When the levees protecting New Orleans failed in August 2005, approximately 80 percent of the city was flooded. The business district and main tourist centers were relatively undamaged, but vast expanses of many New Orleans neighborhoods were inundated, making Katrina the largest residential disaster in U.S. history. The extent of damage varied greatly from one part of town to another. Some areas received one foot of flooding while others were submerged by more than 15 feet of water.
Now, with over $1.63 billion invested in the long-term neighborhood revitalization, there is construction in every neighborhood in New Orleans. Roads, schools, community centers and libraries. Recreation centers, parks, playgrounds, pools and athletic stadiums. Police and fire stations, and hospitals and clinics. Recreation facilities alone represent a $151 million investment.
Hurricane Katrina’s flooding also destroyed most of the Regional Transit Authority’s vehicles and facilities. The RTA’s bus and paratransit fleet has been replaced with new buses, making the city’s fleet one of the newest in the country. Improved operations, punctuality, maintenance and safety has led to dramatic increases in ridership. New streetcar service along Loyola Avenue began in 2013, and a new line for the neighborhoods around the French Quarter and Treme is under construction.
With these new investments protected by the completely redesigned Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System and the leveraging of investments to focus resources in targeted areas within communities through place-based development, the City is demonstrating how New Orleans neighborhoods can function as a place to live, work, operate a business, preserve heritage, and more.
Key Recovery Data
Total neighborhoods in New Orleans
Neighborhoods that have surpassed pre-Katrina population
Of the metro New Orleans’ 2000 population has returned to the city
Invested in new roads, parks, playgrounds and community centers
Invested in New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) facilities since 2010 with program funding
Funding for NORDC programs in 2015, an increase of more than 100% since 2005 ($5 million)
In federal funds secured by RTA board and Transdev to restore facilities, streetcars and infrastructure and to purchase new buses
5 of 6
Regional libraries destroyed in Katrina reopened in new larger facilities. Plans for the 6th and final location underway.
Of newly paved roads since 2010–$334 million investment
Potholes filled by city since 2010
New Programs & Initiatives
In 2012, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Ash Center recognized the City’s blight reduction strategy, of which BlightSTAT is a major component, as a “Bright Idea in Government.”