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Monday, August 31, 2015

University Medical Center New Orleans Celebrates Dedication (press release)

Hundreds of community members, industry professionals, business leaders and elected officials congregated this afternoon to celebrate the dedication of University Medical Center (UMC) New Orleans. UMC New Orleans, located in the heart of New Orleans’ BioDistrict, opened Aug. 1 and serves as a key center for quality, patient-centered healthcare, academic training and research.

“This is an exciting and pivotal moment for healthcare in New Orleans,” said Gregory C. Feirn, CEO of LCMC Health. “With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina commemorated this week, the nation’s attention has been on this city and even on this institution. UMC New Orleans is a story of resilience and a symbol of rebirth. Together, we have reimagined what could and should be, instead of what once was. It took leadership, perseverance, many partnerships and 10 years to bring us to this moment.”

UMC New Orleans offers comprehensive primary care and specialty care, cutting-edge research and the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center. Home to the Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital, UMC New Orleans has a capacity for 446 beds, including 60 behavioral health beds. As the state’s largest teaching hospital and training facility for many of the state’s physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, UMC New Orleans plays an integral role in shaping the future of healthcare for the region. It serves as a key partner of LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine and other academic institutions.

Read more via

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Orleans Works to Rebuild Music Scene After Katrina | VOA

New Orleans is known for its music. But 10 years ago, the music was drowned out by the howling winds and rising water brought by Hurricane Katrina.

Musicians joined other residents fleeing the city. Part of the effort to bring New Orleans back to life focused on bringing back the musicians and creating a place where they could live and work, and make music.

Read more via Voice of America

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Best Of New Orleans Food & Drink 2015 | Eater

The Gambit has just released the results of their annual Best of New Orleans reader vote, available in this week's edition or online.

Although many of the winners in various categories in the Gambit's annual reader-decided "Best Of" poll are the same as previous years, the "Best New Restaurant" category has the one winner, by definition, that actually changes from year to year. This year Shaya nabs Best New Restaurant.

In a West Bank upset, 9 Roses takes best restaurant, although the fact that longtime West Bank champion Pho Tau Bay closed this year has something to do with it. Abita Amber wrested Best Local Beer back away from NOLA Blonde (Courtyard Brewery fans, step up and vote!) Otherwise, things are pretty much the same as last year, and as the year before.

Read more via Eater

How the film industry changed New Orleans into ‘Hollywood South’ | WGNO

With its historic architecture, lush greenery and dedication to open-air entertainment, New Orleans often seems like a real-life movie set.

To many, the city IS a real-life movie set.

In the years since Katrina struck in 2005, the film and video industry has been key to the area’s recovery, says Peter Loop, a former member of the Louisiana Film Commission.

According to a 2014 story on, the film business brought more than a billion dollars into the state in 2011. Two years later, it even outpaced New York and California as the No. 1 location for film production in America.

Read more via WGNO

What Social Scientists Learned From Katrina | New Yorker

Social scientists find that leaving a dysfunctional urban neighborhood can transform a family’s prospects.

If a group of poor Americans are stuck in a bad place, then either the place they are stuck in needs to be improved or they need to move to a better place. Over the years, there have been numerous efforts to advance the second of these approaches—experimental projects, government initiatives —but they have been hard to execute on a large scale. Then came the storm.

Read more via New Yorker

10 years later: UNCG professor's book documents Katrina recovery | News & Record

Ten years ago today, Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans. The Category 3 storm caused more than $100 billion worth of damage along the Gulf Coast, left 80 percent of the city under water and is blamed for the deaths of about 1,800 people in the region.

It remains the costliest storm to have hit the United States.

For six years, after the floodwaters receded, UNC-Greensboro professor Steve Kroll-Smith and two other sociologists interviewed dozens of residents of two New Orleans neighborhoods. Their new book, “Left to Chance,” documents the city’s long road to recovery through the eyes of those residents.

The book was personal for Kroll-Smith. Before coming to UNCG, he was a research professor at the University of New Orleans for about 10 years.

News & Record higher education reporter John Newsom talked earlier this week with Kroll-Smith at his office in Graham Hall. Here are some highlights of that conversation.

Read more via News & Record

Hurricane Katrina Left Lasting Scars on Waveland, Mississippi | NBC News

Ten years after the eye of Hurricane Katrina hovered over Waveland, Mississippi, David Hubbard's eyes still tear up as he shares his memories of what happened to his hometown on Aug. 29, 2005.

"I hope in my lifetime I never see anything like that again," says the storeowner.

Hubbard and his brother Richard own Hubbard's Hardware, a second-generation family store in this coastal town of some 6,400 residents.

Read more via NBCNews

Beyond Katrina: 7 Portraits of Grit and Determination | Nat Geo

Bass player Michael Harris and his son, Mike, in Musicians' Village, where 72 houses were built for musicians who became homeless after Hurricane Katrina. Photographs by William Widmer, National Geographic

People who live in New Orleans like to say that the city's fragility is what gives it its soul. Half of the city lies below sea level, and it perches precariously near an eroding coastline that loses a football field's worth of land every hour to the Gulf of Mexico. For nearly 300 years it has survived siege, epidemic, hurricane, and flood, and it will no doubt suffer more as seas rise and land disappears. Yet for those who live here, to live anywhere else is unthinkable.

In these seven portraits, New Orleanians retrace their road back from Hurricane Katrina to new beginnings in the place they love. They share persistence and optimism—good traits for people who choose to live on the edge.

Read more via National Geographics

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ten years and $14 billion later, New Orleans better protected | Reuters

After the storm surge generated by Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans in August 2005, a $14.5 billion infrastructure project now protects the city from a ''100-year'' storm. Gavino Garay reports.

Read more via Reuters

Bush Hails School Reforms in Katrina Anniversary Visit | NBC

Former President George W. Bush returned Friday to New Orleans, where he was vilified for his administration's lackluster response to Hurricane Katrina, to praise the city's comeback 10 years after the catastrophic storm.

"Isn't it amazing? The storm nearly destroyed New Orleans and yet, now, New Orleans is the beacon for school reform," Bush said at the city's oldest public school, which was badly flooded and almost abandoned before it reopened a year later as Warren Easton Charter High School.

Read more via NBC Los Angeles

28,000 blighted New Orleans homes mark uneven recovery | WWL

When it comes to the fight against blight in post-Katrina New Orleans, one neighborhood's success only serves to amplify others' struggles.

Real estate agent and developer David Claus represents the clear success of anti-blight efforts in Lakeview, one of the most devastated sections of the city after Hurricane Katrina, but also one of its most wealthy. On Wednesday, he slipped past the busted-in front door of the blighted Lakeview house he purchased the day before, seeing the gutted interior for the first time and making plans to tear it down in the next few weeks.

Claus has purchased and torn down six blighted properties in 2015, including one that got Road Home rebuilding money from the government, but still resembled a jungle shanty on the verge of collapse just last month.

Read more via WWL

Still Missing New Orleans | The American Prospect

When Europe lost the home of Mozart to war, America rebuilt it. When the U.S. lost the home of jazz to flood, it sold it to private speculators.

Today, they say, New Orleans is back. Except that it isn’t. The local economy may be humming, but absent are some 100,000 people who fled the city when the storm and its aftermath took everything from them. Many of them descend from families whose presence in the town spanned the ages. Nearly all of them are black.

Read more via The American Prospect

How New Orleans Built a Bustling Tech Hub in Katrina’s Wake | @Wired

Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans remains 30 percent smaller than before the disaster. But the young and educated have flocked to the city, creating new opportunities in the process. “You can come to this place that has this history where you can have a real impact,” says Michael Hecht, president of the economic development organization Greater New Orleans Inc. “You can help the world, have a great time doing it, and not feel like you’re in the rat race that you’d be in the New York or San Francisco.”

Between 2007 and 2012, over 44,000 college graduates moved into New Orleans, a 25 percent increase for the city, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, the city has launched myriad programs to attract first-time entrepreneurs, and tax breaks have attracted a growing number of tech startups, including the education company Kickboard and big data company Lucid. This creates not only new jobs but new possibilities. Years after leaving the city, some are even coming back. Keeping his promise, Brent McCrossen returned in 2011, bringing his digital music company, Audiosocket, along with him.

Read more via Wired

An Improbable And Fragile Comeback: New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina | Forbes

In the fall of 2005, many saw in postdiluvial New Orleans another example of failed urbanization, a formerly great city that was broken beyond repair.Yet 10 years after a catastrophe that drove hundreds of thousands of its citizens away, the metro area has made an impressive comeback.

New Orleans’ resurgence since Katrina has come courtesy of $71 billion in federal funds and the determination and verve of New Orleanians themselves, as has been well-documented by Tulane geographer Rich Campanella, who provided research and direction for this article. It also benefited from the generosity of the volunteers who worked in the recovery efforts as well as that of neighboring cities, notably Houston, which housed thousands of evacuees. Many have now returned, joined by newcomers from around the country, determined to turn around the city. “A city,” notes urban historian Kevin Lynch, “is hard to kill,” and New Orleans is proving that assertion.

Read more via Forbes

President Barack Obama and New Orleans' recovery: 'Our work's not done' |

President Barack Obama speaks at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center at 1616 Caffin Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans Thursday, August 27, 2015. The President marked the10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by visiting New Orleans. (Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune) (POOL PHOTO)
Mayor Mitch Landrieu was at the president's side from the moment he kicked off his tour of New Orleans on the tarmac of the cargo facility for Louis Armstrong International Airport. After shaking the hands of Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican presidential candidate, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who had beaten Landrieu's older sister, Mary, in a fierce Senate race last fall, Obama swung his hand back, coming in fast to clasp the mayor's hand and pull him in for a hug.

Landrieu was with the president as he shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at almost every porch and front walk in the 2300 block of Magic Street. And the mayor stood just off to the side as Obama discussed his last stop at Dooky Chase's Restaurant with famed chef Leah Chase, flanked by her daughter Stella Chase Reese and her husband, Edgar Chase Jr.

Read more via NOLA

Videos Show New Orleans 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina | USNews

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast and devastated parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. Rescue teams saved victims from the water, which flooded their homes. Reporters captured demolished homes on camera for the rest of the nation to see.

While the many initiatives to rebuild the city – including the reconstruction of homes, new charter schools and a safer flood protection system – have paid off in many respects, some areas are still suffering from the aftermath of the storm.

Read more via US News & World Report

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why The Plan To Shrink New Orleans Failed | fivethirtyeight

Canizaro — a big-name real estate developer in town — was due to deliver an official plan for redeveloping New Orleans the next day. But he confessed that he was still struggling with it. The question he asked was simple but profound: Should the authorities rebuild all of New Orleans after the flood? Or should they “shrink the footprint” and declare the lowest-lying areas of the city off-limits, converting large tracts of land into green space?

The “Great Katrina Footprint Debate,” as Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella would dub it, became a long-running public tussle over people’s right to rebuild wherever they wanted, even if that meant they were putting themselves in harm’s way.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

'We just felt like everyone is behind us': The Saints beat Atlanta in a post-Katrina return to the Superdome Featured |

The Saints last played in the Dome on Aug. 26, 2005. The players and fans focused on how Jim Haslett, Aaron Brooks and Co. would look against Baltimore with two weeks before a make-or-break season.

It's no stretch to believe many players and thousands of fans came to the Dome that night facing the threat of a hurricane, but like many other storms before, taking for granted the Saints would be back on the field, winning or losing, to host the Giants in Week 2 of the regular season.

The Saints lost to Baltimore 21-6. Brooks went 10 of 20 passing for 139 yards. Deuce McAllister rushed for 29 yards on nine carries. Joe Horn hauled in five passes for 63 yards. There wasn't a major sense of encouragement surrounding the Saints leaving the loss.

After Katrina struck, suddenly, players faced the same daunting challenges as many of the homeless and displaced people of the region. They were disenfranchised and depressed. They lived vagabond existences rarely knowing what to expect the next day, much less their long-term future.

Read more via

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Design To Stop Louisiana From Drowning By Adding Faucets To The Mississippi | Fast Company

Louisiana is drowning: Over the last eight decades, more than 2,000 square miles of land have disappeared underwater. When engineers sealed off the Mississippi River with levees to prevent flooding in the 1930s, they also cut off the river's natural process of building land.

Before the river was "channelized"—locked into an artificial path—it curved through the Delta dumping piles of sediment that slowly built up the ground and helped protect cities like New Orleans from storms. Now a new design, called Delta for All, proposes bringing that process back.

Read more via Fast Company

Hurricane Katrina: A New Orleans tribute | ESPN

In the 10 years since Katrina, the city has struggled to rebuild while maintaining the distinct character that made it so beloved. Local musician Lynn Drury performs "City Life" as a tribute to the city. More music at Photo: William Widmer

Read more via ESPN

The National Guard and Katrina: Exhibit to open | Greenwich Time

The Louisiana National Guard is highlighting the military's contributions during the catastrophic days of Hurricane Katrina with an exhibit that contains a search-and-rescue UH-1 helicopter, soldiers' personal artifacts and a tattered U.S. flag that made it through the storm on a flagpole in front of City Hall in New Orleans.
The exhibit is called "Hurricane Katrina — Reflections of First Response" and opens to the public Wednesday.

It tells the story of the Louisiana National Guard's work and that of Guardsmen from 48 states and territories during Katrina and its aftermath.

Read more via Greenwich Time

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Orleans Rises Decade After Katrina _ but Gaps Remain | ABC

As people search for words to describe New Orleans' recovery a decade after Hurricane Katrina, they sometimes use words verging on the Biblical - an economic and cultural resurrection, a rising from the ashes.

Helped by billions of dollars in recovery money, buoyed by volunteers and driven by the grit of its own citizens, New Orleans has rebounded in ways few thought possible in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. Reforms are evident everywhere, from schools to policing to community engagement and water management, all aimed at buttressing its people against the next monster storm.

But even people who talk about a renaissance speak in the same breath about those who didn't recover. The 'New' New Orleans is whiter and more expensive to live in. African-American neighborhoods across the city still struggle, especially the chronically neglected Lower 9th Ward, a bastion of black home ownership before the floodwalls failed. And the murder rate is rising again.

Read more via ABC

Will The Dew Drop Inn Swing Again? Attempts To Revive New Orleans Hot Spot | NPR

It was known as the "Swankiest Night Spot in the South," one of the most famous clubs in the network of black cabarets known as the "Chitlin' Circuit." During the era of segregation, it was the cultural mecca of black New Orleans, what the Savoy Ballroom was to Harlem. Little Richard, a frequent performer there, even composed a song about the place.

The Dew Drop Inn closed its doors in 1972, after a 34-year run during which it featured some of the greatest R&B and soul artists who ever lived. Now, there's a new effort to rescue and reopen the Dew Drop for a new generation.

Read more via NPR

How New Orleans will commemorate Hurricane Katrina, 10 years later | LA Times

President Obama and the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency will visit New Orleans on Aug. 27, two days before the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

While Obama, other government officials and the news media focus on the tragedy and the future of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, those who lived through it are planning to observe its anniversary with gatherings large and small.

There will be prayer services, memorial exhibitions, conferences on lessons learned and looking to the future, as well as rebuilding projects.

Yes, there is a new vitality in New Orleans (with almost 600 new restaurants since “the storm,” as locals call it), and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But there’s still work to be done in the aftermath of Katrina, which killed 1,800 in the Crescent City.

Read more via LA Times

Blanco recalls Katrina: Devastation, partisan politics | WWL

(Photo: John Rowland The Daily Advertiser photoserver/photogs/john/)
It was Friday Aug. 26, 2005. Three days before Katrina, the worst hurricane in the nation's history, would hit Louisiana. Gov. Kathleen Blanco had just driven back to Lafayette from Baton Rouge to check on her home and take care of some errands.

Blanco and her team had been monitoring Hurricane Katrina ever since it entered the Gulf of Mexico. When the signs indicated the storm was strengthening and would likely head for the Louisiana coast, Blanco got word that her executive counsel, Terry Ryder, wanted to speak with her.

Read more via WWL

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hurricane Katrina by the Numbers: 10 Years Later | TIME

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic day that Hurricane Katrina violently swept through the southeastern United States. The historic storm killed almost 2,000 people, left thousands stranded without homes, and scarred many lives for years to come.

Katrina initially touched down in southeast Louisiana as a category 3 storm on August 29, 2005 at 6 am. As it worked its way up the southeast, it left the city of New Orleans unrecognizable. Over 100,000 homes were destroyed and 80% of the city was flooded.

The government issued close to $142 billion in relief funds for the southeast region of the country, providing injured and displaced people, food, shelter, and medical care.

The southeastern United States is still recovering 10 years later. The population of New Orleans dropped drastically after Hurricane Katrina, from 483,633 residents before the storm, down to around 200,000 in 2006. Relief organizations like Habitat For Humanity and the American Red Cross have made it possible for the New Orleans population to increase to approximately 378, 315 residents.

Watch the TIME video to see the evolution of New Orleans, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.

Read more via TIME

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mardi Gras Indians: A New Orleans tradition | CNN

Under a bright New Orleans sun, Mardi Gras Indians pose in their colorful costumes against equally colorful walls. They wear their feathers, headdresses and masks with a pride that spans decades.

It was their history, mythological and mysterious, that piqued the interest of French photographer Charles Freger. In 2014, Freger traveled to New Orleans to take a series of portraits of these costumed performers, who march annually in Mardi Gras parades.
Mardi Gras Indians are African-American revelers who wear costumes inspired by Native American ceremonial dress. Photographer Charles Freger took portraits of them and their elaborate costumes last year.

Read more via CNN

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Orleans explores affordable housing options as demand grows |

The post-Hurricane Katrina shortage of affordable housing, coupled with stagnant wages, is a cancer eating away at the city, Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said.

It makes life difficult for people who live in the city and creates a near impenetrable barrier for those the storm displaced who want to return. Unfortunately, New Orleans doesn't have a good track record when it comes to solving these long-standing issues or developing master plans to attack the disease at its root, she said.

Construction crews work on the demolition of apartment buildings at Lafitte Housing Complex where a few protestors and spectators showed up to watch the progress Thursday, April 10, 2008. (Photo by Jennifer Zdon, | The Times-Picayune)

Read more via

10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans' Brass Bands March On | NPR

One of New Orleans' signature traditions is the second line — the weekly brass band parades. But after Hurricane Katrina, a lot of people worried the tradition would become history.
Kirk Joseph of Dirty Dozen Brass Band on sousaphone.

Read more via NPR


'Katrina Truth' Site Details Neglect of Black New Orleans | Huffington Post

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast , with New Orleans facing the greatest devastation. More than 1,800 lives were lost and 600,000 people were left homeless. With the ten-year anniversary of the storm looming, now is an important opportunity to reflect on the ways New Orleans has changed since Katrina.

Today, Advancement Project and Families of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), have teamed up to launch, according to a press release. The website details how African Americans in New Orleans have been left behind in the city's recovery efforts and focuses on the decade-long displacement and neglect this community has suffered...

Read more via Huffington Post

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Will the 'Great Wall' of New Orleans Save It From the Next Killer Hurricane? | TakePart

The Corps’ $14.5 billion solution to protect a city that sits below sea level? Go medieval.

Today, a decade after Katrina left 80 percent of New Orleans underwater and killed more than 1,600 people, the Big Easy has been reconstructed as a walled city. The  Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is just one of a series of gargantuan structures and reinforced levees and floodwalls designed to defend the city against a 100-year storm—a Katrina-like catastrophe that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. This feat of engineering, prosaically called the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, forms a 133-mile enclosure around New Orleans and the 350 miles of canals that traverse the city—the canals the Corps had relied on to contain floods and that failed so disastrously in 2005. “We’re taking the fight to the storm instead of letting it come to us,” says Boyett.
Map: Courtesy Google Maps; Photo: ASCE/Facebook; Infographic: Marc Fusco

Read more via takepart

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Orleans Cuisine’s Surprising New Flavors | TakePart

It’s just after 4 p.m. on a Friday at Dong Phuong Restaurant and Bakery, and Kevin Tran—a jovial 25-year-old who is heir apparent to the family business—is pouring himself a glass of tap water and laughing about a recent boil-water advisory issued by the city.

The restaurant is far from the candy-colored facades of the French Quarter and fluffy allure of hot beignets. But it’s out here in neighborhoods like Village de L’Est that the true range of New Orleans’ physical and culinary landscape begins to reveal itself. In the decade since Hurricane Katrina and the exodus that followed, a shifting citywide demographic has created a multitude of new, increasingly diverse norms in the spectrum of edible offerings, from hole-in-the-wall pupuserias that cater to the city’s burgeoning Honduran population to Korean, Filipino, and Nigerian restaurants quietly building followings across the city.

Read more via takepart

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Orleans Locals on a Decade of Post-Storm Change

To mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this week Curbed is looking at how the housing, architecture, and neighborhoods of New Orleans have changed since the storm. Here, the first of two Q&As with long-time residents of the city.

New Orleans districts map

Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures permanently altered New Orleans, and now, nearly 10 years after the storm, residents are reflecting on the ways in which this city has changed—for worse and for better. Journalists raced to report back to the world what it desperately wanted to know: How is New Orleans doing these days? Really, the best way to find that out is the way New Orleanians have always gotten important information—ask your neighbors. We asked long-time residents of a representative sample of 15 neighborhoods—neighborhoods that were drastically affected by the storm, have changed rapidly in the past decade, and/or have a strong neighborhood identity—to reflect on how housing, architecture, development, quality of life, and neighborhood character have changed, or stayed the same, since the storm.

Read more via curbed

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Orleans is ranked #1 for rats! | WGNO

A recent report shows the city of New Orleans now ranks #1 for rats.

According to the American Housing Survey, the city is one of the rattiest metropolitan areas with 46.1% of households reporting a pest sighting of some sort.

In addition to rats, sightings include mice, roaches and perhaps most disturbingly, an ‘unknown’ category of ‘unspecified rodents.’

Read more via WGNO

'Bringing Back The Home': Jon Cleary Celebrates The Soul Of New Orleans | NPR

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

Still, as Cleary tells All Things Considered guest host Tess Vigeland, his music-loving family provided him with a line to the Crescent City from an early age. "My uncle lived in New Orleans when I was a little kid and came back with suitcases full of funky 45s," Cleary says. "My mum loved New Orleans jazz, we had R&B and soul and jazz music in the house ... And so it would have been strange if I'd come up playing anything else, really."

Read more via

A Scathing Review of Public Transit in New Orleans Since Katrina | The Atlantic Citylab

Despite that imbalance, transit leaders are still entertaining notions of a massive, billion-dollar streetcar expansion, even as they overlook suggestions on how to enhance the bus system, Rachel Heiligman, executive director of Ride New Orleans, tells CityLab. The group calls on transit leaders to discard the ad hoc, streetcar-heavy service upgrades that have defined post-Katrina transit and craft a coordinated, balanced mobility vision for the city.

A decade after Katrina, every New Orleans neighborhood save one has seen a decline in transit service—with the hardest-hit areas having a fraction of their buses and trolleys back to normal, according to the new report. That’s an unacceptable state of affairs for a city where nearly one-fifth of all households lack access to a car. But the indictment of post-Katrina service centers on the local Regional Transit Authority’s prioritization of streetcars over buses.

Read more via

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Orleans schools receive more than $60K in computer technology from Kappa Alpha Psi | WDSU

It's nothing new when New Orleans hosts a national convention in the Central Business District. However, one group is making sure it leaves more than just an economic impact downtown.

On Tuesday morning, sporting their crimson and cream colors, members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity donated three computer laboratories to New Orleans area schools. St. Augustine High School, which hosted the event, Edna Karr High School and Morris F.X. Jeff Community School will receive the technology.

Read more via WDSU

Nearly 200 New Orleans-area bars selling to minors | The New Orleans Advocate

More than 100 New Orleans-area businesses were cited by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control this summer for selling alcohol and/or tobacco to minors.

Notable establishments such as House of Blues, Ye Olde College Inn, Borgne and Mahony's Po-Boys were issued citations.

The ATC said it conducted 5,474 compliance checks during the agency’s 2015 summer crackdown and issued 821 citations. Of those citations, 460 were issued for alcohol sales to a minor, and 361 were issued for tobacco sales to a minor.

About 15 percent of the businesses checked sold alcohol and/or tobacco to a minor.

Read more via The New Orleans Advocate

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 years after Katrina, New Orleans’ tourism industry reborn | wric

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the city’s tourism has not only rebounded. It’s practically been reinvented.

New Orleans had just 3.7 million visitors in 2006, the first full year after Katrina. Last year, there were 9.5 million visitors. The city has 600 more restaurants than 10 years ago. And hotel occupancy rates are higher than they were before the levees broke Aug. 29, 2005, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing hundreds.

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Why New Orleans-area home prices are skyrocketing | The New Orleans Advocate

Single-family home prices in New Orleans posted double-digit increases in the first half of this year and have now climbed nearly 50 percent from the period just before Hurricane Katrina.

Sales of single-family homes that were in average-or-better condition climbed 10 percent in the first six months of 2015, compared with the latter half of 2014, consultant Wade Ragas said Tuesday.

His numbers come from the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors and Gulf South Real Estate Information Network. The data do not include sales of multiple-family homes, townhouses, condominiums or vacant lots.

The ZIP codes in New Orleans that saw the most sales activity included Gentilly, Lakeview and the swath of Uptown between Nashville and Washington avenues, from South Claiborne Avenue to Tchoupitoulas Street.

Read more via The New Orleans Advocate

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

10 years after Katrina, New Orleans' journey toward healing |

With the Aug. 29 anniversary of the storm looming, the national media will return to the Gulf Coast, attempting to package what's happened there in the last decade into easily digestible articles or broadcasts. That's an impossible task, and because of that I fear too many outlets will take one of the easy outs, using the rising population and tourist figures to tell a simple "New Orleans is back" story. The truth is much more nuanced. It always is.  Natalie Pompilio, a Philadelphia writer, shares her story:

Read more via philly 

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Orleanians See Remarkable Progress, A Decade After Hurricane Katrina | NPR

Ten years after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina breached the levees, inundating and devastating the city, many residents feel the city is making significant headway, according to a new poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which nonetheless reveals deep racial disparities in the recovery.

NPR's David Greene speaks with Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation about the survey findings.

How are people in New Orleans feeling?

On the positive side, we find that most residents say the recovery effort is going in the right direction. A majority now say the city has mostly recovered from the hurricane. And in the years that we've been tracking it, we find big increases in the shares who say there's been progress made on things like repairing the levees, attracting jobs and businesses to New Orleans, and improving access to public transportation.

Read more and listen at

Post-Katrina reforms make levee, floodwall inspections a daily job | New Orleans Advocate

On a recent morning, the heat reflecting off the concrete floodwall that runs along the Orleans Outfall Canal made the heat index of only 109 seem like a joke, but a three-man team inspecting the walls kept walking, probing and taking notes.

There was no time to stop. They still had 39 miles of floodwalls, 117 miles of levees, 204 floodgates and 102 flood valves to check in New Orleans — a routine they repeat four times a year. Meanwhile, another team of eight employees was opening and closing hundreds of gates and valves, which it does every day.

“It never really ends,” Johnny Holzenthal said. He leads the levee inspectors for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which oversees the operation and maintenance of part of the new, $14.5 billion storm protection system that protects the east bank.

Nonstop inspections are one of the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

Photo provided by Bob Marshall/The Lens -- Johnny Holzenthal consults a checklist while walking the Orleans Outfall Canal during a quarterly inspection of the metro area\s new hurricane protection system. Before Hurricane Katrina, local levee boards often ignored federal rules requiring regular inspections, but today the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority has 11 people doing checks full-time.

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New Orleans Breakfast Spots | GoNOLA

A freshly updated, piping-hot list of breakfast spots around the THE RED STREETCAR

Since I was little, I’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This holds true whether breakfast is your pick-me-up meal at the start of your day or your last fortifying meal of the day after a night sure to generate fantastic memories. To help you get your early morning grub on, here are a handful of New Orleans breakfast spots I highly recommend to fuel up for the day’s number 1 meal.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

“Reform” makes broken New Orleans schools worse: Race, charters, testing and the real story of education after Katrina | Salon

Here is all you need to know about the New Orleans schools before Hurricane Katrina hit, 10 years ago this summer: They were awful. The schools were awful, the school board was awful, the central office was awful—all of them were awful. At a recent conference held to tout the progress made by the schools here since Katrina, Scott Cowan, an early proponent of the all-charter-school model that exists here now, described New Orleans’ pre-storm schools as mired in “unprecedented dysfunction.” In other words, they were awful.

The problem with a story like this isn’t just that it leaves out anything that doesn’t fit but that it can be hard to contain once it gets going. Before long, this “awfulizing narrative,” as it was described to me more than once during the 10 days I recently spent in New Orleans, spread past the school yards and central offices, sweeping up in its wake parents, children, indeed the whole hot mess that is New Orleans.

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Why Katrina couldn't 'wipe the slate clean' in New Orleans |

It was a metaphor invoked repeatedly ten years ago this autumn, by well-meaning citizen-activists as well as professional planners: while the Katrina flood destroyed so much of what was good, it also "wiped the slate clean" of entrenched problems and offered a valuable opportunity to get things right. Now we could finally rebuild sustainably, diversify the economy and rectify old social wrongs.

Mostly, that did not happen. The grandest recovery plans all flopped, and the boldest visions never got past the envisioning stage. The region's pre-storm shape, form, and infrastructure largely returned, and we've generally resettled into the same geographies, albeit in varying densities...

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ace Hotel plans to add New Orleans location | New Orleans City Business

A project underway to redevelop a former office building downtown into a new hotel property will open next year under the Ace Hotel brand, the company announced Tuesday.

The Portland, Oregon hotel chain confirmed it would  open a 234-room Ace Hotel in the nine-story Art Deco office building at 600 Carondelet St. A $34 million construction project began last fall and is expected to wrap up in early 2016.

The project is being developed by the Domain Companies, which is also building the $250 million South Market District project nearby. Domain purchased the 136,000-square-foot building and an adjacent parking lot in 2013 for $5.5 million and announced development of an unnamed hotel soon after.

Read more via new orleans city business

Good Eggs Shuttering Operations in New Orleans, LA, Brooklyn | Eater

Good Eggs, the startup designed to "bring the farmer's market to your door," announced this morning that they would be significantly downsizing at SF headquarters and completely shutting down operations in their other markets, effective Friday. The Los Angeles, Brooklyn and New Orleans arms of the grocery delivery company will take their last orders today, while the San Francisco operation will remain unchanged.

The four-year-old company has raised almost $30 million in funding in the past year from firms like Sequoia and Index Ventures, which aided in their rapid expansion (and resulting overextension).

Read more via Eater

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

NY Times Says Post-Katrina New Orleans Is a Great Place to Eat, Ignores the Plight of Black Families | Atlanta Black Star

As we mark the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, many articles are analyzing what progress has been made in rebuilding New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina resulted in $105 billion in damage, killed 2,000 people and disrupted the lives of many Black families. However, a recent tweet by the New York Times says New Orleans is a better place to eat after the storm.

According to figures from the New Orleans Urban League and the National Urban League, the Black community is worse off 10 years after Katrina. reveals that, according to the Urban League report, the median income gap between Black and white households in New Orleans has widened by 18 percent from 2005 to 2013. The Urban League also stated that although 59 percent of the population was Black, only 48 percent of Black men were working. The study also found the number of Black children living in poverty had increased from 44 percent in 2005 to 50.5 percent in 2013.

Read more via Atlanta Black Star

‘We’re Still Here Ya Bastards,’ by Roberta Brandes Gratz | NYTimes

Roberta Brandes Gratz is not concerned with the deep history of the city or its symbols. Early in “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards,” she writes, “I was not one of the millions who celebrated its music, food or rich diverse culture.” It’s a refreshing admission; too often enthusiasm for these aspects of the city verges on cloying romanticism. It’s the city’s density, its architecture, streetscape and potential that attract Gratz, an urbanist who has made New Orleans her second home.

Her subject is the resurgence of the city, through “old-fashioned volunteerism” and the determination of everyday people to prevail over dysfunction, corruption and contempt. An acolyte of Jane Jacobs, Gratz trails urban saviors, full of faith in the ­power and process of citizens organizing themselves against industry and government powers.

Read more via NYTimes

How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City
By Roberta Brandes Gratz


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