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New Orleans "Index At Five" Katrina, Great Recession, BP Oil Spill
Written by  {ga=staffwriters} // Wednesday, 04 August 2010 10:51 //

With the 5th anniversary of Katrina approaching, New Orleans is responding to two other shocks to its system—the BP oil spill and the “Great Recession.

One year ago, the Greater New Orleans Data Center and Brookings embarked on a project—to comprehensively assess not only the recovery progress at the fifth anniversary of Katrina, but whether or not the city and region is bouncing back better than before… and to create a baseline that helps answer the question, “Where does the city go from here?”

The Data Center and Brookings project provided this email overview:

Along the way we made some important discoveries. The evidence reveals some positive trends.  For example, wages and entrepreneurship have spiked post-Katrina, school quality has improved, and household incomes have increased (in contrast to the nation where they have fallen). And perhaps more importantly, there is more social cohesion in New Orleans, and we’ve gained community competence and problem solving skills that have helped us to take on major reforms.  In fact, we have arguably taken on more major reforms simultaneously than any modern American city.

But we’re going to need all these newfound competencies, because the evidence also reveals some pretty disturbing trends—like stark disparities in incomes between racial and ethnic groups, more impoverished folks in the suburbs than in the city, and lagging industries such that we now have fewer jobs in our economy than we did back in 1980.  And this is not even mentioning our high crime rates and the rate at which our wetlands are disappearing.

 

Much work lies ahead as we strive to build a stronger economy, better opportunities for all, and a greener, more sustainable future.

 

And then… the oil spill.

 

The question has become even more poignant. “Where do we go from here?

 

Today, with the help of 11 local experts systematically documenting seven major post-Katrina reforms, 20 indicators stretching back to 1980, feedback from dozens of community leaders, and countless hours of Brookings' expertise on resilience, federal policy, economic development and more, we bring you...

 

The New Orleans Index at Five.

 

You can download the overview that highlights key findings, the complete data trends analysis, seven full essays on major post-Katrina reforms, and two background papers on the New Orleans economy at www.gnocdc.org

 

This is from the Index at Five:

 

The Brookings Institute along with the Greater New Orleans Data Center and compiled what it is calling the New Orleans Index At Five-- An overview of Greater New Orleans: FROM Recovery to Transformation

The report provides these major findings:

1. Despite sustaining three “shocks” in the last five years, greater New

Orleans is rebounding and, in some ways, doing so better than before.

2. Further, greater New Orleans has become more “resilient,” with increased

civic capacity and new systemic reforms, better positioning the metro area to

adapt and transform its future.

 

3. Yet, key economic, social, and environmental trends in the New Orleans

metro area remain troubling, testing the region’s path to prosperity.

 

4. New Orleanians, and their partners, must use the latest crisis as an

opportunity to continue the goal of transformation and further the progress

since Hurricane Katrina, moving the region toward prosperity.

 Here is the report’s summary:

It has been often said that New Orleanians are resilient.

They have to be after being dealt three crises in five years—Hurricane Katrina and the

levee breaches, the Great Recession, and now the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.1

To be resilient is to be able to recover from a major stress or shock.2 But New Orleanians

have issued a more laudable challenge for themselves after Hurricane Katrina: They

must not only bounce back, but do so better than before.

Yet, as the nation witnesses another disaster unfolding in the Gulf Coast region on the

eve of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, some have questioned whether New

Orleans can rebound at all.

The answer is yes. The city and metro area have been recovering from Katrina and, in

fact, may even be on the path to transformation.

National attention on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has overshadowed the more

mundane but herculean task of reinventing New Orleans. In the last five years, hundreds

of citizens, government leaders, business and civic leaders, nonprofits, and philanthropies

have been tirelessly working together to ensure that the city they love emerges from the

2005 hurricanes with all of the city’s assets preserved but its flaws corrected.

This year’s New Orleans Index at Five includes a series of trend analyses and essays

of key reforms that together assess the extent to which these efforts are helping

greater New Orleans rebound from Hurricane Katrina and subsequent shocks in

more economically robust, inclusive, safe, and sustainable ways. Such post-Katrina

aspirations contrast markedly with New Orleans’ historic trajectory: a stagnant

economy generating primarily low-wage jobs, high poverty and stark racial and ethnic

disparities, and increasingly unsustainable growth and development patterns.3 Further,

city taxpayer dollars were supporting one of the worst public school systems in the

country, an ineffective criminal justice system, and a city government known more for

mismanagement than quality public services.4

To reverse these trends is not easy and does not happen overnight. Without a doubt,

New Orleans is still a work in progress, only five years into a long period of recovery and

redevelopment.5 This anniversary represents a good moment to assess the extent to

which efforts to date are putting the city and region on a brighter course for the future

so leaders can make informed decisions that keep their city moving toward prosperity,

sustainability and resilience. In short, this research finds:

• Despite sustaining three “shocks” in the last five years, greater New Orleans is

rebounding and, in some ways, doing so better than before.

2 The New Orl eans Index AT FIVE: An Overview of Greater New Orleans–From Recovery to Transformation

• Further, greater New Orleans has become more “resilient,” with increased civic

capacity and new systemic reforms, better positioning the metro area to adapt and

transform its future.

• Yet, key economic, social, and environmental trends in the New Orleans metro area

remain troubling, testing the region’s path to prosperity.

• New Orleanians, and their partners, must use the latest oil spill crisis as an

opportunity to continue the goal of transformation and further the progress made

since Hurricane Katrina, moving the region toward prosperity.

This overview summarizes each of these findings, extracted from The New Orleans Index

at Five data trends and essays. To set these findings in context, they are preceded by a

brief background discussion of what it means to be resilient in the aftermath of disaster.

Read more www.gnocdc.org

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