UNO Survey: 79 Percent of Katrina-Damaged Homes Have Started or Completed Rebuilding

A curbside survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Department of Geography found that 79 percent of damaged homes within the Hurricane Katrina flood zone of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes have begun or completed rebuilding or renovating.

This most updated survey, which was started in 2006, was conducted between October 2012 and April 2013. This is the sixth iteration of the survey, which tracks the progress of more than 2,000 Katrina-flooded single and double family residences in a set of 39 U.S. Census Tracts Block Groups, selected randomly to provide a representative overview of the flood zone.

Residences were classified as either new/finished renovation, in process of renovation, gutted/derelict, or empty lots from which the house had been removed. Here is the breakdown of the residential survey:

  • 79 percent of homes have begun or completed rebuilding or renovating (76 percent appeared complete, 3 percent in process). This number is up only slightly from the 77 percent reported by the 2010 survey.
  • 14 percent are demolished (now empty lots).
  •  8 percent are gutted or derelict.
  • The 2 percent increase in the number of properties that are new, had finished renovation, or are in the process of rebuilding represented a slowing from the 6 percent increase from 2009 to 2010, and the 9 percent rise from 2008 to 2009.

Gutted and/or derelict homes continue to decline in abundance, dropping to 8 percent from 11 percent in 2010, and 17 percent in 2009, while the proportion of empty lots (with houses removed) has changed little over the last three surveys.

The UNO Department of Geography also conducted a survey of the rebuilding status of more than 2,400 businesses on 21 major commercial arteries in the Katrina-flooded areas of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.

Curbside evaluations of all businesses made initially between February and April 2009 were repeated in September 2010 and again in the October 2012-April 2013 survey. Businesses were classified as either gutted/derelict, empty lot, renovating, new/finished renovation, or open for business. Here are some highlights of the commercial survey:

  • 68 percent of commercial enterprises are open for business, up from 64 percent in 2010. The increase is accompanied by a decrease in the number of structures in the process of renovation, which fell from 5 percent to 2 percent.
  • The percentage of derelict and demolished (empty lot) businesses changed little from 2010, dropping only from 21 percent to 20 percent.
  • 10 percent of businesses appear to have been renovated, but are not open for business.
  • Lake Forest Boulevard has the fewest open businesses (34 percent), and the most derelict ones (43 percent). St. Claude is the only other business corridor with fewer than half of its pre-Katrina properties open for business (46 percent).


Commercial arteries were selected for inclusion based on examination of pre-storm aerial photographs. The arteries with the most commercial development in the two parishes were included.