Community-Led Efforts Unseen in New Orleans

Looking back on five years of recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans, Roberta Brandes Gratz bemoans the fact that much of the community-based work remains below the radar.

After buying a house and living in the city, Gratz was able to see the community-led efforts that were taking place all over the city but which the media had largely ignored.

"Once it became clear the city couldn't evict them, locals took matters into their own hands. With the help of thousands of volunteers from around the country, they cleaned out badly damaged houses and made them livable again. They started fixing up playgrounds, parks and schools themselves. Church and community groups, schools and extended families became the nuclei for rebuilding projects around the city. Across New Orleans' 73 neighborhoods some 270 new community-based organizations opened their doors, providing everything from help cleaning out and restoring houses, starting businesses and managing the bureaucratic nightmare of collecting damages from insurance companies and the government."

Full Story: It Takes a Neighborhood

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