Short Term
Long Term
Setting a Precedent


Considerations: Costs
Plan 1
This plan is to be used for comparison.  It shows the cost of rebuilding New Orleans to pre-Katrina levels without making any improvements.
Plan 2
Plan 2 shows the calculations that were used to deduce the cost of the plan that we would like to implement in New Orleans.
Plan 3
This is also to be used for comparison.  These are the costs for completely deconstructing the city and letting the river reclaim the area as a flood plain.

Plan 1 (Reference):

These costs are compiled from the Department of Homeland Security’s plan for the city.  Many of the numbers represent funding for the entire Gulf Coast region affected by Hurricane Katrina.  The numbers in parentheses are the portion of the money that we estimate will go to Louisiana for reconstruction. 

o       FEMA: $5.5 (3.5) billion to repair and replace damaged public infrastructure such as roads and bridges, schools, water systems, public buildings and public utilities, as well as to fund emergency protective measures and debris removal. 

o       Department of Transportation (DOT): $62.6 million to repair and rebuild air transportation infrastructure (not just air traffic control facilities) in LA and MS.

o       U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC): $1.3 (0.8) million National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is investing in hurricane related assistance to Gulf Coast public broadcasting stations.

o       U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): $250 (100) million to help thousands of hurricane-impacted farmers.  The funds are being used to: help offset livestock feed loss and increased feed costs (3,394 farmers); reimbursement for deceased livestock (1,189 farmers); Noninsured Crop Assistance Payments; aquaculture grants (1,734 farmers); and assistance for debris cleanup, replanting and rehabilitating trees (807 farmers). 

o       U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  $3 billion for the reconstruction of the levees to pre-Katrina levels. (

o       USDA: $504 (200) million has begun sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Emergency Forestry Conservation Program, which helps landowners and operators restore and enhance hurricane-damaged forestland).

o       National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): $128 million to assist local communities in rebuilding Gulf oysterbeds and conduct fisheries monitoring.

o       Small Business Association (SBA): In Louisiana: 91,345 disaster loans were approved for $6.4 billion; 78,364 home loans were approved for $5 billion; 12,981 business disaster loans were approved for $1.4 billion.

o       Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology: $4.5 (1.5) million in partnership with the Gulf Coast states to support the recovery of manufacturers affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita

o       U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): $285 (80) million to repair Coast Guard facilities and ships.

o       U.S. Department of Defense (DOD): $4.6 billion to repair and rebuild damaged DOD facilities and equipment, such as at Kessler Air Force Base in Mississippi and at the Naval Air Station in New Orleans

  • CDFI Fund: As part of the GO Zone Act, will allocate $400 (200) million in 2007 to encourage private sector capital into the region.

o       FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): provided funds to policyholders affected by Hurricane Katrina to help them rebuild or relocate. Louisiana – 98 percent of all claims closed, total payout is nearly $12.6 billion.

  • On May 9, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved Louisiana’s initial supplemental CDBG Disaster Action Plan and awarded the state $368.4 million to help meet the state’s infrastructure needs, provide interest-free small business bridge loans and support long-term planning efforts. On May 30, 2006, Secretary Jackson approved an amended plan and awarded an additional $4.6 billion of the state’s original $6.2 billion to fund Louisiana’s Road Home Program. This program provides up to $150,000 to eligible homeowners whose primary residences were located outside pre-Katrina designated flood zones and were destroyed or severely damaged following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

(Hurricane Katrina:  What Government is Doing, 2006)

ESTIMATED TOTAL:  $48,441,300,000

Plan 2: 

Wetland Restoration

Short Term

  • Critical Near-Term Projects (to be completed over the next 10-20 years):
    • Barataria shoreline restoration: $275,471,000
    • Bayou Lafourche Reintroduction: $167,582,000
    • Land bridge restoration (Cailou Lake and Gulf coast):  $41,000,000
  • Additional Near-Term Projects (w/in 10 years):
    • Terrebonne shoreline restoration:  $84,850,000
    • Amite River Diversion Canal restoration:  $2,855,000
    • Shoreline restoration @ Point Au Fer Island:  $32,000,000
    • Modification of Davis Pond diversion:  $1,800,000
  • Use of Dredged Materials to rebuild wetlands (10 years): $100 million
  • Modifying Existing Structures (10 years): $10 million
  • Program for Studying the Wetland Ecosystem for better understanding: $100 million
  • estimates the incremental cost of building an acre of marsh at $700-$4000.
(Saving Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands: The Need For a Long-Term Plan of Action, April 1987.)

Intermediate Term

  • Coast 2050—calls for $14 billion and says that doing nothing would cost $37 billion in public use value (90 thousand jobs from coastal oil/gas industry and supporting vendors alone.)
  • Program for Developing New Technology & for demonstration projects (pipeline sediments): $175 million
  • Development of Longer-term solutions for large-scale restoration (requires study of river hydrology and deltaic plain..etc.): $60 million
  • Implementation of Longer-term restoration projects (averaging $2 billion per decade over 50 years): $10 billion
  • Maintenance & Monitoring of Restored Wetlands & Infrastructure (over 50 years): $200 million

(LaCoast, 2006)

Levee Repair and Construction

  • Sluice Gates Across Lake Pontchartrain $2.035 billion (Dan Swenson Times-Picayune)
  • Closing of MR-GO; $1.47 billion (Dredged Material)
  • Levee Repair and Construction; $9.425 billion  (or $6000/linear foot)  (USACE)
  • Interim and Permanent Gates on 17th St., London Ave, and Orleans Avenue Canals; $0.35 billion
  • Monitoring by Differential Global Positioning System; $1.5 billion
  • Pumping stations; $0.345 billion

Recycling and Cleanup

  • The cost of this would depend partially the number of dump trucks that would need to be obtained (they are about $100,000/truck, so worst case scenario, think 10 trucks since some are already in use ($1 million)) (Granger, 2006) and
  • mostly upon the cost of processing facilities, we’ll say 3 facilities
    • 1. Concrete/asphalt Processing 
    • 2. Siding and Shingle Processing 
  • 3. Odds and Ends, Each Facility will cost about $500,000 (Edgecombe et al, 2003).   
In total, this plan should cost about $2.5 million, however some money will be regained through the process of resale.

(Envisioning Growth, 2003)

Acquisition of Land   

Sept 2008 predicted repopulation rate based on:

“Based on these assumptions, Table 3.2 presents the repopulation rates at which we arrived through the consensus process. The rates differ by flood-depth/housing-damage category and generally change by period. A summary of the assumptions underlying the rates shown in the table is included in the final column. To illustrate how the information in Table 3.2 summarizes our results, consider the first row in the table. This row shows we estimated that the repopulation rate for areas with no flooding in December 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina struck, would be about 65 percent of the base population of full-time residents.42 This estimate is based on the following evidence: (1) The houses in this area suffered wind damage but no flood damage and, with minor repairs, could be occupied by early returnees; (2) utilities were reconnected quickly for most households; (3) vacant houses in these areas were not occupied immediately; and (4) no families with children returned during this early period. The subsequent rows show that we estimated repopulation rates of about 20 percent in areas with moderate housing damage (less than 2 feet of flooding), 5 percent in areas with serious damage (2–4 feet of flooding), and 1 percent in areas with severe damage (more than 4 feet of flooding).”

>4 feet/severe 30%

·   Decrease in vacancy rates

·   Increase in average household size

·   Virtually all reconstruction and repairs completed

·   Reconstruction limited by high costs and financial hardship of homeowners

·   Some reconstruction completed

·   Many families with children return

·   Shortages of construction workers, skilled tradespeople, inspectors, and building
 materials continuing

·   Some reconstruction completed

·   Financial hardship of homeowners continues to constrain reconstruction 

  • Lakeview:  > 8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (9,875 ppl) = 2,963
  • West End: > 8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (4,724) = 1,417
  • Read Blvd East: > 8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (8,240) = 2,472
  • Read Blvd West: 7’-8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (5,564) = 1,669
  • Plum Orchard: 8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (7,005) = 2,102
  • West Lake Forest: >8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (9,596) = 2,879
  • Pines Village:  7’-8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (5,092) = 1,528
  • Edgelake/Little Woods:  >8’ flooding = 30% repopulation (44,311) = 13,293

2–4 feet/serious 45%
(same criteria as above)

  • Village DeL’Est: 2-5’ flooding = 45% repopulation (12,912) = 5,810

Future population info from
Flooding info from
Population info from (2000 Census)

Avg cost for severe damage (majority pop):

  • Lakeview--$150,478 (2963) = $445,866,314
  • West End--$150,478 (1417) = $213,227,326
  • Read Blvd East--$97,089 (2472) = $240,004,008
  • Village DeL’Est--$83,510 (5810) = $485,193,100
  • Read Blvd West--$97,089 (1,669) = $162,041,541
  • Plum Orchard--$97,089 (2,102) = $204,081, 078
  • West Lake Forest--$97,089 (2,879) = $279,519,231
  • Pines Village--$97,089 (1,528) = $148,351,992
  • Edgelake/Little Woods--$97,089 (44,311) = $4,302,110,679
Seizing land through eminent domain/reimbursing people: $6,480,400,000

City Planning and Insuring

Building Codes

  • 1 floor house (2000sq ft) ~ approximately $200,000
  • 2-4 floor house (2000sq ft) ~ approximately $400,000

Green Technology

As much as the additional of $50.00 per square foot

  • 2-4 floor house (2000sq ft) ~ $500,000
  • 1 floor (2000sq ft) ~ $300,000

Government Subsidized Housing

  • On average, 2 bedroom government subsidized housing costs about $300 to $400. We have to maintain this cost for rent while drastically improving the conditions of the government subsidized housing.
  • Individual Government Subsidized Housing ~ $500,000
  • Government Subsidized Low-rises Rent ~ $500


  • National Flood Insurance Policy ~ $370
  • Home Insurance ~ $975

        These are very approximate costs on the implementations of our plan. We understand that the plan requires more government funding than has previously required for any government subsidizing housing units. We also understand that the individual cost of living will increase due to the implementation of green technology and the purchase of the NFIP and home insurance. However, initially, the federal government will help get New Orleans start with these financial issues. This is so that New Orleans can serve as the model city in the twenty first century. New Orleans will be the global first step toward an environmentally friendly world. Thus, although the costs for these projects are incredibly expensive, we feel that in the long run, this plan will not only be environmentally friendly but also beneficial to the people once the costs evened out. Also, we are requiring NFIP to be purchased by everyone in New

Orleans. We understand this is a very high demand; however, we want to prevent what Kunreuther calls as natural disaster syndrome. Thus, although the costs for many of these new plans are relatively expensive as we begin the process of rebuilding, in the long run, the costs will even out and original investment will be profitable environmentally and financially.

Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2006)

(Insurance Information Institute, 2006)

(Lorick, J., 2004)

(RS Means, 2006)

Subsidized House ($500,000) + mandatory NFIP ($370) = $500,370 per house

Mississippi River

  • Spur Dike Construction along the Mississippi River: 8,775,000 dollars   (Matanuska, 2006)
  • Building crevasses along the Mississippi River in the Plaquemines Parish:  80,000 dollars   (Boyer, 1997)
  • Creating an artificial distributary from the Mississippi River to the MR-GO via the Violet Canal 80 million dollars   (Amite River Basin Commission, 2003)
  • Creation of an artificial distributary from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico via the Wilkinson Canal: 160 million dollars   (Amite River Basin Commission, 2003)


Total (0-50 years):

Wetland restoration                                                                   $815,558,000

Levee repair and construction                                                 $15,125,000,000

Clean up and recycling                                                                  $2,500,000

Acquisition of land and implementation of laws                            $6,480,400,000

City Planning and insuring                                                              $500,370  (per insured house that is up to code)

Mississippi River                                                                       $248,855,000

Total                                                                                                           $22,672,313,000 + $500,370
per government subsidized and insured home


Future Mississippi River maintenance/monitoring (50-100 years): 

MRGO = $ 378,350,389 in 30 years

Divided by 30 = $12,611,679 per year

Times 100 years = $1,261,167,963

Times 2 diversions = $2,522,335,927

+ compensation for other maintenance and monitoring = $3,500,000,000

(Hoekstra, Douwe Johannes, 2002)


Total (50-100 years):

Wetland restoration                                                 $24,435,000,000

Levee repair and maintenance (McQuaid)                    $15,000,000,000

Phasing out people and industry (incentives)                $40,000,000,000

Mississippi River monitoring and maintenance                $3,500,000,000

Total                                                            $82,935,000,000 

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Plan 3 (Reference): 

Visitor Spending  & Tax Revenue

  • Travelers directly spent close to $10 billion in Louisiana during 2004, a 5.8 percent increase from 2003.  $10 billion (times approximately 50 yrs)  =  $500,000,000,000
  • Traveler spending in Louisiana directly generated nearly $1.3 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments in 2004, up 4.0 percent from 2003.
  • Before Hurricane Katrina, tourists brought in $5 million a year alone, with 40 percent spent on conventions and meeting business.
  • 80,000 jobs were provided by the hotel industry alone.

  •  Travel-generated tourism employees earned more than $2 billion in wage and salary income during 2004, up 2.6 percent compared to 2003.  $2 billion (50 yrs) = $100 billion
  • Travel spending directly generated 121,100 jobs within Louisiana in 2004, up 1.1 percent from 2003.

Debris removal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has estimated that Katrina caused
damage will result in over 2 billion cubic yards of debris that will need to be
removed. Historically, according to FEMA, these estimates are 95% accurate. Also
according to FEMA, the average cost for debris removal is $10-20 per cubic yard
for regular debris, but can be much higher for hazardous material and
contaminated debris. ≥ $40,000,000,000 


The demolition of a typical 2,000 square foot home can be expected to produce 127 tons of debris. While disposal fees can vary widely depending upon local conditions, at an average rate of 25 dollars per ton, disposal costs for a residential demolition would come to $3,175.  With an 80% diversion of waste, deconstruction could save $2,540 in disposal costs over demolition.

186,000 occupied homes in Orleans Parish  +  29,000 vacant homes  =  215,000
215,000 homes (127 tons per home)  =  27,305,000 tons
27,305,000 tons  ($25 per ton)  =  $682,625,000 deconstruction of houses

Total cost for deconstruction was estimated at $4.50 to $5.40 per SF (NAHB, 1997).
Total area of NOLA:  9,763,015,665 sf ($5.00 per sf)  =  $48,815,078,280 deconstruction of other buildings and infrastructure.

Brownfield sites:  $150,000 granted 

Cost of removing underground wiring and other utilities:  about $3.6 million per mile
Approximately 1000 miles ($3,600,000)  =  $3,600,000,000

TOTAL (approx 50 years):

Loss of tourism                                                                  $100,000,000,000

Loss of jobs (income)                                                          $100,000,000,000

Debris Removal                                                                   $40,000,000,000

Deconstruction                                                                     $53,000,000,000

Total                                                                        $293,000,000,000

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