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Your e-mails: Rebuild New Orleans?

Some readers say no

Karen Farley took this photo of flood damage in her New Orleans 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 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 not be rebuilt. Use the links at the bottom of the page to read some of the other opinions. Some e-mails have been edited for style, clarity and length.

No, don't rebuild, because a restoration is simply not possible. Too much has been destroyed, in such a geologically bad location. You can't replace magic and history and culture by artificial means. If you try, all you'll get is a cheap, shoddy theme park, a sad parody of the memory of the City. Think about it as though you were going to build a city from scratch, using tax dollars from the whole rest of the country. You wouldn't put it where New Orleans was, knowing hurricane damage will happen over and over again. It's just like the way we can't afford tax dollars to rebuild fancy vacation homes that rich people build right next to the water on low-lying barrier islands in the ocean.
James Vesce, Marion, Virginia

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

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

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?
Jill Mahon, Jamestown, New York

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

No, New Orleans should not be rebuilt. We the taxpayers should not have to continue to pay for rebuilding in areas that are prone to hurricanes just so people can enjoy life near water.
Mary, Adrian, 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

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

I have very mixed feelings regarding this. Last year, myself as well as many others, survived not just one but three major hurricanes right here in Polk County, Florida, in the middle of the state .... I can understand the feeling of wanting to rebuild, having just now finished most of my repairs (more than $35,000 later, none of which came from FEMA, but my insurance company and my checkbook). How much is culture and history worth? Is it worth almost 1,000 lives? Is it worth all the time, money and effort for a place that could very easily have it happen again?
Jeanine Sanchez, Winter Haven, Florida

When are we as a nation going to draw the line? When will we step back and use some common sense and find a permanent fix to a solution? Granted it's hard living in place prone to hurricanes and having it swept away in a matter of minutes. Would that not be your first clue to start over? It's kind of like the Sunday school children's song: The foolish man built his house upon the sands. When the rains came down and the floods came up the house was smashed. How long are you willing to rebuild? How long are you willing to put your family through that kind of torture? How long before you actually make a difference and start rebuilding where it counts?
Joshua Schmitz, Burton, Michigan

New Orleans was a unique place, filled with so much beauty, history, music, food. It was a wonderful place to visit -- unless you wanted to breathe clean air! Why would rebuilding on the same ground be up for any discussion? Weather patterns do change with time, but will eventually recur and there could be even worse destruction and more deaths. Is it worth it? Does the ground a city lies on make the city? No! Make a better city, a better life in a safer place. The long-term ill effects on health are not worth returning to mold and mildew and rot.
Eliza, Greenville, South Carolina

Years ago on my first visit to Boston I stood at an unimpressive plaque buried into the sidewalk that marked the area of the Boston Massacre. My thought was "Wow, this sure isn't giving history its due." It was unimpressive, flat, unemotional. Big buildings surrounded the spot, traffic scooted about on all sides, commerce had won out over sentiment. Then I realized that is the way that the world is and must be -- we can't preserve everything. New Orleans is the same way. How can we justify pouring billions of dollars into an area that will continue to be threatened with catastrophe? The Mississippi will continue to silt, storm cycles will continue to brew hurricanes, New Orleans will always be under the gun. A river town builds to protect against a 100- or 500-year event -- the threat is never removed, just mitigated a bit.
George Currier, St. Maries, Idaho

New Orleans' neighborhoods should not be rebuilt as is. We should not waste our resources rebuilding residential neighborhoods that sit below sea level and would continually consume additional resources to avert additional death and destruction. People don't need to be living in what should naturally be the bottom of a lake bed.
Ron Smith, Nacogdoches, Texas

I think it'd be a crime to rebuild it. The history will be there whether it is rebuilt or not. It'd be unrealistic to rebuild it and not expect another disaster to hit .... You don't need to forget history just because you don't rebuild a place. Are people going to forget what happened on 9/11 just because the Twin Towers aren't there anymore? I don't think so.
Jason, Arizona

Read other views: Yes, rebuild | Yes, rebuild, but differently |Move the city

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