One suggestion that deserves more attention than it will probably get is moving the city to higher ground:
When the cost of restoring New Orleans to urban life is finally calculated, add to it the cost of maintaining it in its present location, then add the inevitable costs that will incur over the next 50 years as there are more hurricanes and Mississsippi River flooding, it makes sense to not bother. Other cities have moved when their old location proved untenable, why not New Orleans?A BBC article has a useful map and cross section of New Orleans demonstrating that not only are large parts of the city below sea level, but the Mississippi River has been engineered to flow by the city 3 meters (10 feet) higher than sea level. This problem of geography is well known and was often pointed out during last year's hurricane season:
"[New Orleans] basically sits like a bowl, and most of the city is under sea level... so if we get a storm like Ivan to hit us directly" there could be 12 to 18 feet of water in the city, [New Orleans Mayor Ray] Nagin said.Two posts at SunnyBlog.com (here and here) explain the situation well.
If we could move the millenia-old temples at Abu Simbel, why not New Orleans?
Update, Sept. 2: Eric Zorn writes in the Chicago Tribune:
Update, Sept. 9: Poll: Most Say Abandon Flooded New Orleans
Do we invest again in the madness of what many refer to as a city in a bowl? Or do we spend all that money--federal tax money, insurance industry money and donations--on building New-New Orleans more safely inland?
Expect sentimental appeals to the history and traditions of the devastated city from those who want to rebuild it on the spot. But remember that along with great music and great food, New Orleans' history is one of defiance of the inevitable.
And its traditions, in the words of Blanche DuBois, one of its most famous fictional residents, include a dependence on the kindness of strangers.
This time, this stranger is opening his heart and his wallet. In return, he asks only that there not be a next time.
WASHINGTON (AP) - More than half the people in this country say the flooded areas of New Orleans lying below sea level should be abandoned and rebuilt on higher ground.
An AP-Ipsos poll found that 54 percent of Americans want the four-fifths of New Orleans that was flooded by Hurricane Katrina moved to a safer location.