A Decade After Hurricane Katrina, 81 Percent of New Orleans Homes Are Rebuilt



From The Louisiana Weekly and republished by our content partner New America Media


Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina and subsequent levee breaks flooded 80 percent of the Crescent City, a study by the University of New Orleans Department of Geography found that 81 percent of homes damaged in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes have either been rebuilt or are in the process of being rebuilt.


WWL-TV reported the study’s findings in a story last week


The curbside survey was conducted between October 2014 and February 2015 of homes within the Hurricane Katrina flood zone of Orleans and St. Bernard, according to UNO. It is the seventh edition of the survey, tracking “the progress of more than 2,000 Katrina-flooded single- and double-family residences in a set of 39 U.S. Census block groups, selected randomly to provide a representative overview of the flood zone.”


The 81 percent is up from 79 percent in an April 2013 survey. The survey also found 15 percent of the homes were demolished and are now empty lots, while 4 percent are only gutted or in a state of derelict.


The 2 percent increase in rebuilt homes matches a similar rise of two percent from 2010 to 2013. Among the trends of rebuilding, the survey found a 6 “percent increase from 2009 to 2010 and the 9 percent rise from 2008 to 2009. Gutted and/or derelict homes continue to decline in abundance, dropping to 4 percent from 8 percent in 2013, 11 percent in 2010 and 17 percent in 2009. The proportion of empty lots (with houses removed) increased slightly to 15 percent from 14 percent in 2013.”


Recovery experts predicted that it would take a decade for New Orleans to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.


With parts of eastern New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward still looking like Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans last year, it has become painfully evident that much more time will be needed for the entire city to recover from the 2005 storm



Some of the city’s Black residents have complained that a number of facts have made it difficult for communities of color to rebuild after the storm, including inequitable compensation from the state’s Road Home program, the continuing struggle of many displaced residents to return to the city, the destruction of the city’s public housing developments and the misuse of federal dollars earmarked for rebuilding in low-income communities to build dog parks, bike lanes and renovate the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.



“It is clear that in this post-Katrina recovery process, rebuilding Black communities and lives are not a priority,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a community activist and president of National Action Now, told The Louisiana Weekly. “SUNO still hasn’t recovered from the storm because elected officials are playing games with the money earmarked for that, there are still schools waiting to be built and others that have been torn down without replacements. (John F.) Kennedy alumni are still trying to get answers about why Kennedy High School has not been rebuilt and what happened to the money set aside for that but no one is talking.


“On top of that, many of our neighborhoods have been gentrified and displaced Black residents hoping to return home have been replaced by white transplants to the city,” Brown said.


Brown added that he is concerned by plans to separate Algiers from New Orleans, a move that would further disenfranchise Black residents by altering the racial makeup of the city and diluting the Black vote.


“To my knowledge, there has not been indisputable proof that the powers that be blew up the city’s levees but there is no doubt that the white business community and local elected officials, Black and white, used the storm to get a firm grip on the city and its resources,” Ramessu Merriamen Aha, a New Orleans businessman and former congressional candidate, told The Louisiana Weekly. “The justice system continues to discriminate against Black people, the cost of living in New Orleans continues to force Black families to leave the city as whites move back from surrounding parishes after decades of white flight and Blacks have considerably less decision-making power than they had before Katrina.”


Aha said part of the blame must be assigned to Black elected officials who aligned themselves with the white business community and Black residents who have failed to use their votes to effect positive change or become engaged in community-wide efforts seeking social, economic and racial justice.


Additional reporting by Louisiana Weekly editor Edmund W. Lewis.


From The Louisiana Weekly and republished by our content partner New America Media

not popular
Google Images; Wikipedia Commons
Bottom Slider: 
Out Slider