New Orleans after Katrina, Policy decisions in the Impossible City
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Geographically and economically, New Orleans is unique among North American cities. New Orleans is an island city surrounded by marsh, bayous, lakes and rivers constructed on over four hundred square miles of artificial land. It is home to the world’s largest port on the world’s greatest river system. Paradoxically, the location and its importance lead to the conclusion that New Orleans is both the “Impossible and Inevitable” City. This thesis traces the policy decisions and historical context that determined outcomes during Katrina and the policy decisions made in the six years after the disaster. Looking back on the policy response to rebuild the city, the first clear successes and failures have become apparent. The dramatic change in the health, education, and justice systems through policy have led to one of the most significant attempts at urban policy reform in the modern era.