Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New Orleans Factoids

From various news reports on the 5th anniversary of Katrina I assembled these factoids:

  • there are 300 more restaurants than before, I'm not sure why.  There's more Hispanics in the area so presumably some new restaurants came about from that.  This also probably ties into the fact that entrepreneurship in the area is up.
  • New Orleanians are now more likely to attend public meetings than other Americans.  Apparently because of the problems in getting aid, people have become skeptical of outside planners and therefore like to participate in meetings to give them a grilling.
  • reconstruction in the lower Ninth ward has encountered problems because title to many homes are confused.  It seems the pattern was for someone to build or buy early in the 20th century, then to die intestate, thereby leaving the property to all the children.  Repeat this another time or too and titles become unclear.  It's the same sort of thing which has caused many Southern farmers, particularly blacks, to lose their land.
  • there have been gains since Katrina, particularly in the public schools.
These fit some of my preconceptions: one of which is that the "cake of custom"  can become baked in place. Disasters, wars, epidemics can crumble the cake, creating new opportunities for some to change and grow.  Others, of course, are killed or harmed.

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