Eight years after the Katrina floodwaters soaked 80 percent of New Orleans, the holy city where jazz began has risen from the muck, a blue-town floorshow in the deep-red South. New Orleans has 100,000 fewer people and 500 more restaurants than on August 29, 2005. The city that sank on global television has a booming film industry, thriving music economy, Mardi Gras, Bowl games, and festivals that have spawned a grassroots entertainment mecca. But the living city carries the dead city, places where nearly 1,000 people perished, and many thousands more were too broke or broken to make it back. Most of the Lower Ninth Ward and chunks of New Orleans East, near Lake Pontchartrain, are still ghost towns. Husks of homes, some of them choked in jungular vines, furnish a tropical Pompeii for viewers on the disaster bus tours. Nevertheless, 79 percent of homeowners did rebuild, many after long battles with stiff-arming insurance adjustors that sent them into the labyrinth of Road Home, a federally-funded program that dispensed grants for construction costs at an achingly slow pace. With more than 360,000 people, a resurrected New Orleans stands out in high relief from the spurious values of the Tea Party…. Read full this story
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