Only a few thousand people stayed in the city after Hurricane Katrina broke levees and covered most of the city with several feet of water.
A report by RAND's Gulf States Policy Institute said the population will be fluid based on the amount of available housing and other social and cultural necessities like schools, hospitals and jobs.
RAND's Kevin McCarthy said the more local, state and federal governments do to address the necessities, the faster people will come back to live in New Orleans.
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