On Sept 7, 1900, a huge hurricane hit about the same area of the United States as Rita in 2005. It hit Galveston, which at that time was an island 9 feet above sea level. The hurricane was a category 3 or 4, and with winds of 140 mph drove a sea surge 16 feet high across the island on which Galveston was built. Killed by the hurricane were 6000-8000 of the city's population of 37,000. 3600 buildings were destroyed. The thriving port industry of Galveston was destroyed.
The city decided to rebuild. A 16 foot tall seawall was built around the city, and it was decided to raise the height above sea level of the city. To accomplish that the house and building owners raised their houses into the air and built piers of stone, brick and wood under them. Then pumps dredged up sand from the bay, and pumped water and sand onto the land. The ground was thus raised to the new level of the houses. 2000 houses were raised in this way, as shown on photos on the Galveston and Texas History Center of the Rosenberg Library.
The history of the Galveston flood of 1900 raises some interesting points:
Did authorities in New Orleans 2005 know that their levies could not withstand a category 4 hurricane and that they were 9 feet below sea level?
Galveston of 1900 funded most of the restoration themselves, withsome help from the State. The port industry that had been in Galveston went to Houston and never returned.
Can New Orleans could repaired as Galveston was, by raising the ground level?
Is this an example of the saying that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it?