Did Katrina just speed up an inevitable decline?

Interesting demographics piece from the NYTimes raises an interesting question: Did Katrina do New Orleans a favor?. While losses like culture and neighborhoods are hard to quantize, the picture of abject, concentrated poverty that statistics from pre-Katrina raise is fairly grim. The problem of how to counteract concentrations of poverty in a single area, while being respectful of neighborhoods and local culture, is one that every city grapples with. There could be a silver lining to the Katrina debacle, in that the mass displacement that it created could ultimately benefit thousands of poor New Orleans residents who previously lacked the means to get out of a local economy that simply could not provide them with the necessary support and opportunities. Of course, I also thought that the silver lining in Katrina might be a re-vamping of state and federal disaster preparedness…

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