The potential devastation promised by the ensuing 175 mph winds and surging seas of the category 5 hurricane, Katrina, portend a catastrophic event for the coastal city of New Orleans. The city lies in a depression some 6 to 12 feet below sea level, flanked by levees safeguarding it from turgid Lake Pontchartrain to the east and the swelling Mighty Mississippi River to the west. Should the hurricane maintain it's current course, and force, the city stands to experience complete immersion.
But if a local cataclysm is difficult for one to empathize with there is a more insidious concern for the nation at large.
As much as 22% of the United State's oil reserves reside in the New Orleans and nearby Bayou Choctaw areas see EIA statistics (Energy Information Administration). It is estimated that nearly 17% of all oil flowing into the United States economy is introduced through the many refineries and ports of that region.
Failing levees, crippled ports, decimated refineries and the certain destruction of thousands of unsecured, ill-prepared off shore oil rigs may vitiate any hope the nation may hold for stabilizing the adverse economic effects of rising fuel costs.