I have been down to New Orleans three times with my church rebuilding homes. The city and federal gov't did try to help home owners rebuild homes. Some homes got rebuilt, but the probably lies was the money given and scamming contractors. For example, one of the homes I worked on, the home owner was given 80k to help rebuild her home. Thing was that it was going to cost her 80k just to lift her home high enough to meet code. That didn't include remodeling the inside. She did get a contractor who said he could do it for 80k (everything). Issue was that he wasn't licensed to do the work. Once he got her money up front, he did some work and acted like he was going to finish, but after a while, he just up and left. Had it not been for Samaritans Purse, Habitat for Humanity and other faith based organizations, half the people who have returned would not be in any home down there. Also, some people just didn't return and left their home to rot.
Also, stores had to get open so people had jobs and places to spend money to get tax money flowing again when they returned.
The Vieux Carré (French Quarter) is actually above sea level. They maybe had a foot of water, and it receded quickly. The FQ area could have been inhabitable a week after the storm had there been electricity, water, and utilities and stores open.
As for the park, there is not enough people there to support a park. There wasn't enough people there before the storm to support a park (it failed once, and who knows if it would have succeeded with SF). East New Orleans, where the park was located, has major damage from water (8-10 feet plus).
Tourism is pretty big in the FQ, but once you are out of that area, there isn't much to see unless you want to see the damage in the lower 9th.
Sorry for the long post and probably off topic. This subject is very close to me. I have made some amazing friends from New Orleans and around the USA when I have been down there and wouldn't have had it any other way. Sometimes, good things come from bad things happening.
A video of the creepiness. Zombieland style.
My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.
Amazing video, Chitown! I love crap like that!
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