By Brad Vogel, National Trust for Historic Preservation
As New Orleans continues to grind away at its significant blight problem, we’ve been working to improve the city’s approach to blight eradication.
One of the key notions that we’ve tried to make clear lately is that the city needs to start working to re-grow its population if it wants to address its blight challenge. The current blight initiative is heavily focused on demolition of offending properties as an end goal. Still, even with federal assistance, New Orleans does not have anywhere near enough funding to demolish all of its blighted properties.
Given that reality and the fact that many blighted properties are historic, it’s important to look at the population gap that has led to a landscape with tens of thousands of blighted addresses. New Orleans has over 100,000 fewer residents today than it did prior to Hurricane Katrina. But more importantly, it has only about half the population today that it had in 1960. A long slide in numbers due to factors like white flight to surrounding suburbs and the bust of an oil boom has left a built environment that is out of balance with the current populace, despite the slow but continuing return of displaced New Orleanians. READ MORE >>