COMMENTARY FROM NEW ORLEANS MAGAZINE’S ERROL LABORDE: Declaring an End to Hurricane Season in New Orleans
Maybe I do not have the formal authority but someone has to say this otherwise we will all go crazy: I hereby declare the 2008 Hurricane season to be over. I know the season technically goes until the end of November but I promise there will not be hurricanes around Halloween or at Thanksgiving. Sure there have been hurricanes during October, such as Opal in ’95, but just trust me we will not have any. There are plenty places for hurricanes to go. We are just one tiny speck. The odds of a hurricane going anywhere else are overwhelmingly greater than for one to come here.
Remember this: New Orleans was founded in 1719. In the 289 years since then there have only been about 10 or so that came close and none, repeat none, that has ever hit the core of the city head on.
Certainly, as Katrina proved, a hurricane does not have to approach us directly for us to be endangered by floods. But we have to believe what the evidence is showing, that the new higher and stronger levees are more protective. Within the next couple of years they will be even better and stronger.
I issue my proclamation because we can never believe in the city and make it grow and prosper if we live the rest of our lives rattled by hurricanes. We cannot let the storms conquer us. Having experienced Gustav and Ike so soon after Katrina was unfortunate but they at least provided proof that the more populated areas are better defended. We also saw that the entire emergency response system has dramatically improved. We’re getting it right.
So go on, have fun and if you are going to be spooked make it because of Halloween not hurricanes.
And remember, next May when the media start telling you that it is only a few weeks before June 1 and the start of Hurricane season, switch channels. There will not be a hurricane in June. We know that the intense period is late August and early September. We will prepare for it and be smart, but we will not let storm hysteria ruin the city-or our lives.
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