After the Storm: Return Migration and Neighborhood Change in Post-Katrina New Orleans
James R. Elliott, University of Oregon
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, what remains of New Orleans is a smaller geographic footprint, where some neighborhoods are booming while others struggle to recover, each being transformed not only by the biophysical events that occurred but also by a combination of changing market forces, government action, and citizen activism. The objective of this study is to analyze this unprecedented process of urban change through the migratory lens of displaced and undisplaced residents themselves, focusing specifically on racial and class differences in network and institutional assistance. Data come from over 500 interviews conducted with pre-Katrina residents of New Orleans during the first six to twelve months of post-Katrina recovery. Preliminary results indicate substantial changes in the historical fabric of the city, as certain types of displaced residents use network ties to crowd into less damaged neighborhoods as they await the opportunity and resources needed to return home.