Is a Katrina bright-spot, nieghborhood solidarity?

There is an interesting op-ed today in the CS Monitor called “One small bright spot in Katrina’s aftermath: neighborhood loyalty”(8/30/07).  It’s not a very data-filled argument, but Danny Heitman argues that despite the mobility in America, Louisiana residents show a greater in-bred permanence and commitment to neighborhoods.

Heitman writes: “[I]n the New Orleans neighborhood of Lakeview, directly in the path of flood waters when the Crescent City’s levees failed after Katrina, signs of renewal have emerged, often driven by longtime residents who cannot think of living anywhere else.

“This past spring’s survey of the neighborhood by local civic groups concluded that some 40 percent of Lakeview’s 7,000-plus homes are either occupied or under repair, a boost of 15 percent from last autumn’s numbers.”

Heitman thinks that part is homeowners staying because they expect properties to appreciate more and older neighborhoods may attract dollars for historical rebuilding.

“The homebody culture of Louisiana is another factor in the diehard nature of the recovery. As William Frey of the Brookings Institution noted after Katrina, 77 percent of New Orleans area residents are Louisiana natives, a native-born rate that far surpasses other Southern cities.”

Here is full article: One small bright spot in Katrina’s aftermath: neighborhood loyalty: The commitment of residents to rebuilding has extended not just to a given city or region, but more narrowly to a neighborhood block. (Christian Science Monitor, Danny Heitman, 8/30/07)


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