I have had some good times in New Orleans. It is certainly a popular tourist destination; but its value as a fun city and port city can be measured in terms of the dollars that flow into it. Areas more than usually subject to periodic natural disasters should sustain and rebuild themselves out of their own community's income - with the help of loans from people willing to make them if necessary - but should not be restored again and again with tax dollars.
Seeing people who refused to evacuate, who caused good people to risk their own lives rescuing them, and who are looting stores for jewelry in the chaos, is interfering with my sympathy; but I am talking about the folly of sustaining a city extraordinarily exposed to the elements.
Let me remind the world of a famous saying of Jesus of Nazareth, found at Matthew 7:24 (NIV):
"24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
New Orleans is a house built on sand. If we are going to have nationally-funded relief efforts, then we should have nationally-mandated rules against building on land extraordinarily subject to periodic devastation.
UPDATE: Read a really fine article in the Washington Post about the history and politics of "The Slow Drowning of New Orleans." Also see the Townhall.com column by Professor Marvin Olasky about the history of federal disaster relief, "A Disastrous History."
UPDATE: Sanity may be settling in: Hard Decisions for New Orleans
UPDATE: Rethinking New Orleans
UPDATE: Shell-shocked insurers retreat from coasts
UPDATE: FEMA's rebuilding rules announced
UPDATE: "Parts of New Orleans are sinking far more rapidly than scientists first thought, more than an inch a year, new research suggests."
UPDATE: New Orleans is again a cesspool of murder.
UPDATE: New Orleans Repeats Mistakes as It Rebuilds.