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On Quitters

I can’t even begin to form coherent thoughts about this ignorant asshole’s latest column:

It’s over for the Saints. Their city, their stadium, their lives are a mess. And given the death toll and the economic devastation of Katrina, the franchise’s future is somewhere else.

While most the city of New Orleans lies under seven feet of water, thousands lie dead, and tens of thousands lie in shelters, this impotent sack of bloody whore pus is advocating that the perenially-losing team that the city has (for some reason) wildly supported for 38 years pack up its bags and move to Los Angeles. LA, a city of nearly four million people, has such finnicky and worthless fanbase that in the past it couldn’t support one pro team. Look at how LA treats the Clippers… the Saints would need a whiny probable rapist as team captain to get any Angelinos to fill the seats.

The Saints permanently leaving would be laughable if the city’s existing wounds weren’t so fresh and deep. Tom Benson may be many things, but he’s not stupid when it comes to non-football matters. He would be a villain the likes of which America has never seen. To New Orleanians, Bin Laden and Benedict Arnold would be remembered fondly in comparison. If anything, this disaster has solidified the Saints’ place in Louisiana.

But allow me to address Czarnecki and the other defeatist shitferbrains who are calling for New Orleans to not be rebuilt (or in Dennis “Pork” Hastert’s case, further demolished):

When the World Trade Center buildings collapsed, did we question rebuilding such a commanding symbol of America’s economic power? Hell, the site is a ripe target for terrorists: After they were attacked by terrorists in 1993, didn’t people realize that it may be attacked again? After they were destroyed by terrorists in 2001, didn’t the plans for a replacementinclude safety measures in the highly likely event it would also be attacked? Despite the high probability of further attacks, New York has persisted in its efforts to replace the towers. And thank God for that, because despite what some raving lunatics claim, New Yorkers (and Americans in general) aren’t cowards and quitters.

Meanwhile, America fights a global war on terrorism despite cloudy end goals and long odds. Some funny-smelling slack-jawed idiots call for America to remove its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because our military is sustaining casualties and costing us vast sums of money. Well, I’ve never heard of a bloodless and inexpensive war that was worth fighting. If there is one thing that can be learned from the early years of the (then-unknown) war on terrorism, it’s that quitting empowers terrorists.

The situation New Orleans now finds itself in was repeatedly predicted and well-known by anyone with even a remote knowledge of its levee system. If rebuilt, the city will still be in danger. Another massive hurricane is nearly guaranteed within the next 100 years.

But as with the WTC, the global war on terrorism, and fast cars and short skirts, quitting is not an option. The greatest war of all remains that of humankind versus nature: the fight to control disease, to survive natural disaster, and to control the primal yet natural instincts that resides deep within all of us. The french quarter still stands, downtown still stands, many of the residential areas still stand. Fuck no. If the people of New Orleans will still cheer for a shitty football team after 38 years of ineptitude, what makes you think they’ll cede their home to Poseidon?

But while quitting should not be a choice in any necessary conflict, proceeding blindly without concern for the mistakes of the past is equally foolhardy. Jeff Jarvis links to an old Times Picayune article detailing some of the regulatory changes and infrastructure improvements that must be implemented in order to survive future storms. The destruction of the wetlands south of New Orleans is perhaps the biggest contributor to the severity of incoming Hurricanes. As the Picayune mentions, normal coastal restoration techniques are not enough, new methods are needed. When most people think of environmentalists, they think of mouth-breathing potheads chaining themselves to trees and torching SUVs, but it’s time for mainstream and bi-partisan environmentalists concerned with coastal management rather than pure conservation to be seen and heard. If I’m missing a group that’s doing this, please alleviate my ignorance.

There are too many who have died or lost everything they have for New Orleans to ever be the same. But the city’s infrastructure can and will be rebuilt, and I for one plan to be there for Super Bowl XLIV.

  1. Leon says:

    Shouldn’t someone sue the Corps of Engineers? They built the levies that allegedly reduced the wetlands, didn’t they? Perhaps they should sue themselves under the Section 404 Clean Water Act for building inadequate foundations under the levies that failed and caused an illegal discharge into a Water of the United States.

  2. Timothy says:

    Are you the goddamn voice all of a sudden?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Work on the summer issue begins after we decide what fonts to use.

  4. Timothy says:

    What you need to address is the lack of a summer issue. See also BTTB.

  5. Ian says:


    Good point about the Columbia, I was looking for an easy and immediate example and should have looked a bit further. I would say that the extensive canal and levee system which encloses the Netherlands is a better example.

    Damn, need to get back to work. I’ll address the rest of your comments later.

  6. Danimal says:

    Ian, when you talk about what would happen if the Columbia started to move away from Portland: that can’t happen. It’s bounded to its present course by two mountain ranges. Any analogy to the fluvial open season at the mouth of the Mississippi amounts to a willful denial of the reality of deltas.

    And speaking of denial, look at where Cairo is located. Is it unthinkable not to have a port at the mouth of the Nile? Or is it eminently thinkable to have a port miles inland, above the delta, where you can count on the ground beneath you? Cairo is built to last.

    I’m all for the American spirit of can-do optimism, but never quitting can paint you into some tight corners sometimes. A resilient nation ought to also be sensible.

  7. Danimal says:

    Sounds like a plan, Lex.

  8. Timothy says:

    I think we need to build a world-wide weather control system, personally. How’s that for thinking big?

  9. Danimal says:

    Seriously, though, count me as a “mainstream and bi-partisan environmentalist concerned with coastal management.”

    However, merely being one doesn’t mean I know what to do about the Mississippi Delta, other than urge everyone to read John McPhee’s The Control of Nature. I don’t think acknowledging the limits of human control ought to mean getting oneself labeled an asshole or an environmental extremist. While it may be “unthinkable that it wouldn’t have a port at its mouth,” the Mississippi may have other ideas. It does move around, and likely will defeat the Corps of Engineers one of these days at Old River Control, and it will flow to a new mouth. Then, the real risk for New Orleans will become clear: not destruction by hurricane, which can be rebuilt, but obsolescence. It will no longer be at the mouth.

    Perhaps instead of rebuilding the port at the current mouth of the river, we build a major port above the delta and devote our resources not to levee maintenance but to intensive dredging of whatever channel the river is going with at the time.

    Or, hell, we’re high tech: how about a huge, floating, moveable port? Let’s reimagine New Orleans as raft. Call it New New Orleans. When hurricanes come we can send it far out to sea, where it will be safe from storm surges.

    We gotta think big.

  10. Danimal says:

    No we don’t!

  11. Ian says:

    Your geology instructor was correct. The erosion of the wetlands is a direct consequence of the levee system.

    With that being said, allowing the Mississippi (or any other river for that matter) to take its natural course is not an option. The mouth of the river isn’t moving to one spot… its perpetually changing course. Considering that the Mississippi is economically the most important river in America, it’s simply unthinkable that it wouldn’t have a port at its mouth. Think about the Columbia River. If it decided to shift southwards, would Portland be abandoned? Of course not. Engineers would find a way to control the river.

    The main problem with building the city elsewhere, however, is that so much of it still stands. Take a look at an aerial view. Should downtown, the french quarter, and most of uptown be simply abandoned? It would be unthinkable to do so.

    I do appreciate the comment, though. We need more debate on this blog.

  12. Gabrielle says:

    As far as I’ve been told (I may be mistaken, it was a leftist geology instructor that told me this) the destruction of the wetlands is directly tied to the building of levies. It has diverted the water elsewhere. I think what really needs to be done is to let the river take a natural course and build the town elsewhere. (yes, yell at me it won’t be the first time…)

  13. Ian says:

    Or maybe they will move.

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