I drank a lot of alcohol in the French Quarter. I listened to some beautiful jazz. I saw where the battle of 1812 was fought! Rebuilding the lady New Orleans is a no-brainer. In its history there has come so much that is amazing about this country. In its history there has come so much that is horrific about this country. To forget either part of history would make the suffering and the glory as if it never existed -- this would be disrespectful!
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