New Orleans, Beijing: Same Difference

Nicolai Ouroussoff: still here, still batshit-crazy. He asks why, if China could make a major architectural statement out of Beijing, the U.S. won’t do the same in . . . New Orleans. No, really.

Somehow, he misses the points that

  1. Beijing is the capital of a burgeoning world power, while New Orleans’ economy is driven almost entirely by drunken tourists,
  2. New Orleans, we now understand, faces destruction by flood every hurricane season, thanks to its georgraphy, a series of incredibly short-sighted development decisions, and the admitted incompetence of the Army Corps of Engineers,
  3. “New Orleans” and “coherent vision” don’t belong in the same article.

Maybe he’ll propose Frank Gehry to design new curved levees.

2 Replies to “New Orleans, Beijing: Same Difference”

  1. Hey! I left Texas alone this time!

    And I LOVE New Orleans. I just don’t think it can be “fixed” by having a bunch of Rem Koolhaas buildings added to it. I think its ability to withstand the threat of hurricanes is most important; without that, the city will never attract significant business/industry that will subsequently draw back the population and maybe get the city to a point where it can support hyper-modern-Beijing-like starchitecture.

    I mean, one of Ouroussoff’s off-the-cuff remarks indicates that his “large scale urban planning” is going to fix class and race relations in New Orleans, and deal with the “shrinking population” by only building on high ground.

    My main point is, if Ike had taken a different path in the gulf, the articles would be about whether we should completely abandon New Orleans, not whether it “could become a bold vision — a laboratory for how to rebuild America’s faltering cities.”

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