the Ninth Ward is one such neighborhood. Developed mostly between 1920 and 1970, the Ninth Ward, which is divided by the Industrial Canal into the Lower Ninth Ward and the Upper Ninth Ward, sits on drained swampland. Originally the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the city, it became the least diverse after the 1960s. Pre-Katrina residents were primarily poor and working-class African Americans with a high rate of home ownership.
During Katrina, two sections of floodwall fronting the Lower Ninth Ward gave way, and a powerful surge of water, along with an illegally moored barge, flowed into the Lower Ninth. The neighborhood also suffered flooding from levee overtopping in neighboring St. Bernard Parish.
Many of the houses in the Lower Ninth Ward were destroyed in the flood (Figure 3-1). Today, many lots are empty or contain only a bare concrete slab. Many of the remaining houses are boarded up, some with a hole chopped in the roof where rescuers looked for survivors. The population has dropped from more than 17,000 before Katrina to 4,000 at most in the Lower Ninth Ward. People come into the ward to work on their property during the day, but they leave at night. Many former schools in the neighborhood also are closed, reflecting the reduction in student numbers and the conversion of many schools in New Orleans
FIGURE 3-1 Many homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans were destroyed by flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. Picture by Neeraj P. Gorkhaly