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Katrina

edited September 2005 in architecture
Hurricanes, floods, and crime have put Louisiana out of action, leaving authorities with no option but wholesale evacution of affected areas. Architects for Humanity is, as always, straight onto it with a web page calling for assistance for local architects (when they're ready) in, "rebuilding homes and communities in the region's hardest hit areas, where more than a quarter of victims lived below the poverty line."
http://www.architectureforhumanity.org/programs/katrina/katrina.htm

The level of destruction to historic architecture inLouisiana and Mississippi sounds worse by the day. Architectural Record reports,
John Hildreth, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s southern office, has received preliminary reports from around the region, although he says that full reports on New Orleans won’t be available until floodwaters are lowered, which could take up to a month. He notes that New Orleans’ French Quarter and Garden Districts, on higher ground, appear to be relatively in tact, but historic neighborhoods like the 9th Ward, Midtown, and the Treme were all badly hit. These neighborhoods include some multi-story French colonial buildings, but many more single story, wood-frame buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Also badly hit was the Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square... Hildreth adds that the historic districts of several communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian, have been devastated.
ARCH RECORD: 01.09.05
http://archrecord.construction.com/news/daily/archives/050901katrina.asp

Already though, there is talk of long term reconstruction, and concerns about how that might be undertaken. How will these towns recover without getting caught by the kneejerk instinct to replicate lost heritage?
I think a real concern is that you'll get a new faux New Orleans that will be more Anaheim than antebellum.
Joel Kotkin, author of "The City: A Global History" in POST GAZETTE 04.09.05
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05247/565370.stm

Before they get around to that, the basic civil engineering infrastructire of New Orleans needs an overhaul - an expensive proposition for a city that will have trouble attracting residents back after months spent elsewhere.
Urban planners see an opportunity to build safe, smart accommodations that could better withstand the next hurricane or flood. Some have suggested building houses on stilts. Others propose new levees that could criss-cross the city. A sea wall south of New Orleans could be built to keep the Gulf of Mexico from pouring in. Rejected before Katrina because of its projected $2.5 billion cost, that proposal now seems likely to get a closer look.
TENNESSEAN 04.09.05
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050904/NEWS08/509040435/1025/NEWS

That's all in the future though. Currently, the powers that be are concerned with moving tens of thousands of people out of the New Orleans Superdome and into the Houston Astrodome. Chistopher Hawthorne in the LA Times gives these two examples of "hermetic modernism" a quick run down.
The approach combined the massive concrete of Pier Luigi Nervi's postwar stadiums in Italy with a late-Roman Empire sense of grandeur and an American obsession with perfect climate control.
L.A. TIMES 02.09.05
http://www.calendarlive.com/architecture/hawthorne/cl-et-arch2sep02,0,7799078.story?coll=cl-home-more-channels

Comments

  • edited January 1970
    This is an article with a few architectural perspectives on how to approach the rebuilding of New Orleans. Michael Sorkin and Mark Wigley contribute.

    INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/15/features/arch.php

    Author Joel Garreau thinks that talk of impriving the city planning of New Orleans is, " creating a yuppie heaven with a desire swamp around it." The desire swamp referring to surrounding low-lying poverty-stricken areas that copped most of the damage.
    PBS NEWS HOUR 15.09.05
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weather/july-dec05/rebuilding_9-15.html
  • edited January 1970
    The Editorial in the New York Times today forecasts the death of New Orleans, as promised funding to build better levees around the city stalls. The "pending" state of the $32B required is not doing much for a city that has already lost 75% of its inhabitants.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/opinion/11sun1.html
  • edited September 2008
    Arghh.. exactly three years later Hurricane Gustav rolls into Louisiana, with a storm front almost three times that of Katrina.
    A very recent Building Design UK article about reconstruction progress in New Orleans paints a dismal picture of life in the Lower Ninth Ward, which lost 95% of its population after the last hurricane.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that a massive levee strengthening program has also fallen behind: "Only in April... did the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers award a $695 million contract to build a barrier that would help protect the eastern part of New Orleans from a Gulf of Mexico storm surge of the type that flooded much of the city during Katrina. The project isn't scheduled to be finished for at least another year, according to federal officials."
    Mayor Ray Nagin has just ordered the entire population of 240,000 to leave - "Tonight you need to be scared; you need to get your butts out of New Orleans now... This is the mother of all storms. I am not sure we have seen anything like it... If you decide to stay you are on your own. Make sure you have an ax because you will be busting your way out through your roof." The Superdome will be closed to stragglers this time around.
    Storm surges of 15 to 24 feet are expected along the western levees, which are 8 to 10 feet high.
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