Study Says New Orleans Has Rebounded From Katrina, But Prosperity Not Equally Distributed

Jul 31, 2015

A new Data Center report released today says that 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is rebounding. However, demographers say prosperity is not distributed equally.

New Orleans looks different 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Some neighborhoods are gentrified. Others are still full of empty lots.

And the population is different. African American residents remain the majority, but not by as much. There are more white residents than before the storm. And the single men who came north from Mexico and Central America to help rebuild are having a lasting effect.

Data Center chief demographer Allyson Plyer:

“After several years a lot of those single men settled down, brought their families here, and now we see an increase of Latinos, particularly in the suburbs, almost doubling in the last ten years,” says Allyson Plyer, the Data Center’s chief demographer.

Plyer says there is physical evidence of improvements. Levees have been upgraded. Coastal restoration and water management projects are taking hold. But a community’s resilience to future disasters needs even more.

“We have to think about other aspects of resilience, which are social aspect, right? So if folks are in poverty and they can’t afford cars and they can’t evacuate — and we certainly saw that ten years ago — that’s a challenge,” Plyer says. “And our poverty rates are just as high now as they were 10 years ago.”

Plyer says a community’s ability to solve problems and trust in government are also vital to resilience.