There are many neighborhoods that have come together in times of crisis, but after Hurricane Katrina none was so striking as in New Orleans. Many times I have heard people wonder, "Why do they stay?" but those questions were answered when I saw a video of a neighborhood conference in 2008 designed to highlight community efforts from New Orleans residents themselves:
This clip provides highlights from New Orleans Speaks, an event of the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation, to discuss ways in which local knowledge and experience had led the renewal of the city.
New Orleans remains troubled by deep race and class divides and high levels of crime, but the city, by all accounts, also had a lot more civic life than most of the United States --- not just cavorting in the streets during Mardi Gras season but a long tradition of gregariousness and neighborliness; people knew their neighbors, talked to strangers, called everyone by endearments, invited everyone on the block to the crawfish boil, had strong networks in carnival krewes, second-lines, music groups, social clubs, churches, to say nothing of the extended families so many people have. It's why a lot of people come back, or want to, and it's a major resource for reclaiming the city after Katrina. - Rebecca Solnit, 2007, The Nation
Would your neighborhood stay?