JONATHAN COHN AUGUST 17, 2010
Randy Newman sings of a flood that happened in 1927, but he might as well be describing Hurricane Katrina. Yet the city's held on for the last five years. The poverty rate in New Orleans as of 2008 was:
The number, which comes from Brookings's The New Orleans Index at Five, is lower than it was both in 1999 and in 2005, just after Katrina. But that is only small cause for celebration. The city's poverty rate is nearly twice the national rate (both of which have likely risen since 2008), and, worse still, most of the reduction in poverty is due to the poor simply moving away. The report's authors claim the drop is "primarily due to the inability of poorer individuals to return after 80 percent of the city flooded." As Jon wrote this morning, they don't have the savings or insurance payouts to come back and rebuild.