Here’s a provocative read in the WSJ about scaling back the rebirth of New Orleans:

Mr. Glaeser says very long-term issues were behind the city’s pre-Katrina woes. Back in the 1840s, New Orleans was among the nation’s three largest cities, along with New York and Philadelphia. Back then, water transportation was the dominant means of moving people and products, and the economy was largely agrarian. Its connection to the South and the Mississippi River made New Orleans an integral hub for commerce. Mr. Glaeser says the rise of rail travel, car travel, and industrialization over the next century changed all of that and helped to set off the city on a long, slow decline. Today’s fastest growing cities, he notes, are ones like Las Vegas and Atlanta, situated for suburban sprawl and not bounded by water.

“It is a place that reached its economic peak relative to the U.S. economy 160 years ago,” says Mr. Glaeser. “It certainly was not delivering a great economic future for a majority of its residents.”