Many NOLA neighborhoods still empty

Tina Marquardt of the nonprofit organization Beacon of Hope in New Orleans.

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.
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For those that didn't return, YOUR CHOICE. I had other options and chose to make New Orleans home. To say New Orleanians are use to disfunction obviously means the "teacher" that chose to leave didn't major in Urban development. New Orleans has emerged with new leaders, the people themselves. We are determined to change racism and the current disfunctions. If you haven't been keeping up with the news from New Orleans, get a subscription to the local newspaper. "We The People" are making a difference and LEARNING TO LIVE WITH WATER. This means building sustainable homes, changing policy, and putting our teeth in saving the wetlands. We will teach other cities aroung the nation how to live with nature and change disfunction which exists everywhere. Disasters will continue to happen with global warming and New Orleanians with be the teachers. Check out the new collaborative of social leaders! www.theneworleansinstitute.org We have already opened 2 affiliates in Cedar Rapids Iowa and they are using what New Orleanians have learned! God Bless, we have overcome Gustav too.

Tess, Your compassion for the flood victims is comendable. I moved to the Lakeview section of New Olreans in 2003 from Los Angeles and worked as a middle school teacher for the New Orleans public schools. My house was flooded under 9 feet of water. Living in New Orleans was difficult before the flood: High crime, corruption, disfunctional city and state government, horrible public schools, the worst streets, an insular population averse to outsiders and on and on. After the flood I was amazed at the native New Orleanians who wanted to go back to the "way it was." They were used to the disfunction. They knew nothing else I guess. At any rate the fact of the matter is that the city should not be rebuilt as it was. I know tourist think it quaint and an interesting place, but for most it was a terrible place to live before the flood and should only be rebuilt in a sensible way. I for one was glad to leave and would have been glad even if the flood never had happened.

Hi Tess, I just wanted to thank you for sharing such an eye opening story. I especially think the commentary at the end of the program was very powerful.

Great Job!

Ms Sadler's comment that not rebuilding homes is wise and prudent neglects the option of rebuildinghomes safer, stonger and smarter. Ms Vigeland's subsequent reports frame this elevating "option" in fair and insightful terms. Where American taxpayers have a right to be incensed is the comined lack of local, state AND Federal leadership that not failed to encourage elevating but actually put a number of serious delays and roadblocks in the way of responsible citizens. The money to elevate sensibly is programed but, 3 years of incompetence later, not distributed. Rebuilders were incentivized to not elevate but the city's allowing residents to reduce their damage. As is evidenced by the Dutch, the Venetians and Americans living under the shadow of dams, we have the technical and financial resources to chose to live safe. We even have the will to live safe. We just don't have the leadership.

Ms Vigeland:
Your comments about the New Orleans and the sad state of progress in rebuilding the city was quite moving. Terri Garland, an artist who has spend more twenty years documenting the south, has produced a remarkable series of photographs which bear witness to the Federal and State neglect of our own citizens in a time of overwhelming disaster. As you said there is more to this story than it would appear. yet the failures are so deep it is an almost unfathomable story. It would be interesting if your report could be the first in series; the city will never be rebuilt unless the plight of New Orleans is kept foremost in out national concern.

You may wish to see some of Terri Garland's work at www.perspectivefineart.co, & www,klotzgallery.com

Thanks again.
Kindest regards,

Russ Anderson

Ms. Vigeland reported with disappointment that neighborhoods in the New Orleans flood plain were not being rebuilt. That people are not rebuilding their homes in an area that is below sea level should be seen as wise and prudent; not disappointing. With a rising ocean, relocating to higher ground is the only responsible action. This story could have been reported as a city moving forward (and upward) with an eye towards the future instead of seeing a failure to recreate a failed experiment.

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