Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Orleans (again)

In 1960, New Orleans had 627,000 people and was the largest and perhaps still most important city in the South. It now is smaller than Lexington, Kentucky. Most of the reason for this is, of course, Katrina, but much of the reason is not. New Orleans had already lost around 20 percent of its peak population before Katrina, and as such was very much like unglamorous cities such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. So while it didn't lose as much as Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cleveland, it was hardly putting in an all-star performance, even before Katrina hit.

A question I want to focus on over the next year is why New Orleans--a city I rather love--has evolved (devolved?) as it has. Race certainly has a lot to do with it, but cannot by itself explain the city's fade. Atlanta is a heavily black, southern city that has performed far better--if less charmingly--than its neighbor to the southwest.

Of the course if this year, I will be president of a small association of academics who do what I do--the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. I will be giving my presidential address next January in New Orleans. I therefore think that the focus of the address should be about New Orleans. I have a lot of reading to do between now and then; I welcome suggests for reading, people to talk to, and just opinions from well-informed people about the city's history and its future. You may read my preliminary views in the archives.

Thanks for any suggestions or help.


doctorj2u said...

I heard a very good overview last night.
1.)Awful education system. Basically non-existent.
2.)A judicial system that doesn't work. No punishment for breaking the law.
3.)Corrupt government that drives businesses away. That means no jobs for these kids.
4.)Add to this crack cocaine and AK 47's.

I will add to this: the dismal mental state of living in a destroyed city that is being ignored by America.

Doug Hess, hess @ gwu.edu said...

Check out the webpages and materials from ACORN. Their main webpage: www.acorn.org. Their founder and head staff is Wade Rathke who live in NOLA and his blog has lots of interesting stuff: www.chieforganizer.org

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Good Luck!

Bjorn said...

Prof. Green,

It might be worth contacting Prof Ken Reardon Chair of Cornell's Planning Department (kmr22@cornell.edu). He and some Grad Students have been doing alot of community-based planning in the 9th Ward, and probably have a valuable perspective on the city.

Here is their website:http://crp.cornell.edu/outreach/nopi/


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