Friday, August 29, 2008

‘Filled with Questions’

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 6:27 PM

The state of New Orleans three years post-Katrina is the subject of a special edition of City Limits Investigates, a magazine published by City Futures Inc., a New York-based nonprofit devoted to “rethinking, reframing and improving urban policies in New York and, by extension, other cities throughout America.” Because of the story’s relevance to New Orleans, the special edition of the subscription-based magazine is available free online (www.citylimits.org/neworleans).

The cover story, by former New Orleans journalist Mike Longman and CLI investigations editor Jarrett Murphy, retraces the city’s initial struggles to write a plan after the storm as well as the social, political and economic struggles that persist today. “[F]or all that seems back to normal, at least 150,000 New Orleanians displaced by the storm have not returned to their city,” the article notes. “They are believed to be overwhelmingly -— although not exclusively — black and poor. And with population regrowth slowing in the past year, there is a growing feeling that those who are coming back to New Orleans have already arrived.”

Citing efforts by individuals and grassroots groups to pick themselves and their city back up, the article notes, “These uncoordinated, autonomous acts of survival are the face of redevelopment in New Orleans to date. … New Orleans is coming back. But no one knows what kind of city will arrive when the comeback is complete … .” The article also examines the votes of Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain on recovery issues in Congress and the flow on post-Katrina relief funds to Louisiana. Several sections of the lengthy report cover the LSU/VA Hospital proposal and its impact on the historic Mid-City neighborhood where it would be located as well as other “local” issues that have significant national implications.

The magazine’s Katrina issue represents “a departure for us as our focus shifts from New York to another great American city,” wrote CLI publisher Andy Breslau in the magazine’s opening pages. “We felt the third anniversary of Katrina could not pass without our taking a close look at the current state of affairs in the Crescent City.” Breslau concludes his introduction with a comment that New Orleanians will no doubt embrace: “New Orleans is a city filled with questions — questions we all have a stake in answering.” — Clancy DuBos

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