Explaining Divergent Rates of Neighborhood Recovery
Broadmoor, Gentilly, and Lakeview are three residential neighborhoods of New Orleansthat were badly flooded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the two and a half years since thestorm, Broadmoor and Lakeview have mounted successful recoveries, with residents returningand rebuilding their homes at consistent rates across both neighborhoods. In Gentilly, bycontrast, recovery has been inconsistent, with the most heavily damaged portions of theneighborhood experiencing slow or stagnant rates of resident return. These divergent outcomesare not easily explained by demographic differences between the neighborhoods, nor by anydifference in the degree of damage each suffered. Broadmoor’s success, for example, comes inspite of the fact that its residents had by far the highest rate of poverty (31.8%) and the lowestaverage household income ($36,400 per year) of the three neighborhoods prior to the storm(GNOCDC).
Lakeview’s success comes in spite of the fact that its homes suffered the mostconsistent and severe damage of houses in the three neighborhoods, necessitating more thanthree times the percentage of home demolitions (27.8% of Lakeview properties as of July of 2007) than was needed in either Gentilly (8%) or Broadmoor (2.3%), (Ahlers 2007; Jett 2007;Lakeview 2007). Why then, have Broadmoor and Lakeview experienced consistent residentialrecoveries, while Gentilly has not?Some literature on disaster recovery would suggest that the explanation for thesedivergent recovery outcomes lies in structural differences between the neighborhoods.
A substantial portion of the demographic data in this thesis was obtained from the Greater New Orleans DataCenter website’s archive of pre-Katrina data. The website provides comprehensive data from the 2000 census forevery New Orleans neighborhood, and was thus an invaluable resource.