Tale of two cities: Biloxi and New Orleans
n the Lower 9th Ward, Robert Green Sr., 52, who lost his mother and granddaughter during the storm, feels like the government has failed him. He's still waiting to receive his money from Louisiana's Road Home Program. Green said that although he hasn't received an official award letter, he's been told he will receive a mere $700 to rebuild his home. He estimates it will cost $167,000 to build. Ruins, deaths don't stop Green family's New Orleans return
As of August 6, 2007, the Road Home Program has paid 40,130 of the 180,424 applicants, according to The Brookings Institution.
Even though much of his neighborhood remains empty, Green said he never feels alone because of the steady stream of family, friends and tourists who stop to talk to him inside his FEMA trailer.
"This is how it was before [Katrina]. We were friendly, we weren't afraid of people, we weren't worried about crime, we weren't worried about drugs - we were worried about normal things like will my daughter go to college and graduate," Green said.
Still, there are some bright spots.
People are continuing to move back to the Crescent City. A new report by the U.S. Postal Service shows that 133,966 households in New Orleans received mail in July, compared with the 198,232 households receiving mail during the same month in 2005. Greg Rigamer, demographer and chief executive officer of GCR Consultants, estimates that roughly 273,600 people were living in the city in July 2007, that's about 60 percent of the city's pre-Katrina population of 452,170.
The regional economy is rebounding and has been restored to more than three-quarters of pre-Katrina levels, according to Brookings. Construction is set to begin this winter on the 70-story Trump Tower New Orleans, which will be one of the tallest buildings on the Gulf Coast, according to co-developer David Brannen. Just last week, the Veteran's Administration announced its commitment to build a new medical center in the city's Central Business District.
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