NEW ORLEANS, May 17 (UPI) -- The patterns of exit, return, rebuilding and voting look to make New Orleans whiter, richer and less populous than before Hurricane Katrina, a report said.
African American residents tended to move farther away and have returned to New Orleans at a slower rate than whites, a study found.
Despite similar devastation, rebuilding is under way in mainly white St. Bernard Parish while New Orleans' mainly black Lower Ninth Ward remains largely empty and lacks utilities.
New Orleans last week lifted its residency ban on about half of the Lower Ninth Ward.
"I am not a conspiracy person," poverty expert William Quigley of Loyola University told The Washington Post, "but it is pretty hard to argue with the facts on the ground."
Black voter turnout has fallen more than white turnout in advance of Saturday's mayoral run-off election, putting the mainly white Lakeview neighborhood in line to be "an important political constituency in the future," said John Logan of Brown University.
"And the Lower Ninth is almost certainly going to have less clout in coming years, and that really puts its future on the line," Logan told the newspaper.