In a nutshell, the town was built on Old Route 66,on the bank of the Meramec River.
The Meramec flooded frequently.
I'm unsure of the exact date, but sometime in the late 70's the river overflowed it's banks and the residents were forced to evacuate their homes.
Residents were generally poor, and most didn't have flood insurance,
so there was a great clamor for the Federal Government to help people rebuild their homes and lives.
And the U.S. Government responded and spent the $$$$$.
Now, the residents of Times Beach were logical people, right?
They got the help rebuilding their homes.
But they STILL lived alongside a river that flooded frequently.
So to make sure they were never in that predicament again,
they took EVERY action possible to avoid a recurrence,
to include buying flood insurance, right?
In 1982, the river rose again, and once again forced people out of their homes.
And again, there was a great cry for Federal help.
My thought was, how can these people expect the U.S. taxpayer to pull their stones outta the fire this second time?
But this time, there was a twist.........
In the early 70's, residents had hired a waste oil hauler to spray oil
on their roads to control dust.
This DIRTBAG had taken a contract to dispose of waste oil that contained high levels of Dioxin.
And where did he dispose of the Dioxin-tainted oil?
Oh, Bunky, you are quick!
Now, Times Beach residents didn't need to say,
"we were flooded out again, help us".
Instead the clamor was: "we have poisons all around our homes.......help us!"
And the U.S. taxpayer responded again, buying out homes of people that didn't have the sense to buy flood insurance,
although they lived alongside the oft-flooding Meramec!
You see where I'm headed with this, right?
Flooding.......toxic waste..........flooding again.
Katrina delivered a powerful punch to New Orleans,
and now Rita may be on the way.
And what about next hurricane season, and the next.............and the next?
Is New Orleans STILL under sea level?
Yes, Bunky, I believe it is!
If we spend BILLIONS and BILLIONS and BILLIONS rebuilding and detoxing
New Orleans over the next years,
will New Orleans be under water again in the future?
Am I truly on a rant here?
Right on both counts, Bunk!
There WILL be common-sense talk about using the BILLIONS to build the city somewhere else, and allow the Mississippi to reclaim New Orleans.
Folks that take this stance will be called racists,
I have NO DOUBT we will spend the BILLIONS this time.
But it will happen again,
just like Times Beach.
And then..........better decision making may prevail.