The Case for Rebuilding New Orleans

I keep getting e-mails from people — and some prominent politicians, too — who say, don't rebuild New Orleans (search).

It's below sea level. It's a mess. And oh yes, it's way too expensive.

They're right. It is below sea level. It is a mess. And it is way too expensive.

But they're wrong to say whether any of those things should prevent us from rebuilding.

Imagine if we used that logic with San Francisco (search) after the devastating 1906 earthquake. The city destroyed. Scores dead. Businesses gone. They rebuilt and, after at least a half-dozen other earthquakes, they kept rebuilding. Each time they got stronger buildings, stronger codes and stronger people.

San Francisco is a beaming, proud city today. As is Los Angeles (search) — itself no stranger to risky locales.

Do people avoid Miami (search) because it's in a hurricane zone? Or stop rebuilding along the Florida coast because it's a sucker's punch to a hurricane zone?

They keep building stronger and better. They get smarter and wiser.

Mother Nature's still mighty. But man is still persistent.

If we stopped rebuilding places that are in harm's way, we'd be stuck in a small patch of land to avoid any harm coming our way.

We'd retreat from terror, knowing full well that we are vulnerable no matter where the terror — whether from nature or man.

We owe it to those displaced that we can replace — not lives, but communities.

I'm not saying replace one mobile home park with another mobile home park. I am saying, build wiser and think better — with your head and with your heart.

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