In 2005, the state of Louisiana suffered major disasters back-to-back when Hurricane Katrina struck its southeast coast and the levee system failed, devastating New Orleans and the surrounding areas and causing massive flooding. Just three weeks later, Hurricane Rita made landfall in the southwest. In response to these catastrophic events, the United States Congress appropriated a pool of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Louisiana to use, alongside funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private insurance dollars, to spur disaster recovery across the most affected areas in the state.
Louisiana received a total of $13.4 billion in CDBG-DR funds to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which it dedicated to three key missions: restoring the state’s lost housing stock, rebuilding and strengthening communities’ lost infrastructure and supporting struggling small businesses. Ten years later, significant work has been done in regards to all of these missions, according to government status reports and economic analysis work conducted by Louisiana State University researchers.
Compiled by researchers from Louisiana State University for the Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit in Louisiana’s Division of Administration and the City of New Orleans, the Measuring Recovery project consists of economic analyses of three key sectors – housing, infrastructure and economic development — in Louisiana following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Focused on studying potential correlations between federally provided CDBG-DR program funds, the reports were provided to the State of Louisiana to serve as baseline analysis for future research on the effectiveness and economic impact of CDBG-DR dollars on long-term recovery in Louisiana.