It’s been five years since Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma stormed into New Orleans, destroying lives, families and entire communities. The city’s restoration has been slow going: early on, returning homeowners wanting to rebuild found themselves bogged down in red tape. The last two years, however, have brought about significant changes in the city’s landscape and once devastated neighborhoods are starting to thrive.
The two storms left New Orleans with more than 65,000 abandoned homes and empty lots. Anyone living in an urban environment can tell you that such blight will eventually lead to both an increase in crime and a decrease in the quality of life for community residents. And that’s exactly what was happening in New Orleans, until local officials and community groups began to develop programs designed to do away with urban blight.