The Community Katrina Washed Away

Lydia DePillis checks in on the Lower Ninth Ward:

If the Lower Ninth has any chance at becoming a livable community, new people are going to have to move in. But the young people who flooded the city after the waters receded are still finding plenty of room in the hipper neighborhoods, like the Marigny and the Bywater, that retained more of their historic housing stock. And the city seems determined to maintain the Lower Ninth’s structural disadvantage in this regard: Although a 2009 analysis of residential market potential showed that only about 20 percent of the existing demand was for single-family detached homes, that’s how the neighborhood has seen itself, and how it wants to remain. Even when a developer proposed the kind of dense, multifamily project that would attract the kind of amenities everybody says they want, residents howled in protest.