Ground-Up Recovery in New Orleans

Nicole Gelinas argues that five years after Hurricane Katrina, the city is on the path to becoming a bona fide urban success story thanks to its determined residents.

On the eve of Katrina, New Orleans was a distressed city by most measures, writes Gelinas, with rampant political corruption, high crime and poverty rates, pervasive unemployment, crippled infrastructure and failing public schools. Gelinas says that residents disbursed by the storm have returned to the city with a new sense of civic pride and conviction that local government can work effectively, which have been more important in rebuilding the city than federal relief funds.

Population is now 80% what it was before the storm, and local unemployment is below the national average at 7.5%. Though crime has returned to pre-Katrina levels, the city is making concrete strides to address it and other problems areas, Gelinas says.

New Orleans's citizen-driven renaissance may offer lessons for the rest of the country as it struggles to recover from the economic recession, Gelinas writes:

"New Orleans's recovering economy contrasts starkly with that of the nation as a whole, where investors remain paralyzed-shocked by the financial and economic collapse, terrified of arbitrary Washington actions, and crowded out by government activity. And in many ways besides investment, strange though it may sound, New Orleans provides a model for the rest of the country in the wake of the financial crisis."

Full Story: Big Easy Rising


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.