Provisions in federal law and the $20.8 billion court agreement say that most of Louisiana's expected $8 billion influx has to be spent on restoration of environment. That allays long-held fears the big payday would set off a feeding frenzy among politicians for projects unrelated to the coast.
The mouth of the Mississippi River should be moved north and communities downriver eventually will have to be abandoned if other parts of southeast Louisiana are to have a future into the next century. Those were among the more startling recommendations proposed by the teams of coastal engineering and sustainability experts from around the world.
Of all the questions being asked about New Orleans’ progress 10 years after the disaster that killed nearly 1,500 residents and clouded its future, the most persistent has been this: Is it safer now? Interviews with storm experts resulted in answers filled with caveats. The best summation: It’s safer for houses, but not necessarily for the people who live in them.
Like many Hurricane Katrina survivors, former Louisiana State University research scientist and instructor Ivor van Heerden sometimes tears up at certain memories. He didn’t lose a house or a family member. He lost his career. That still hurts because it was taken from him by the people he was trying to help.