When the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) board approved the New Orleans Redevelopment Authoritys (NORA) Parish Redevelopment and Disposition Plan, Orleans Parish became, along with Jefferson Parish, one of only two parishes statewide to receive this approval. The plan refers to those properties that homeowners decided to sell back to the state as part of the Road Home program. Its not often that Orleans, especially in terms of recovering from the levee failures, is first in anything.
Its not always the parishs fault the amount of damage and loss, both human and property, dwarfs most of the other parishes but still, it is nice surprise when we come in first. No one expected the plan to be ready, and, according to Joe Williams, the executive director of NORA, that included the LRA.
Due to the complexity of the Orleans Parish plan and the number of property pipelines involved, the LRA expected us to be ready sometime in early 2008, Williams says. However, we believed it very important to get the plan in as quickly as possible, so we could begin the process of rebuilding the city.
Williams adds that a number of state and city agencies aided NORA in fashioning the document and he considers it an example of government working together to get something done.
For NORA and the many neighborhoods in the city affected by this plan, this is just the beginning with thousands of properties and part of the citys future hanging in the balance. To find out how the little known and much maligned NORA became a major player in the citys redevelopment, whats in their plan and whether or not theyre up to this imposing task, check out the upcoming Gambit Weekly article, The Long Road Ahead.