The new New Orleans


Joel Garreau's column today in The Washington Post superbly analyzes the prospects for New Orleans. I came to the same conclusion as he, but his analysis is richer. New Orleans will be a much smaller city, confined to the high ground housing the historic settlements, which were naturally built on the highest ground along the river. You could call it a theme park, similar to what Venice has in effect become.

The other part will be the port facilities, which weren't damaged as much (they are built tough and were also on high ground along the riverbank). But ports today don't need many workers, and they tend to be high paying jobs.

Garreau doesn't mention the probability that many evacuees are unlikely to even try to come back. I expect a large contingent in Houston and other Texas cities, and elsewhere too. There will be little demand for housing in the most vulnerable parts of the city, even if insurance could be provided for the new homes. I am wary of calls for federal insurance to rebuild New Orleans for all of its citizens. I can already hear the racial demagoguery already.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   9 11 05