Even as administration officials pledged vast resources to the region, however, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, told a local newspaper, The Daily Herald, that he was skeptical about using billions in federal money to rebuild New Orleans, given its vulnerability. "It doesn't make sense to me," Mr. Hastert said. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."While it hasn't become politically correct to say that it could be unwise to rebuild New Orleans in its pre-Katrina form, it clearly is a question that officials know should be asked, both because of the danger to which such a New Orleans would subject people and because of the federal dollars that would necessarily be involved. Now is the time to ask it, before massive amounts of federal money and efforts are committed to rebuilding the old New Orleans.
He later sought to clarify his comments, saying in a statement: "I am not advocating that the city be abandoned or relocated. My comments about rebuilding the city were intended to reflect my sincere concern with how the city is rebuilt to ensure the future protection of its citizens."
For more on the subject of rebuilding New Orleans, see here, here, here, and here.