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The gist, from a purely physical perspective the post-Katrina recovery process is nearly complete. FEMA has pumped large amounts of money into the city of New Orleans. Just in the last 4 years projects costing $465 million have been implemented and many are already completed. The city has undoubtedly come a long way.
However, a city is not only its buildings and infrastructure. Anthropologist Kate Brown from Colorado State University has studied the effects of Katrina and has concluded, as have other researchers, that disaster recovery improves the situation of residents in fits and starts; not on a progressive, linear scale.
Catastrophes have also been found to compound gaps in equality. According to Allison Plyer, Head of The Data Center in New Orleans, some citizens note a marked improvement in New Orleans since its pre-Katrina days- due mainly to improved infrastructure. Yet others feel much worse off because they do not benefit as much from these improvements. Flozell Daniels, Jr., Head of The Foundation for Louisiana further explains that black residents, on a whole, are worse off financially than they were pre-Katrina, while white residents are not.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the Children’s Health Fund has found health effects in children; including trauma, stress and depression, due to prolonged recovery efforts in certain communities within New Orleans.
On a final note, the full human impact of Katrina has yet to be determined. Kai Erikson, a Sociologist at Yale University feels that the focus of recovery research should be expanded to include all people who lived in New Orleans at the time of the storm. Many of these residents have not returned to the city, but have still experienced the effects of Katrina and represent varying levels of recover.
What do you think? Is the post-Katrina recovery over with?