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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on January 29, 2007 11:32 PM.

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LRA Asks Citizens to Speak Up

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The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), through its Louisiana Speaks initiative, is asking residents of coastal Louisiana to answer five questions regarding how they want to rebuild Louisiana.

The questions are multiple-choice and very broad, but they do make you think about your answers.

I do have to agree with Keith Magill of the Daily Comet/The Courier, the most important question is number five.

What is the right mix of property rights and community risk?

a. Emphasize property rights. No restrictions on how or where people build; shared risk for everyone increases.

b. Balance property rights and community risk. Some new rules for unprotected flood-prone areas; shared risk minimized for everyone.

c. Emphasize reducing community risk. Development prohibited in unprotected, flood-prone areas and wetlands; shared risk for everyone increases

Mr. Magill came up with an answer that does not appear on the poll, but, as he says, most residents would probably pick.

d. Emphasize reducing community risk as long as it doesn’t mean I will have to move, raze my house to make way for a levee or inconvenience me in any significant way.

Most residents see a need to build bigger, stronger levees as long as they do not have to move from their little square of dirt. Although not as apparent, at least in my eyes, in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, it is especially acute in my former parish of St. Bernard.

Every article I've read of residents rebuilding in St. Bernard all share a common theme: "I've lived here for years, I can't move."

What they fail to take into consideration is that the population has decreased by two-thirds. With less population, there is less resources to support a police force, fire department, ambulance service, garbage pickup, and other government services we take for granted.

With a decreased police force, those that remain have to cover a greater geographic area. With people no longer living close to each other, you no longer have neighbor watching neighbor. Add to this the numerous structures that are still standing, gutted or not, that provide a place for criminals to hide, and the formerly safe neighborhood can no longer offer the sense of security it used to have.

The only way around this, especially in St. Bernard Parish and East New Orleans is for property owners to be willing to trade their plot of land for another plot that is in a more populated area. This was part of the plan offered by Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) Architects and Town Planners. Unfortunately, as Mr. Magill stated, too many people are only looking at the short term fix which requires no sacrifice on their part.

    Submit your entry to the Louisiana Speaks Poll using any of the following methods:
  • Online
  • Drop your Response Sheet at your local library
  • Call 1 (888) PLAN 2050 or 1 (888) 752-6205
  • LOOK for us in your community
  • Submit your Response Sheet by February 10th
  • Do you have other comments? Send us an email with your comments to

View the complete poll online
Download a printable copy of the poll


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