Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rebound of New Orleans - New Growth or Dillution of the Past?

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans is growing again and has grown to 3/4th's of their pre-storm population. While the city is still missing a significant chunk of their former residents, most of the new population of residents are not native residents returning home but newcomers which are starting to change the culture of New Orleans. The article quotes:

The city is now home to a tide of newcomers unprecedented in recent history, including Hispanic day laborers, idealistic young teachers, and urban planners all drawn by the unique opportunity to help a devastated city rebuild, almost from scratch.

....Before Katrina, New Orleans famously had the highest percentage of "native-born" residents of any major American city. In the 2000 census, for instance, 77 percent of New Orleanians were considered natives, defined as those born anywhere in Louisiana.

Viewed optimistically, the statistic is a measure of New Orleanians' attachment to their hometown. But it's also a symptom of a moribund economy that attracts few migrants.

...The percentage of single, childless adults -- a group more associated with transplants -- has risen significantly, surveys indicate. At the same time, the percentage of families living in extreme poverty, the group most likely to be native-born, has dropped. The percentage of white residents has risen, while the percentage of African-Americans has slipped.

Will the newcomers ultimately embrace New Orleans long rich cultural heritage or identity? Or will they add on to the heritage and tradition or ultimately change it? It's probably too early to tell for now? With an influx of newcomers, what will it really mean now to miss New Orleans?

What are your thoughts? To read the entire article, click here.

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