ok, that's one.
what about all those Millions of people in other sinking bowls ( sacramento river valley
New Orleans is not unique, and you can't blame people who live there for being in the path of disaster.
besides, the old city
of new orleans is above sea level, its the 'burbs that get flooded (definition of 'burbs in new orleans can get sticky though, but basically, any neighborhoods that existed a loooong time ago are well-tested with flood history)
there are many places  
in the world below sea level
is a little exaggerated, but shows that the main threat is the mighty mississippi, not the sea. and the army corps of engineers has a divert-the-mississippi spillway
upriver that virtually guarantees the river flood threat to mitigated.
ask anyone from new orleans (or others
) and they will say that it was engineering that failed the city: intracoastal canals, notably MRGO
, created for commerce gave intrusion paths to storm surge from the lake and the gulf. it was those levees that failed and spilled into the city.
On August 31, flood levels started to subside. The water level in the city had reached that of Lake Pontchartrain, and as the lake started to drain back into the Gulf, some water in the city started to flow into the lake via the same levee breeches they had entered through. In 19th century lake floods, the water soon flowed back into the lake as there were no levees on that side.
as humans, what makes us special is not just our ability to adapt, but to adapt the environment around us. If we never lived anywhere there was a threat of disaster, I am not sure where you could live(definitely not Texas, or a few other places. And those maps don't even include floods (the most common natural disaster), for that threats see this map of flood hazards for the US.