A Brief Baseline Resilience Assessment to Support Opportunity Zone Investment: Lower 9th Ward
The Lower 9th ward is a neighborhood on the East side of the Industrial Canal which contains the Census Tract 9.04 Opportunity Zone. Once a thriving working-class neighborhood of New Orleans, the Lower 9th Ward experienced a period of economic decline before Hurricane Katrina, and the devastating storm only exacerbated existing challenges. Despite some philanthropic efforts to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood has still not recovered from its pre-storm condition. Many lots remain vacant and a significant portion of residents have not returned to their homes. There is a need to develop local services and resources to fulfill basic needs such as grocery stores, medical offices, and childcare centers. Underpinning many of the Lower 9th Ward’s challenges is the stigma associated with Katrina’s destruction of the neighborhood and the lack of investment that has resulted. Despite these challenges, there is opportunity to build on social capital initiatives such as the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. The possibility to improve the resilience landscape must be initiated by creating a coherent and comprehensive plan to solidify a vision for the future of the Lower 9th ward.