Newell Normand: What the future holds for New Orleans

Newell Normand
June 23, 2018 - 2:20 pm

What does the future have in store for the Crescent City?  To get a good handle on the future, you have to look at the past. Newell Normand looks at how New Orleans has changed over the past 300 years…and addresses today’s big issues: long-term investors, affordable housing & gentrification, the working poor and the impact of education. And, yes, Newell gets the empirical data about it all, when he talks to Lamar Gardere, Executive Director of the Data Center, about their new report, Nola 300 Forum: Our data, our city, our future.

Here are some of Newell Normand’s HOT TAKES:

  • Hurricane Katrina was an extraordinary event, a complete disruption.  When we’re examining the city, we have to take Katrina’s effect in context and take it out of context too.
  • Housing is a huge issue right now, things like affordable housing and gentrification among others.  We’re locked in by the land, so we have artificially inflated residential values, because we just can’t spread out like some other cities can.  We’re redefining and re-engineering areas that have already been developed.
  • The racial gap in the homeownership rate has been closing in New Orleans, and that’s a good thing.  That makes for a diverse city.  I’ve always said you have to have skin in the game.  It’s great to have long-term investors come here, but are they going to stay?  It’s the folks who are going to stay, who need to chart the course ahead.
  • We need to understand the data to understand where we’re going as a city.
  • I talk a lot about the working poor on my show.  The working poor have a challenge that seems to be a lot more difficult today, in a number of respects, than it’s ever been.  One of the main problems is that they’re not nimble.  They don’t have a lot of decisions they can make; more often than not, decisions are made for them, because of the situation they find themselves in. 
  • Education is the center of the universe.  It allows people to move up the ladder, day-in and day-out.  One of the issues is that we have significant disparities in standardized tests.  Both of my children went to private schools, and there was a lot of help for students on what was expected in standardized tests and what they needed to do to perform well.  I’m not sure whether a lot of those services are provided for in the public school system. 

Listen to Newell’s entire conversation with Lamar Gardere below.


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