Neighborhood Recovery Rates: Growth continues through 2015 in New Orleans neighborhoods

Allison Plyer Vicki Mack

Published: Jul 13, 2015

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Ten years after Katrina, more than half of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods have recovered over 90 percent of the occupied households they had before the levees failed.

Executive Summary

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck and the levees protecting the city of New Orleans failed. More than 40 of the city’s 72 neighborhoods were flooded, many with more than 10 feet of water.1 The surge of water that hit the Lower Ninth Ward was so strong it knocked homes off their foundations, and made that neighborhood the focus of much media attention. However, more than 40 other New Orleans neighborhoods also suffered catastrophic flooding, and some neighborhoods that did not flood were damaged by hurricane force winds. All told, 107,379 New Orleans homes were flooded and 26,965 sustained wind damage.2

Ten years after Katrina, more than half (40) of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods have recovered over 90 percent of the population they had before the levees failed. There are 16 neighborhoods that now have a larger number of active addresses than they did prior to the levee breaches. Fifteen of these neighborhoods largely did not flood because they are in the “sliver by the river” or on the west bank.

Only four neighborhoods have less than half the population they had prior to Katrina, including three public housing sites that have been demolished to make way for new mixed–income housing. They include B.W. Cooper, Florida Development, Iberville, and the Lower Ninth Ward, which was the most heavily damaged neighborhood of all when the levees failed. The Lower Ninth Ward, the one of the four that is not a public housing site, is bordered by canals to the west and north.

Overall, New Orleans continues to grow 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. The most recent population data from the U.S. Census Bureau are estimates for 2014. According to these estimates, between 2010 and 2014, the New Orleans population grew 12 percent, and New Orleans was ranked 28th on population growth out of 714 U.S. cities with populations of 50,000 or more.3 Even newer data from Valassis Inc. on households receiving mail suggests the population grew another 1 percent from 2014 to 2015.

All told, New Orleans households receiving mail have increased by 19,651 since June 2010, with fully 65 of 72 neighborhoods experiencing gains. Neighborhoods most heavily flooded by the levee failures grew the fastest. Most of these heavily damaged areas experienced double-digit percentage increases between 2010 and 2015, including growth rates of more than 30 percent in Filmore, Holy Cross, Lakeview, Lower Ninth Ward, Pines Village, Pontchartrain Park, and West Lake Forest.

Almost all of the “sliver by the river” neighborhoods added households between 2010 and 2015. The biggest gainers in this section of the city (and the number of households each gained) were the Central Business District (CBD) (1,355), Treme/Lafitte (545), Lower Garden District, which encompasses some of the Warehouse District (321), and the Bywater (297).

Seven neighborhoods lost households from June 2010 to June 2015. Of those neighborhoods, five were on the west bank (Behrman, McDonogh, Old Aurora, New Aurora/English Turn, and U.S. Naval Support Area).

Looking at change from 2014 to 2015, eight neighborhoods gained more than 100 new households: CBD, Central City, St. Roch, Little Woods, Lower Ninth Ward, B.W. Cooper, Seventh Ward and Treme/Lafitte.


[1] Overview of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans Area. (July 2006). In Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast. Mitigation Assessment Team Report. Building Performance Observations, Recommendation, and Technical Guidance (Chapter 8).FEMA 549. Retrieved from media-library-data/20130726-1520-20490-4521/549_ch8.pdf.
[2] Current Housing Unit Damage Estimates. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. (2006, February 12). Retrieved from https://gnocdc.s3.amazonaws. com/reports/Katrina_Rita_Wilma_Damage_2_12_06___revised.pdf.
[3] U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. (May 2015). Cumulative Estimates of Resident Population Change for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More in 2010, Ranked by Percent Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 [Data file]. Retrieved from jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2014_PEPCUMCHIP.US12A&prodType=table.


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