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Risk & Insurance: The Lost City of New Orleans?
Risk & Insurance: The Lost City of New Orleans?: “The Lost City of New Orleans?
Risk & Insurance, Dec, 2000 by Lori Widmer
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Louisiana’s marshlands, the only buffer for hurricanes that come out of the Gulf, are slipping into the ocean at an alarming rate. New search indicates that just one major hurricane could put New Orleans under water.
The Big Easy is in big trouble. New Orleans is sinking. And fast. But what’s the big deal? Local businesses and residents have heard it all before. They’ve built levees to control the raging Mississippi. They’ve developed pumping systems to deal with rain and flooding. They’ve dug canals to move the water out of the city. And still they survive, wearing the battle scars earned from each hurricane and each flood as badges of honor.
New research by the U.S. Geological Survey, however, indicates that New Orleans is sinking faster than many realize and could be under water within 50 years. The city is facing a series of issues–disappearing wetlands that protect from hurricanes, levees that are too low to hold back flood waters, rising water tables, to name a few–that if not addressed soon could have New Orleans suffering the same fate as Atlantis.
Dramatic, yes. But not unlikely, according to Shea Penland, geologist and professor at the University of New Orleans. ‘When we get the big hurricane and there are 10,000 people dead, the city government’s been relocated to the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, refugee camps have been set up and there $10 billion plus in losses, what then?’ he asks.