Valley people experienced relocation when TVA came
The human misery of displaced New Orleans residents too easily morphs into racism when experts mention that below sea level communities there need to return to nature.
The history of the Tennessee Valley is also about displacement. The federal government forced countless numbers of families to sell their hard scrabble farms and to relocate so the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority could build a series of dams.
But when TVA built them, the entire region began changing from a cycle of poverty and floodwaters to prosperity.
Like many of the black residents who want their New Orleans homes rebuilt, many people in the Valley opposed giving up their land.
New Orleans must repair its levees, but the federal government should take an objective look at whether to use tax dollars to rebuild the communities that are prone to flood and contaminated as a result.
Forcing people off their land, whether in the Tennessee Valley or in the wards of New Orleans, is an emotional event. Yet, like the Valley, New Orleans may grow back stronger and to greater prosperity if these communities relocate and allow nature to slowly heal its wetlands.