Your e-mails:Thoughts on rebuilding
CNN.com users on reviving the spirit of New Orleans
(CNN) -- The tragedy of Katrina has left New Orleans with a unique opportunity to remake a city many wonder: What will the new New Orleans be like?
CNN.com asked readers whether New Orleans will ever be the same and what would need to be saved or rebuilt to maintain the spirit of the city. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:
America may not know it, but New Orleans is this country's soul. And the soul of New Orleans is its music. Rebuild the city by starting with the music. Get the venues going, and, if needed, pay musicians a salary until the work is there, they can get back on their feet financially. The city was filled with a lot of unknown musicians of all types, who went from gig to gig, just making ends meet- the ones who cared enough about their music to stick with it through all kinds of adversity. But those unknowns are the ones who collectively form the brew from which new musical ideas are drawn from, and they are the back bone of music in New Orleans. Remember, this is the city that gave birth to jazz, and jazz was created by these unknown musicians, playing for the pure enjoyment of it, and sharing their creation with their listeners. People come from all over the world to enjoy New Orleans music. Revive the music, bring back the musicians, and city will shine again.
The spirit of a city, a country, an individual, includes how we respond to the more vulnerable. Our pets, our companion animals, improve our mental health and add so much to our spirit. If someone can be compassionate towards a suffering dog, they will understand empathy for others. What the city has done (or not done) for the dogs of New Orleans is inexcusable, and it won't be forgotten by all of us who care. The city can revive their spirit, by acting on their compassion for these "family members" who were left behind, and make sure it doesn't happen again.
I believe New Orleans will never be the same. We need to incorporate a dam system similar to Holland. If it was up to me I would make the coast land a national park so all can enjoy it. Every time we have a hurricane and it destroys these million dollar homes, they rebuild and we pay the bill again.
For those who want us to rebuild our city somewhere else please remember that New Orleans has been here since the 1700s and has survived dozens of hurricanes, including Katrina. It was not Katrina that destroyed the city but the failure of levees that could have and should have been built better. These levees breached; they did not overflow from rising water. And where would you have us rebuild our city? Where there are earthquakes, tornados, wildfires, blizzards, and other such weather events? And how will you feel when your home is destroyed unexpectedly and some person living hundreds of miles away advises you not to rebuild?
I was just reading that Ray Nagin wants to make New Orleans into another Las Vegas. It must have taken him at least a minute or two to come up with the idea. Let's hope the people of New Orleans wake up and vote this unintelligent, uncreative, incompetent and corrupt person out of office. Then, maybe he will move to Las Vegas!
As we've seen, whole neighborhoods may just have to be demolished and rebuilt due to damage by water and molds. But prior to that, a system of flood control needs to be laid down (like the aqua-ducts in Los Angeles). And the naturally lowest parts of the city need to be set aside as collection areas for this drainage. These collection areas can also serve as a series of parks for recreation and green zones. People living in these lowest of the low areas need to be relocated; New houses near the low areas need to be built on 5-to-6-foot stilts. The new levees are also a key issue, but a new system of aqua-ducts need to run right along side the levees as a second line of defense to levee overflow or failure in the future.
Future generations will always maintain the savoir-faire of the City of New Orleans. The present is just another page in our history. We will each carry the sights and scenes and music of the city as we knew it, during our life times, with us to our graves. Just as we grew up seeing those before us living in the old pictures and paintings of the New Orleans they knew hanging on our walls, our children will see us in the New Orleans of our lives and times.
My honest opinion is no; the people have suffered enough. The loss of life, homes and business is horrendous. If it were above sea level I would say, "Go for it!" But, it's not. My heart aches for these dear souls; however, I think it is time they move on. If it weren't below sea level it would be different. Because of the bad history of hurricanes, three, one after the other, who's to say it won't happen again. That disaster could be worse than the last. The disease that is now brewing there with raw sewage and every thing else, it is too risky.
Everyone should read "The Three Little Pigs" first before anything is done.
My family originated in New Orleans and I lived there for many years. I wouldn't live there again for reasons that have nothing to do with Katrina. I simply didn't feel comfortable with the New Orleans humidity and mosquitoes. As for whether New Orleans can ever be the same, I feel this is a question best answered by the people of New Orleans, not by outsiders. It's their city. I would hope that they choose to rebuild in a manner that would restore much of the character of such a beautiful city. But I also hope that they would seek to incorporate some serious thought into how they will deal with the widespread poverty in Orleans Parish. I'll be watching to see how this unfolds and it should be interesting. To build a better New Orleans, I feel the powers-that-be need to examine and address the question of why so many people are living below the poverty line in New Orleans. I also feel the citizens of New Orleans should put more thought into who they elect as mayor. Ray Nagin in my opinion is not up to the task. He has some serious issues in the areas of integrity and accountability. New Orleans needs to elect a leader with management experience, not a typical politician.
To save New Orleans, and the spirit of the city, great care must be taken to preserve the French Quarter and all of its architecture -- it began as the heart of the city and will always be. Don't, don't, don't bulldoze! We cannot simply "start over" as has been suggested. To do so would be to bury our heritage and the evidence of our culture. I for one would not feel at home in a totally different New Orleans. Rescue the present buildings, and the former residents will return.
I was 7 years old when, on Christmas Eve 1974, my home town in Australia was wiped off the map by a cyclone. I remember vividly my parents discussing the futility of living somewhere so vulnerable to cyclones and that the character of the town was gone. We stayed anyway! Well, post-cyclone Darwin is different to pre-cyclone Darwin, but it was rebuilt completely. Most buildings in town are "new" but the people, the atmosphere and the location are what gives it its character now and probably what always did. If the people of New Orleans come home then, although it will be different to pre-Katrina New Orleans, the people, the place and the atmosphere will always be special to New Orleans and it will be worth rebuilding.
This may be an unpopular opinion but the middle class fled New Orleans long ago, leaving rich, very rich, and very poor. A lot of substandard housing is now history -- and I doubt new low cost or public housing is going to replace it. Face it, new upscale housing close to downtown is going to be a hot ticket! New Orleans will survive, but the neighborhoods are going to change, no doubt about it. Just wonder where the poor people are going to go?
New Orleans will never be the same. It does not need to be exactly the same for the benefit of the people. I'm a 28-year-old single woman with no kids, a high school diploma and a college degree. It was very hard for me growing up in the City of New Orleans because of the economy. I've been through a lifetime of unemployment. People would never understand unless they are from the city. With all the hard times the people have experienced, we still manage to have a good sprit of hope about our city we call home. Hope and faith is the only thing that kept our spirit all these centuries. New Orleans deserves another chance and the people that made New Orleans what it is and kept the faith of the city all these years deserve another chance to completely enjoy their home town. New Orleans is not like and will never be like any other city. We have so many traditions and culture with in the community that people can't get from a swamp tour, zoo tour, or a tour down the French Quarter. !
|© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.