MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Monday, January 02, 2006

On the ninth day..

Brown University has interesting Katrina research funded by the National Science Foundation. I hope to learn more from the principal investigator later this week, but I gather that the research project will study and report on the demographic shifts happening in the Gulf Coast post-Katrina.

There will be a lot to watch in the coming months, particularly in New Orleans. After Katrina, there was a bit of increase in the suburbs that weren't affected by the flooding. And it reported yesterday that the city's repopulation is occuring faster than expected. There's even stirring in the Lakeview housing market (e.g., one owner sold his flood-damaged house for another house in the area that was less flood damaged). However, housing activity isn't as apparent in the predominantly black areas of the city: Gentilly, New Orleans East, 9th ward...

Repopulation is driven by housing. If the areas least affected by flooding were predominantly white and there's stirring in predominantly white Lakeview and demolition for rebuilding in predominantly white St. Bernard's Parish - the fears of a New Orleans with much fewer African-Americans are being realized. Then again, I'm receiving first-hand accounts of clean-ups in African-American neighborhoods too. Specifically in Gentilly and New Orleans East, in the parts that have neighborhood associations.

Must housing patterns of the city be discussed in black and white racial terms? The way a long-time resident described it to me today, most New Orleans neighborhoods aren't exactly "diverse" - except maybe around Tulane University or the Algiers area. Historically, there's been a housing pattern of segregation between white and black, so that's the starting point of the post-Katrina housing patterns.

I wonder too : where do the Vietnamese residents of New Orleans fit in the picture? Where are they post-Katrina?


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