I realize that it is WAY too early to reach any conclusions about long-term effects of the ongoing debacle in New Orleans. However, since I am in the real estate industry, and I am witnessing a tremendous boom in high-rise condominium development throughout the urban areas of South Florida, I began to wonder what long-term effects this tragedy could have on the people's real estate investment/purchase decisions.
Although New Orleans may have a more concentrated poor population than many other cities in America, still it is reflective of most urban areas. Urban areas become the home for the poorest members of the community. And, assuming that the photos, stories and video of the events in N.O. are reflective of what is really going on there, it appears that the poorest part of the community is the segment from which the violence and lawlessness is arising.
That being the case, I got to thinking that perhaps the fantasy of urban renaissance may soon become a dead issue. If such violence and lawlessness can take place in this urban community in complete chaos, then it could happen in any urban community in chaos.
If this is true, then middle class and upper middle class people may think twice about committing to live in an urban environment which could easily devolve back into a jungle if a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurs.
Certainly, I have heard about scattered violence in other Gulf Coast areas, but not to the extent taking place in New Orleans. Also, I heard first-hand about scattered violence in South Dade after Hurricane Andrew; but again, not to the extent purportedly taking place in New Orelans. During Andrew, I don't recall any reports of violence against volunteers and/or medical/rescue workers.
I'm certain that once the National Guard and military establish their presence in the city, things will calm down QUICKLY. They did after Andrew, once stories got around that National Guard troops were told "shoot to kill"... and did.
Just my two cents worth in trying to cope with an unbelievable human tragedy.