New Orleans was built in a place that is both insane and inevitable. The culture of the City and the region is both parochial and cosmopolitan. The swamps and marshes that define the region's landscape seem timeless -- even primordial -- yet are mere thousands of years old and incredibly dynamic, geologically and hydrologically. New Orleans can be simultaneously inspiring, romantic, and frightening. No wonder virtual cottage industries of defenders and critics of the city and its future have emerged with such passion and numbers in the years since Hurricane Katrina roared across the landscape in August of 2005.