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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘John Biguenet’

What Is New Orleans?
Resilient, a Moveable Feast, and Growing, Slowly

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Loyola panel discussion well attended, thought-provoking, encouraging

The moderator and panelists presented some very thoughtful and deeply felt responses to the question “What Is New Orleans” at Loyola’s Nunemaker Auditorium Wednesday night. In his introduction, the moderator, New Orleans novelist John Biguenet reminded the audience that in 2006 Republicans in Congress voted down a resolution that would have declared congressional commitment to rebuilding the Gulf Coast. (Biguenet blogged for the New York Times in 2005 and 2006 about the city’s recovery—check out his strong, clear-voiced pieces—and he is profiled in the Fall 2009 Louisiana Cultural Vistas.)

campanellaIn order of interest, first would be Tulane geographer and demographics whiz Richard Campanella (who actually spoke last), author of the fascinating Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans. (Buy it. Read it. Then buy copies for your friends who are interested in the city’s history and future.) Campanella—originally from Brooklyn, it turns out—is a sort of geography + demographics geek who makes statistics interesting and brisk-paced so your eyes don’t glaze over. To wit: the city’s population, about 450,000 before Katrina, dropped to nearly zero in Sept. ’05, and is about 340,000 now. The population had risen to 200K on the first anniversary (2006), 300K on the 2nd, and 320K by the 3rd anniversary. From the 2nd anniversary to the present, the population has risen by only 40,000 souls.