NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A Brown University study projects the population of post-Katrina New Orleans will shrink from 484,000 to about 140,000 and the city will be majority white.
Professor John Logan says 80 percent of former African-American residents may not return to rebuild in the flood-damaged city because of unaffordable relocation costs or because they have started new homes elsewhere.
"The continuing question about this hurricane is this: Whose city will be rebuilt?" wrote Logan in a report funded by the National Science Foundation. The study analyzed federal damage assessment maps and looked at 2000 census data to determine the likely outcome for the city's most-damaged areas.
Three quarters of the worst damaged neighborhoods were black and nearly 30 percent of the residents were poor.
Logan said hardest-hit neighborhoods won't be rebuilt without significant government help for the displaced poor, the New York Times reported. He also said as much as 50 percent of the white population may not return.
The study was released 10 days after Mayor Ray Nagin said New Orleans would be a "Chocolate City," mixing all races and ethnic groups but majority black.