A panel of housing experts met at the University of New Orleans
As the 10-year anniversary approaches marking Hurricane Katrina, community experts are assessing the progress and challenges of recovery. Housing was one topic reviewed at a daylong forum at the University of New Orleans.
A report published last month found that an unusually high number of bottlenose dolphins have been dying all along the Gulf Coast since February 2010. This unusual mortality event, or UME, began two months before the 2010 BP oil spill, but groups including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the spill is responsible for the continued die-off of this species.
Nearly ten years after Hurricane Katrina, some former school buildings sit vacant. The school board is selling them off. This week charter school leaders get a look inside seven of the buildings.
The buildings are mostly empty: a faded mural here, a line of rusted lockers there. State law gives charter school operators first dibs on the buildings. So the seven properties are on display, but not to the general public.
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the annual lunch for the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research on Thursday.
He called New Orleans an example for the nation in school innovation, and cited a long list of statistics in achievement improvements since 2005. Then, 60 percent of students attended a failing school, while that number has dropped to 5 percent today.
Duncan noted that New Orleanians, more than most, know the pain that comes with drastic school change. In the battle for better public education, he said, "you are absolutely winning."
This weekend New Orleans voters decide whether to extend and redirect a property tax to fund school maintenance. The measure seems simple: set aside money so schools don't fall into disrepair. But the millage vote reflects a power struggle in New Orleans schools.
Last month, a banner started appearing outside schools. It features a racially diverse group of kids, with crisp jeans and wide smiles. Each gives a big thumbs up. The accompanying text: Our children, our schools. Not a tax increase. Vote December 6.
Providence Community Housing fosters healthy, diverse and vibrant communities by developing, operating and advocating for affordable, mixed-income housing, supportive services and employment opportunities for individuals, families, seniors and people with special needs.
Diane Muses’s new house on Iberville Street is about half a dozen blocks outside the French Quarter. I asked if she could give me a tour, and she happily led the way.
Letters are going out this week to residents and businesses in New Orleans, St. Bernard Parish and the east bank of Jefferson Parish notifying them they could receive payments ranging from $1 to $463 for flood damage during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The money is coming from a $20 million settlement reached in 2009 with the East Jefferson, Orleans and Lake Borgne Basin levee districts.
Disasters are causing more and more damage, and the federal government is spending more and more money to rebuild afterwards.
But before the construction crew can begin repairs, homeowners face months-long delays and poor customer service in the preliminary stages of the application process. Some homeowners even complain that the rebuilding process has become as traumatic as the storm itself.
The New Jersey Sandy recovery service center had so few chairs that some customers had to wait while standing in long lines. The firm used software taken off the Internet and full of bugs. Homeowners were directed to make appointments through a call center, but employees were never told when they would show up.
That is what Sandy victims faced when they came to one of nine intake centers set up to distribute long-term federal aid to homeowners, David, a former employee, said. He said he and his colleagues wanted to help, but met repeated obstacles.