National Geographic : 2007 Dec
LETTERS I read with much interest your article on the devastating effects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina on New Orleans, and how much land, through water saturation, you have lost. This summer in Great Britain we have suffered much water sat uration through heavy rainfall, but not on a par with your situ ation. Our people were without power and drinking water, and in some cases had no homes. Unfortunately, aid seems to be little, and bearing in mind the size of our country and the cost of housing, there is very little room for people to move, as some of your people in New Orleans did. Our problem is that our drainage system is so old and needs replacement, but our central government doesn't bother. We have inade quate water defenses with our rivers, and many of our homes are built on low-lying flood plains. Developers know the consequences of the weather (though this might not happen again for 40 to 50 years), but our government is still insist ing on building more homes on existing floodplain areas. SUE VORE Brighton, England Regarding New Orleans: I applaud the loyalty and self reliance of the residents in attempting to resurrect the city. However, I object to potentially having to support the recovery Corrections, Clarifications August 2007: Photo Journal The photo on page 12 was made at Colorado's Buckley Air Force Base. Harry Potter's Garden The fore runners of aspirin were made from willow bark, not willow leaves. from another disaster with tax dollars, when it seems so likely to happen. If people want to live there, it should be at their own risk. RICHARD PERINI Holland, New York It is true that New Orleans has problems with flooding, but it is a port city. Very few port cities can be located in dry places. PAUL LACOSTE Metairie, Louisiana Residences and decision making alike must move to higher ground regarding the future of New Orleans. Cool pragmatism must prevail over emotional attachment to place. Those who expect a return to pre-Katrina New Orleans life are selfishly myopic. Not only were resi dents' lives devastated by the tragedy, but emotional and other costs were also borne by families, friends, and fel low citizens throughout the country. Rescue workers put their lives and health in harm's way. Taxpayers bore the costs of the devastation and will be required to do so once again, inevitably. To rebuild the residential life of New Orleans is nothing less than reckless endangerment. CAMERON OTOPALIK Ellensburg, Washington When people are building houses in New Orleans on properties that lie as much as 17 feet below sea level, they are waiting on calamity to come along. Why are we then surprised when it happens? ROGER BARTLEY Richmond, Kentucky "FORTHE INCREASEAND DIFFUSION OF GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE" The National GeographicSociety is charteredin Washington,D.C., as a nonprofitscientific and educational organization.Since 1888the Society has supported more than 8,000 explorations and research projects,adding to knowledgeof earth, sea, and sky John M. Fahey, Jr., PRESIDENTAND CEO EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Terrence B. Adamson Linda Berkeley, PRESIDENT, ENTERPRISES Terry D. Garcia, MISSIONPROGRAMS John Q. Griffin, PRESIDENT, MAGAZINEGROUP Nina D. Hoffman, PRESIDENT, BOOKSAND SCHOOLPUBLISHING GROUP Betty Hudson, COMMUNICATIONS Christopher A. Liedel, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Reg Murphy, Vice Chairman Joan Abrahamson, Michael R. Bonsignore, Roger A. Enrico, John M. Fahey,Jr., Daniel S. Goldin, John Jay Iselin, James C. Kautz, Maria E. Lagomasino, J. Willard Marriott, Jr., Floretta Dukes McKenzie, George Munoz, Patrick F Noonan, Nathaniel P Reed,William K. Reilly, Rozanne L. 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