Some residents are making their way back to the Big Easy

Posted: May 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

(clarionledger.com) NEW ORLEANS — The city gained more than 30,000 residents between July 2006 and March 2007, with a total population — about 255,140 — now above 50 percent of pre-Hurricane Katrina levels, a new report shows.

The report by local demographer Greg Rigamer was based on utility hookups and broken down by city council districts. It shows districts with the greatest population growth included those with hard-hit neighborhoods such as eastern New Orleans and the Lower 9th Ward. Districts also included neighborhoods that were less affected by Katrina, which struck Aug. 29, 2005 and flooded about 80 percent of the city.

“The trend is positive,” Raphael Rabalais, senior planner for Rigamer’s firm, GCR & Associates, said today.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in July 2006 at about 223,000.

“I think we will see further population growth in the coming months and years,” Rabalais said.

The council district with the lowest rate of growth during the study period included areas that didn’t flood, such as the French Quarter, he said.

Whether the city reaches its pre-Katrina population of about 455,000 — or the 2000 census estimate of about 485,000 — remains to be seen. New Orleans had been losing population for years before the storm, and the overall recovery from Katrina has been sluggish. (more…)

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