Transcript: Time to Relocate New Orleans?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 28, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: New Orleans, of course, hopes for an even better Mardi Gras next year, but some openly question if that celebration, and the entire city, for that matter, should move — a lot — inland.

David Nelson of D.C. Nelson Asset Management argues the city is below sea level and is destined to be flooded yet again. He says, stop pouring all that money into rebuilding in the same exact spot and move it all inland.

What do you mean?

DAVID NELSON, PRESIDENT, D.C. NELSON ASSET MANAGEMENT: Well, you know, it begs the question, in whose benefit are we really rebuilding this part of the city?

You know, is this politically motivated? And I think everybody realizes it is. What politician is going to stand in front of his constituency and say that we should not rebuild here?

But, ask yourself, you know, it is under water? Will there be another disaster at some point in the future? Probably. That's what I would think.

CAVUTO: All right.

But you could say that in San Francisco, you could say that in Los Angeles, along an earthquake fault line.

NELSON: You could. I would probably...

CAVUTO: If you felt that way and operated out of fear, you would avoid rebuilding in risky areas altogether.

NELSON: Neil, why not take some of this money, you know, and ask yourself, who benefits? Probably the developers benefit, you know, certainly.

And you will probably end up with a mini-Las Vegas. Will that really help the poor? Because developers are after a buck. And they are going to take the cheap government money, and they want to build high, income-producing properties. And, you know, that means lots of casinos, golf courses, condominiums.

CAVUTO: Could you argue that the building around Las Vegas has created a boom, period, for all types?

NELSON: To a certain extent, what you're saying is true. But why not take that money, build some other areas outside of the city where you're not literally three meters under the water?

CAVUTO: So, New Orleans right now, in this cereal-bowl like position, you would move it. You would not abandon New Orleans.


CAVUTO: You would just say, put New Orleans somewhere else?

NELSON: You would be shifting out. You would be taking the moneys that were going into this section right now, move that further out to other areas of the city that just make some, you know, sense. I'm not an engineer.

CAVUTO: Southern Louisiana got hit by Katrina. Southern Mississippi got hit by Katrina. Southern Alabama got hit by Katrina. That's a wide swathe of land, not just immediately on the Gulf.

NELSON: Is it all under water? Are you telling me that all those sections are under water? I believe...

CAVUTO: So, you know you risk building just a few miles north, where it isn't under water, that you could have damage. By your argument, you might want to avoid that altogether and not build at all.

NELSON: Well, I'm not prepared to go that far.


NELSON: And I doubt any politician could go that far.

But, certainly, you know, no politician is going to stand there and say that we should not do this. And if I was a politician, you know, the first job is to be re-elected. And that's exactly what is happening here. And I think, in many senses, we are putting good money after bad.

CAVUTO: Well, you're probably right on the latter point there.


CAVUTO: So, thank you very much, David.

NELSON: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Always good seeing you.

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