It is now about 22 months since hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. I was recently in New Orleans for the first time and had plenty to see. The city is still very much in a state of devastation. But there has also been a lot of progress.
In this post, I'd like to share some pictures I took when I was there and some facts and figures I've come across that help illustrate the current situation in the city.
As I said in my last posting, the main, if not the only, topic of discussion in planning circles in New Orleans these days is recovery planning from Hurricane Katrina. A year and a half after the storm, we are getting close to having a recovery plan. In late January the Citywide Strategic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan, otherwise known as the “Unified New Orleans Plan” (UNOP), was presented to the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC), of which I am the Chair. The CPC has held several public hearings on the plan and we have at least one more scheduled.
Thousands of New Orleanians have participated in planning their post-Katrina future – likely more than in any single American city-planning effort, ever. Unfortunately, the New Orleans experience definitively demonstrates the limits of orthodox community-focused planning, the kind that has been neighborhood-based and consensus-driven.