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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2006


    The Brookings Institution Katrina Index

    Remember New Orleans? That whole hurricane thing? The Brookings Institution has something called the Katrina Index which tracks some statistics on the population and economic health of the area. Here are a few bits.

  • Most schools and hospitals in Orleans Parish remain closed. Only five percent of the schools are open in Orleans Parish, for instance, and only 32 percent of the city's hospitals are now open.
  • Buying food is still difficult to do in the metro area. Only about one out of every three retail food establishments (e.g., grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores) is open in the metropolitan area.
  • Other bits: "But most of the key indicators moved in the wrong direction or not at all. The bottom line: it continues to be a very risky decision for many of the displaced households to return to the area, since all of the key necessities are in scarce supply, and it is not at all clear when or if they will be brought back online."

    Also of interest is a recent New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

    Urban historian Arnold Hirsch has studied New Orleans' cultural evolution, the intricate layers of its past. But he can't fathom what the city's future holds.

    Many neighborhoods remain dark at night, working-class people are largely absent and too much trash remains on the street, he said. The University of New Orleans professor is dismayed at what he sees as race- and class-based resistance to FEMA trailer parks. And when Carnival arrives, those joining the scaled-down celebration may have wildly varying motives -- showing faith in the city or simply escaping its hard realities, he said.

    [...]Three of every four businesses in the region battered by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are back in operation, at least partially, but others may not survive, and unemployment in the metro has jumped to more than 17 percent. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is bringing in trailers to provide temporary housing for thousands of people, but so far only a fraction of the need has been met, and complaints about delays in power hookups have mushroomed. Regional Transit Authority ridership is rising each week, but its daily count of almost 11,000 rides on a scaled-down route system is less than 10 percent of what it was before Katrina -- even though the rides, for now, are free.

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