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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2011-17
Kimberly A. Geaghan
Component ID: #ti1196805812


On August 28, 2005, a day before Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana, the mayor of New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation for the residents of Orleans parish. Those who chose to evacuate did so with no idea of the kind of devastation the city would soon experience. Hurricane Katrina tore through the city of New Orleans on August 29th, leaving a wake of destroyed homes and more than 400,000 displaced residents. With the levees breached and the city in a state of turmoil, these displaced residents went where there was lodging, having no knowledge of when they would be able to return home. Unlike previous evacuations, the residents were not able to return home once the storm had passed. With the city flooded, an entire population was displaced and scattered nationwide for an uncertain amount of time. This unprecedented displacement of nearly an entire city was unlike anything experienced in the nation’s history. Recent American Housing Survey (AHS) data indicate that five years after the storm, some of those who remain in New Orleans are still in temporary lodgings, though most have settled into permanent homes.

The 2009 AHS contained specific questions aimed to capture information from the Katrina‐displaced residents living in the New Orleans metro area, which is comprised of seven parishes: Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, and St. Charles. Some of these questions focused on gathering information regarding the householder’s displacement activity immediately following the storm. This paper examines the displacement data collected from New Orleans householders between July and November of 2009, characteristics of residents living in the metro area, the type of dwelling into which they were forced to move in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and how many times they moved. It should be noted that the data do not include information on those evacuees who did not return. Additionally, this paper will focus only on occupied housing units.

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