"A year after Hurricane Katrina hit, barely half of New Orleans' population of 450,000 has returned. Many of those unable to come back are poor and African-American. In the ravaged, mostly black neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward - only 1,000 of the 20,000 people who lived there before Katrina have returned. This has drastically altered the demographics of a city that used to be two-thirds black.
Activists and residents have condemned the government's refusal to re-open the city's public housing projects and point out that while tourist areas are being developed, affordable housing is not being built.
That all seemed to change yesterday in what appeared to be a surprise announcement form the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Speaking before a thousand construction-industry members at a privately-organized conference in Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin both introduced what appeared to be a HUD official..."