New Orleans, La. – Allison Plyer of the Community Data Center says other areas hit hard by blight, such as Detroit, haven't had the population drop that New Orleans endured after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"There wasn't anywhere for people to go when Detroit lost all those jobs. The whole country was in recession. When we lost all those jobs the rest of the country was doing fine. So folks moved to other places, were displaced to other places, and then stayed there because they got jobs there and couldn't get a job back here."
Plyer says that Road Home and federal funding worked on clearing blight left by Katrina, but that will be ending in the next few years.
"The question is once our federal funding's gone what are we going to do to produce jobs, because the cycle is: produce jobs, then the people will come and then they will need housing. And then that will create demand for housing, which in many cases will be rehabbing blighted buildings."
Plyer says New Orleans must develop high-paying jobs in new industries, such as sustainable energy production, expand the port and freight system and concentrate on developing exports and new technologies that will need scientists and engineers.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.