Is A New New Orleans Emerging?
"At one edge of this city's future are the extravagant visions of its boosters. Awash in federal cash, the New Orleans they dream of will be an arts-infused mecca for youthful risk-takers, a boomtown where entrepreneurs can repair to cool French Quarter bars in ancient buildings after a hard day of deal making.
At the other extreme are the gloomy predictions of the pessimists. New Orleans will be Detroit, they say, a sickly urban wasteland abandoned by the middle class. A moldering core will be surrounded by miles of vacant houses, with wide-open neighborhoods roamed by drug dealers and other criminals. The new New Orleans will be merely a grim amplification of its present unpromising self, the pessimists say.
Somewhere between these unrealistic visions lies a glimpse of the city's real future a year after Hurricane Katrina, say many planners, demographers and others here who have been deeply involved in rebuilding. Like a half-completed drawing in a child's coloring book, the picture is starting to fill in. There are shadows and firmer outlines, a few promising, some of them menacing."