Great piece that ran recently on the Reuters News Service - covering the challenges, and promise, of bringing a green grocery to the Lower 9th Ward:
By Mark Guarino
(Reuters) - Developers and business owners are flocking to New Orleans, thanks to factors that can be traced back to Hurricane Katrina, an event that shook the old ways of doing business in the city and created opportunities for experimentation.
"It's a fascinating time to be in this city," said Ralph Maurer, who teaches at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business.
"If you talked to people in Silicon Valley in the 1970s and 80s, they would have said the same thing: There's something afoot."
Tracy Nelson hopes so. She isn't able to buy a loaf of bread or a quart of milk without driving across the parish line to a bordering suburb. The area where she lives -- the Lower Ninth Ward, ravaged by the floodwaters of Katrina six years ago -- hasn't seen a grocery store in more than two decades.
That may be changing. Next year, a multi-purpose complex featuring rental units, retail shops and a full-service supermarket is expected to break ground on the shuttered campus of a former Catholic boys high school.
To Nelson, and the nearly 5,500 people who returned in her neighborhood and rebuilt their homes, the prospect of finally shopping local is a long time coming.
"The whole community is ready for it, excited about it and wants it to happen today," said Nelson, a community organizer.
Although the recession certainly took hold in New Orleans, it did not cripple the economic forces there as national philanthropies and federal and state dollars delivered direct assistance to revitalize neighborhoods, improve schools, rebuild libraries and streets and create new models for charter school education and neighborhood health care clinics. READ MORE >>