The Pulse of America - TIME.com

"The Big Easy on the Brink
If it doesn't act fast, the city could become the next Atlantis
by ADAM COHEN

If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen. A Category 5 hurricane would come barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico. It would cause Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, to overflow, pouring down millions of gallons of water on the city. Then things would really get ugly. Evacuation routes would be blocked. Buildings would collapse. Chemicals and hazardous waste would dissolve, turning the floodwaters into a lethal soup. In the end, what was left of the city might not be worth saving. 'There's concern it would essentially destroy New Orleans,' says Suhayda.

Suhayda, a water-resources expert at Louisiana State University, is the kind of guy who could have given Noah a computer model of all 40 days and 40 nights of rain, including the Ark's soft landing on Mount Ararat. So it is real cause for concern that he has joined the chorus of scientists and environmentalists who are saying that the watery threat to New Orleans is extreme--that in the worst-case scenario, in fact, there might not be a city of New Orleans left standing by the end of the century. "

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