Below Sea Level, Flood Plains & Other Dumb Places To Live

I remember watching the TV coverage of New Orleans being flooded during Hurricane Katrina.

There was helicopter footage of Lake Pontchartrain overflowing the floodwalls in the Ninth Ward, and I remember the reporter talking about how much of New Orleans sits up to 10 feet below sea level.  New Orleans has many different water outlets to the sea.  If this is report was accurate, did nobody notice that this was an incredibly stupid place to build houses? 

Well, as these things often go, it turns out that much of the report was bogus… live reporting is usually wrong in many details (there are countless examples, the best of which I think is the Columbine Massacre where nearly everything the public knows other than 2 shooters killed a lot of people is wrong. The truth about the failed massive bombing attempt came out long after interest waned… but that’s another article for another day).

Most of New Orleans that is below sea level now started out above sea level… the truth is, the city is sinking.

We all make bad choices in life, I get that… and sometimes, we make a mistake about where to build our houses.

We were reminded of this recently out at The Place when a robin decided that our cabin’s front door would be an excellent place to build a nest… yes, right ON THE DOOR.

To steal a line from that great Hollywood classic, “Mean Girls”, we just had to say “No, sweetie, no…” We would have left it up anywhere else on the entire property, but we can’t have birds flying into the cabin every time we open the door… The really amazing part is that it took her three different attempts to actually get one that stuck to the door… and despite the failure, she kept coming back and trying it again. 

As preppers, we need to emphasise risk assessment when we pick out where we want to live… and some things are just no brainers and some things are not obvious at all.

  1. Never buy or build in a floodplain. Ever. 
  2. High ground is pretty much always the best place to live, if possible. Even boring domestic issues like sewer backup are less of a problem if you live at the top of the hill.
  3. Know your disasters. What is likely to happen to you where your house is? Are you where a hurricane storm surge could flood you? Do you live near a major seismic fault, or in the effects zone of one (watch for a future full article on this). If you have any risk, do you carry earthquake insurance (earthquakes are excluded in virtually all homeowners policies).
  4. Do you live in a wildfire prone area?
  5. Do you live in a tornado area, if so do you have good shelter. 

Just some things to think about… because this is NOT where you want to be…



  1. i live on the gulf coast in florida. was raised here and came back in 1990 to take care of my dad. now i am retired and live in a small city apartment right near the bay and gulf. june 1st came and all anyone talks about is canes and evacuation. i am finally over it!!! i have started looking for other areas of the country to move to get away from all this garbage. it will take me til sometime next spring/summer to save up and downsize to be ready to move but it will be worth it. i have been flooded out a number of times and dont look forward to a replay. thanks for your info.

  2. A few other things to consider most people never think about. Stay away from buried pipeline,. Large power transmission lines, and Closed EPA Superfund sites.

  3. I joke a lot about the problems here in the Peoples Republic of New Jersey, but I think for many of us, we understand the problems where we are, but not so much the problems elsewhere. Where we live is also influenced by jobs, where other family members are located, and lots of non-prepping considerations.
    Of course I may be wrong and its all inertia. 🙂

  4. population is growing and prime land is getting more valuable. people have a short memory of what happened 10 or 20 years ago. most people have everything they own sunk into their place of residence. one disaster and no home and assets. live small,live simple, live cheap.

  5. There are such things as Hurricane / Tornado Proof homes it’s just that most people don’t want to Look strange living in a Dome Home or even an partially earth sheltered home.

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