Herewith an update:
* A long-awaited rebuilding plan was trotted out by a blue-ribbon panel this week.
The Bring Back new Orleans Commission recommends closing down neighborhoods within a year if not enough residents come back, creating a new Jazz District, building a light rail system and eliminating a 76-mile long shipping channel along the city’s eastern edge that was blamed for much of the post-Katrina flooding.
Predictably, the neighborhoods provision is the most controversial.
The city will not prevent residents from returning to flood-prone neighborhoods. But it’s unlikely that money from a $1.7 billion federal reconstruction fund will be available for such areas, which would become parks and marshlands if they are written off.
* The real-estate market is robust as evacuees return to the city.
The caveat is that only applies to areas that did not sustain serious flood damage. By one estimate, about 267,000 of the city’s 565,000 homes are uninhabitable.
* Parts of the old
This includes the French Quarter and its many fabulous restaurants, although there is a shortage of cooks and kitchen and wait staff, many of whom are scattered around the country.
(And, yes, there will be a Mardi Gras.)
To my mind, the big question is whether what eventually emerges from the muck and mire is really
The answer undoubtedly will be “No.”
My fear is that
This is not all bad considering that the federal response to the disaster was by turns belated, bumbling and half hearted, and the mere existence of the city seemed to hang in the balance a few weeks ago.
Is a quasi