Sept. 14, 2005 12:00
Discussion has already begun about the costs of rebuilding New Orleans. Many experts agree that the city must be redesigned or else a catastrophe like this one will occur again. Historical New Orleans should be preserved, but it does not make sense to rebuild other parts of the city that may very well flood again. There is reason to believe this could happen again. In fact, it could happen again this year.

Rather than focusing on rebuilding all of New Orleans, we should focus on permanently relocating displaced Orleanians to other Louisiana cities. Our cities have opened their arms and their doors to the refugees. As they use our shelters and their children attend our schools, they become part of the community. Is it best to uproot them again and send them back to a city where now they have nothing?

Also, many of these evacuees now have sufficient reason to leave the state altogether. If a refugee escapes to Houston, finds work in Houston, and begins to settle in Houston, what reason does he have to return to Louisiana? Better to keep these residents in Louisiana than to export them to other states and risk losing them altogether.

By relocating these people in Louisiana cities, we will strengthen our cities and Louisiana's economy. Our cities will grow and be better able to attract new business. It will cost less to add to existing, functional services in the other cities than to restart these services in New Orleans. And there is less risk of losing this investment to another hurricane in the other cities than in New Orleans.

Katrina has already brought much devastation to the state of Louisiana. Let's not lose even more by making poor decisions.

Read the flipping paper