A question occurred to me a couple of years ago that I’d put behind me. I remembered it yesterday during the day-long extravaganza of bullshit that this city became. How long would it take for New Orleans to just disappear if we were all to leave? I mean gone. The more I think about it though, I was really imagining everything south of I-12 and east of the Baton Rouge/Morgan City line. It’s a morbid question, I know. But I kinda feel like we’re all fighting the city’s desire to be left alone. On some level, though it makes me sound like more of a liberal, hippie, tree-hugger than I am, I feel the whole planet is like that. I guess since the storm I’ve become more aware of our interactions with the planet and how something is amiss. Or maybe it’s just easier for me to look at Katrina as being the earth’s immune system attacking a particularly sickly part. Cancer alley. Drilling platforms, refineries, destruction of wetlands, elimination of sedimentary deposits all along the delta…I just can’t see where we, as human beings, are doing anyone any favors by being here. Even we suffer for our impact you could say….obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyper tension, heart disease in general, various cancers…

Anyway, I’ve always figured the earth would get rid of us when it had had enough of our shit. I guess I just didn’t think it would be during my lifetime.

While looking around for more information on how long the earth would take to rebound from humans living here I discovered this interesting little site that some of you may already be aware of.

By the way, from what I can tell, the answer to the question is around 300 years. Ironically, that’s about as long as New Orleans* has been here. Kinda puts us at the half way mark in some ways.

**…as a city as we sort of understand it so don’t be an ass and go off on me about some fucking mound building Indians because that’s not what I’m talking about and you know it.

13 Comments so far

  1. termite. (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 9:28 am

    i’m sure there are many out there that wish this would happen. most of the country is sick of us. at least it feels that way to me.

    it will never happen. there are way too many of us that won’t give up the fight. and yes, it is a fight. and in 300 years there will be happy fools just like me. i’m sure of it.
    so what? i’d rather live here and be frustrated (at times) then live in anywhere U.S.A.

    Pollyanna Termite. :p

    Geaux Saints!

  2. Ann (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 10:36 am

    That site is interesting – although I never knew Houston was built on a delta – what river is near Houston?

  3. Ann (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 10:38 am

    That site is interesting – although I never knew Houston was built on a delta – what river is near Houston?

    Oh and Termite – Memphis still loves you. The radio sations were all about there’s still work to be done so get you asses down there, if only to get drunk and contribute your tax dollars to the cause (these were classic rock stations – what do you expect? ;-P )


  4. steve (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 11:37 am



  5. Craig (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

    Houston is located near a series of rivers that form Buffalo Bayou. The Trinty, the Lost, the Old and the San Jacinto Rivers are all in close proximity

  6. Mica (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    Interesting read here. Houston is ‘Anywhere USA’ — just move to our fine city and find out for yourself.
    I miss you New Orleans and all that goes with it.

    And don’t let the assholes get you down.

  7. Jack Ware (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    People scoff at the idea of a place being abandoned but it does happen much more often than I’d have ever thought. From this entry in my old friend Wikipedia the things that we think might save us may not…

    “Often a ghost town will still have significant art and architecture…Some ghost towns are tourist attractions…This is especially true of those that preserve interesting architecture. Visiting, writing about, and photographing them is a minor industry.”

    I’m not saying it could realistically happen here in the foreseeable future really. And I’m certainly not suggesting it should ever happen here. I guess I’m just saying, for such a strange little thought, I sure found out some shit I would have never guessed. Maybe I’m the Pollyanna…lol

  8. DanF (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

    Jack, great post. I think the only thing that we will remove ALL the people here would be water. As long as there is even a strip of land near the end of that river (and yeah I know about diverting the MissRiver and all) that someone could live on, then there would be folks on it.

  9. DanF (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    Thanks for the wiki link too, very interesting read. My knowledge of ghost towns comes from the Brady Bunch episode when they got stuck in a ghost town. Or was that Scooby Doo?

  10. DanF (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

    Did you notice the ghost town in Louisiana named Waterloo? Levees did her in , hmmmmmm.

  11. Jack Ware (unregistered) on August 30th, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

    “As long as there is even a strip of land…”

    You’re probably right about people being here if at all possible. This is proven by Centralia, PA where people still live in spite of a scary-ass underground mine fire. But really, how Twilight Zone-esc is that?!?

    I wonder if those people are overheard telling each other they’ll never leave? that things are getting better? that the city will make a comeback?

    I know its a totally different situation, if for no other reasons than pure numbers, but it sure gives me pause. At some point there was a threshold in Centralia where people were facing the decision to stay or go….holding onto hope…not wanting to give up. And in that little microcosm, much like I’ve seen in myself being in nola after the storm, you can lose perspective and without something to jolt you out of it, it sure is possible to make rotten decisions.

    We’re no where near the circumstance of being down to triple or double digit populations but that line is out there somewhere. I guess I like the idea of being aware of that as a point of reference. Because as much as I don’t want to believe it could happen here…a couple of back to back seasons like 2005, however unlikely, is still all it would take to really put us right on that line.

    I don’t like the idea of looking back and saying, ‘I want things to be like they were’ because it’s a moving target depending on the issue at hand. But there’s a stark line in the sand where things can go that there will be no coming back. I feel a lot better the more we move away from that. It’s kind of a uncomfortable, but it may just be a healthier perspective – at least it gives you a place to measure from – somewhere to hook that little metal tab on the end of the measuring tape that won’t ever move.

    lol…an imaginary red stick in the ground (Baton Rouge) might serve as a good marker. HA!

  12. Kyle (unregistered) on August 31st, 2007 @ 9:19 am

    California will always love New Orleans..and you too Termite.
    Come see us soon and bring your unwavering lust for life..and a King Cake as well!!

  13. Laurie (unregistered) on September 1st, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

    Jack, stop making up wikipedia facts – you’re giving

    Stephen Colbert ideas!


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