New Orleans, where is it now?

Just wondering about the state of the Big Easy these days.

Katrina devastated much of the city, and a friend of mine who lived there at the time said he didn’t think it would ever come back. Well, he never went back, so I’m asking the teeming millions.

Has the entire town made a comeback, are there sections that are considered dead, etc? Any info would be appreciated. Also, is it a place where people are investing in land and doing some speculation, or are some areas so contaminated that building would reoccur for a long time? (I remember hearing about the contamination, but have no idea as to the extent or even if it was true… But with all that happened down there, it certainly seemed plausible.)


It would appear population is between 56-67% of pre-katrina levels therefore it’s rebuilding.

According to Zillow median house price is close to 2005 values (~ 145 v ~151), but here’s a recent article about the lower 9th.

I was last there about 3 years ago, and the 9th ward was basically gone. It looked agricultural, with one house in middle of several blocks of vacant fields. Before the hurricane, this was a densely packed neighbhorhood of small homes on small lots.

In other wards, and in surrounding counties (called “parishes”), Most houses are still standing, though many were gutted of moldy plaster, etc, following the hurricane/flooding. These homes sometimes contain limited personal effects, but are mostly bare wood. Some are long vacant homes are marked for demolition. It seemed to me me that every other house or so was occupied, and that may have improved slightly.

Due to settling, the 9th ward is below sea level, and relies on the levies and pumps to stay dry. The “French Quarter”, and surrounding downtown, are at or above sea level, and experienced relatively minor damage. I suspect the outer wards will never fully “recover” as residential zones, and may be rezoned for other purposes.

About a million of the residents moved to Houston post Katrina, and never moved back.

As far as the French Quarter and Bourbon Street nightlife it’s the same as it always was.

I was there last fall, and I don’t remember from previous visits, but the sidewalks downtown were absolutely treacherous. Buckled and broken.

Ok, no change then. The whole city is below sea-level and sinking. Sidewalks and roads don’t behave like they do in the rest of the world (see Venice, Italy also).

Seriously, I am from Louisiana and went to college in New Orleans. Katrina was and still is devastating but not all was lost. The touristy parts of the New Orleans (French Quarter and Garden District) were built on the best and highest land available (still below see level). They weren’t damaged substantially by the storm (relatively speaking) and were back in full operation just a few months later. Today, they are the same as they always were. You can go to New Orleans for a vacation or conference now and wonder what the big deal was if you only go from the airport to the touristy areas.

However, if you move venture out into the low-lying areas that were completely flooded, it is a different story. There are many neighborhoods in places like the lower 9th Ward among others that are virtually abandoned and lost of almost all of their population to other cities. It isn’t safe or economic to rebuild in those types of places so they will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future if not forever.

New Orleans lost a substantial portion of its population due to Katrina to cities like Houston and Baton Rouge but those tended to be the poorest of the poor. The refugees have developed quite the bad reputation in their new, adopted homes as well but the storm made New Orleans stronger in some ways. The people that stayed tend to have more money and the will to rebuild it better than ever.

It is still a world-class vacation destination made even more fascinating by the immense tragedy that unfolded there right in front of us just a few short years ago.