Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nobody actually lives here

This is a new report from The Data Center (formerly the New Orleans Community Data Center... they re-branded to higher ambitions.. or something).  It tells us that 39% of children in New Orleans are living in poverty.  
The child poverty rate in New Orleans is fully 17 percentage points higher than the national average. Moreover, it is higher than in many comparable U.S. cities. Among the 39 cities with populations between 275,000 and 600,000, New Orleans has the 9th highest child poverty rate. This is particularly concerning given that many of the cities with higher child poverty rates, such as Cleveland, are not experiencing an economic renaissance as in New Orleans.
An "economic renaissance" with 39% child poverty.  How does that work?  According to this report, if you actually live here, things are as shitty as they've ever been. 
Given that 82 percent of New Orleans families with children have at least one working parent, how could it be that 39 percent of all New Orleans children live in poverty? The answer may lie partially in the large number of low-wage jobs offered in the New Orleans area. A larger share—12 percent—of full-time, year-round workers in the New Orleans metro earn less than $17,500 per year, as compared to only 8 percent nationally. And female workers who live in the city of New Orleans itself are more likely than male workers to earn low wages. According to 2013 Census data, more than 64,000 working women in New Orleans earned less than $17,500 in the prior 12 months through either full-time or part-time work.
There is one key difference, though.  If the overall population of children is any indication, it turns out, significantly fewer people actually live here.
Roughly 78,000 children under 18 years of age live in New Orleans as of 2013. This is a sizable drop from 2000 when over 129,000 children lived in New Orleans.i While the number of children in New Orleans is significantly smaller than pre-Katrina, the poverty rate unfortunately is not. The child poverty rate in New Orleans dropped in 2007 but has since increased to the same level it was pre-Katrina. Today, 39 percent of New Orleans children live in poverty.

The city's post-Katrina strategy has had nothing to do with alleviating poverty and everything to do with removing the poors. And it's working. It works especially well for the people who actually matter, anyway.  Developers and realtors are doing great.
The cost of buying a home in the New Orleans area climbed for the third year in a row in 2014. And it was not just the city, but the suburbs as well, that saw gains.

Meanwhile, in the city proper, the latest figures showed that the market has gotten so hot in more desirable neighborhoods that buyers have started scooping up even the more run-down properties. The price of homes in poor or fair condition last year spiked in certain ZIP codes.

Across the region, sales of single-family homes in average or better condition climbed 3.1 percent, to $114 per square foot, last year, compared with $110 in 2013. Those figures compare with an average price of $102 per square foot before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Considered another way, a 2,000-square-foot home now sells for an average of $228,000 in the metro area. It would have sold for an average of $220,000 last year and $204,000 before the storm.

Nobody lives here.  Or at least the shrinking number of people who do live here can't make ends meet.. particularly the few people who are still trying to raise families here. But demand for housing has never been stronger. What is happening?

New Orleans is becoming a smaller, more expensive playground for the wealthy.  This is not an accident of history or the will of the invisible hand of the free market. It is happening because that is what our political leadership wishes to happen. All they're interested in is more and more nice things for rich people who don't live here.
NEW ORLEANS -- The long-vacant Rault Center building at 1111 Gravier St. recently sold for $5.5 million.

The developer plans to turn the building into a 185-room boutique hotel.

The old New Orleans Public Service Incorporated building at Union and Baronne sold last month for $11.6 million.

It is also expected to be transformed into a hotel.

New Orleans City Council member LaToya Cantrell says momentum is growing across the CBD.

"Across the board, what I envision is a real tipping point that's happening," said Cantrell. "It's prime real estate in the heart of the city of New Orleans and it gives me great, great confidence that we're moving in the right direction."
I don't think LaToya is dumb. So I have to assume she is fully aware of the sort of lie she is telling when she asks us to conclude that downtown development is primarily about creating a "neighborhood."
"Basically, what we're see happening there is the development of a brand new downtown neighborhood which is what we're about, we're about creating a collection of great neighborhoods downtown," said Weigle.

"We do have more people moving to the CBD," said Cantrell. "They're moving into a mixed-use community. So, you can live, work, play and also worship."

There is now hope the stars aligned for the long dormant Plaza Towers at Howard Avenue and Loyola Avenue will make a comeback.

New Orleans developer Joe Jaeger recently purchased the 45 story skyscaper.
It's former owners spent $11 million removing asbestos and mold from the building.

"We've seen the growth occur along Loyola Avenue, as it relates to the Hyatt, of course," said Cantrell. "Now we have Dave and Busters coming on line there. The redevelopment in terms of the streetcar line. Plaza Tower is the only development in my mind that holding it back and now we have someone who's going to be responsive and responsible for bring it back, back into commerce."

Hotels, pied-a-terres, short term rentals, and..... Dave & Buster's, I guess.  But not many families with children, of course. Those kind of people can't afford what we're building.   But, hey, it makes money.  And it generates tax revenue. It's a shame that nobody actually lives here but that's part of the deal. 

1 comment:

Nolaresident said...

So I have to assume she is fully aware of the sort of lie she is telling
when she asks us to conclude that downtown development is primarily
about creating a "neighborhood."

There were certain requirements to be met by Latoya before *they* wrote the check to her

In addition to this whopper there was probably a condition for a yea vote concerning short term rentals.