Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Gulf Region's Demographic Shuffle

With only two months to go before a hurricane season that the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami has said will likely be stronger than average, the Bush administration is now saying there may not be enough money available to fully rebuild the Gulf region to meet new federal standards. This includes rebuilding/updating the New Orleans' levees, the cost of which is now estimated to be triple the value originally put forward.

This means that those areas unable to meet new federal regulations, and the requirements of the national flood insurance program, will have a tougher time attracting investors, developers, home buyers, federal/state/local infrastructure development/improvement/repair, etc. It's also true that many of these areas coincide with the areas populated by those with both lower incomes and less power and influence.

A potential travesty is in the making as disenfranchised groups may be pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods in New Orleans and across the gulf states. The demographics of the region may substantially change in the next few years - another symptom of the ever widening gap occurring between the "haves" and the continued increasing "have nots."


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