8 years after Katrina, New Orleans called ''the comeback city''
Dave Cohen Reporting
Eight years ago today Hurricane Katrina was making landfall with an immense storm surge, high winds and torrential rainfall.
"It was a catastrophic day for all of us, and everybody that was involved in it has done an unbelievable job of struggling back," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "It's earned the reputation for the people of New Orleans of being the most resilient people in America."
He says the rebuilding of homes, levees, schools, roads, medical facilities, businesses, neighborhoods better than before has been remarkable.
"There's no doubt that the city and the people have decided to really think about building the city that we always wanted to be," Landrieu told WWL's Tommy Tucker. "(We've) used the tragedy of Katrina to take the opportunity to maybe get it right this time."
Landrieu says the great thought leaders are recognizing the progress.
"The rest of the world truly is beginning to notice," Landrieu insisted. "New Orleans is really the comeback city for America."
But he says we cannot forget how we got here, and where the city still needs to go.
"It's always worth starting the day by remembering the unbelievable loss of life and the tragedy of that day... but I feel pretty good about the progress that we have made... we need to double down and keep working hard."
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal released a statement on the Katrina anniversary.
"The loss of life and unparalleled destruction brought on by the storm might have left folks across the country wondering if we'd ever recover, but we never had any doubt. Our people are resilient. We knew that we'd pick ourselves up and return, not just to normalcy, but better and stronger than ever before," the governor said. "Now, we can proudly say that we didn't disappoint. Communities, businesses and schools in New Orleans and across Southeast Louisiana are thriving like never before. New Orleans is without a doubt America's Comeback City, and the progress we've made there has paved the way for great things across our state."
From a business standpoint, the reviews of the recovery are glowing.
"New Orleanians have cause to celebrate our collective resolve to build a stronger economy eight years after disaster, and we stand united to drive continued progress," said New Orleans Business Alliance President and CEO Rodrick T. Miller. "Data released earlier this summer by the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells the story of our growth trajectory in a clear and tangible way: we are growing jobs and diversifying our industries at an amazing pace."
Miller says New Orleans is doing better that nation as a whole and the rest of Louisiana.
"For the third consecutive year, New Orleans outperformed the region, state, and nation in private-sector job growth."
As for the repopulation of the city and the region, the numbers continue to grow.
"As of July 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau has estimated New Orleans' population at 369,250, or 76 percent of its 2000 population of 484,674. The metro area, with 1,205,374 residents, has 92 percent of its 2000 population of 1,316,510," according to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.
The report finds, however, a population shift from some of the more at risk neighborhoods to those that weathered the storm better.
"As of June 2013, Valassis, Inc. data on households receiving mail indicates that just over half (37) of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods have recovered 90 percent of their June 2005 population, and 13 neighborhoods have more population than they did in June 2005," the Data Center notes.