New Orleans Neighborhood Awaits Key Decisions
Four and a half months after Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleanians who were flooded out of their homes still face an uncertain future. No where is that more true than on Honeysuckle Lane, where residents eager to return await key decisions by federal and local bureaucracies.
All Things Considered has been following the fortunes of one street in the sprawling, low-lying district called New Orleans East. Robert Siegel returns to Honeysuckle Lane, where uncertainty about that neighborhood's future continues.
The Bring New Orleans Back Commission, which was empanelled by Mayor Ray Nagin, has produced a plan. But it leaves some important questions unanswered: Will low-lying neighborhoods be rebuilt or will they revert to green space?
The decision depends on the Federal Emergency Management Agency saying in which neighborhoods it will sell flood insurance and in which neighborhoods it won't. That's something FEMA hasn't done yet.
It also depends on thousands of independent decisions by homeowners on whether to come back, or to stay away.
Judy Talmon, who lived in a duplex on Honeysuckle Lane, is leaning toward returning, if possible. She says some residents are coming back before the city says they can, like "homesteaders in our own property."
Paul and Lorraine Morton have moved back in to their home, which received less damage than most of their neighbors'. They just took delivery of a new refrigerator to replace the one that stood for weeks with the power off and food rotting inside.
"I would like to see more of us come back and make this neighborhood a neighborhood," Lorraine Morton says.
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