Neighborhood Recovery Rates: Growth continues through 2016 in New Orleans neighborhoods
Published: Aug 15, 2016
Eleven 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.
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 All told, 107,379 New Orleans homes were flooded and 26,965 sustained wind damage.2
Eleven years after Katrina, there are 20 neighborhoods that now have a larger number of active addresses than they did prior to the levee breaches. Thirteen of these neighborhoods largely did not flood because they are in the “sliver by the river” or on the west bank. But, seven of these are east bank neighborhoods that did flood.
Moreover, greater than half (40 of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods) have recovered over 90 percent of the population they had before the levees failed. 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: B.W. Cooper, Florida Development, and Iberville. The Lower Ninth Ward, which was the most heavily damaged neighborhood of all, also has less than half the population in had prior to Katrina. The Lower Ninth Ward is bordered by canals to the west and north, and the surge of water that hit the Lower Ninth Ward was so strong it knocked homes completely off their foundations.
Overall, New Orleans continues to grow 11 years after Hurricane Katrina. The most recent population data from the U.S. Census Bureau are population estimates for 2015. According to these estimates, between 2010 and 2015, the New Orleans population grew 13 percent, resulting in a ranking of 41st 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 1.6 percent from 2015 to 2016.
All told, New Orleans households receiving mail have increased by 22,523 since June 2010, with fully 67 of 72 neighborhoods experiencing gains. Topping this list is the Central Business District which added 1,818 residences since 2010. Little Woods and Central City added 1,801 and 1,668 residences respectively. And, other flooded neighborhoods including, Filmore, Lakeview, Lower Ninth Ward, Mid-City, Seventh Ward, St. Bernard area, St. Roch, and Treme’/LaFitte all gained between 600 and 1,000 households.
Five neighborhoods lost households from June 2010 to June 2016. Of those neighborhoods, four were on the west bank (Behrman, McDonogh, Old Aurora, and U.S. Naval Support Area).
Looking at change from 2015 to 2016, seven neighborhoods gained 100 or more new households: Central Business District, Central City, Iberville Development, Little Woods, Mid-City, Seventh Ward, and Treme’/LaFitte.
 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 http://www.fema.gov/ media-library-data/20130726-1520-20490-4521/549_ch8.pdf.
 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.
 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 http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2015/.