Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make people do the right things. Such a tragedy was Hurricane Katrina. And many good things hopefully are coming about as a result.First thing, people here and around the country are beginning to realize how important the coast of Louisiana is. Besides being the nation’s major fishery and producer of that all important natural resource of petroleum, it is needed to protect major population centers such as New Orleans, Houma, Lafayette and Lake Charles. With a restored coast, Louisiana will be much better off in resisting such a storm in the future.
As a result, there are indications that federal lawmakers are much more inclined today to share offshore oil revenue with Louisiana. Such money is necessary to bear the cost of some $15 billion it would take to protect and rebuild the coast here.
The problem of imperfect levee systems is getting a lot more attention now. It is just about certain that we will design them to be more protective in the future.
The cost and efficiency in governing has come under attack. As a result, we are consolidating levee boards into more professional entities, making school systems more effective and trying to eliminate unnecessary public officials in New Orleans.
And at last, favorable attention is being paid to closing of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet which has been a major cause of wetland erosion in Southeast Louisiana in the past. Sen. David Vitter is now on the warpath to get Congress to take action in that direction soon.
We’ve learned a lot of lessons with Katrina. Now it is time to correct the errors we have made in the past.