The number of damaged homes in the Orleans and St. Bernard parishes’ flood zone that have been renovated or are in the process of being repaired since the flooding after Hurricane Katrina climbed to 81 percent this year, according to an ongoing survey by the University of New Orleans.
The survey, conducted by the university’s department of geography, has tracked the progress of more than 2,000 single- and two-family homes in 39 randomly selected U.S. census block groups since 2006.
The latest results were collected between October and February.
According to the survey, renovations had been completed on 79 percent of the homes surveyed, and another 2 percent were in the process of completing repairs. The 81 percent total is up slightly from last year, when 79 percent of the homes had been or were in the process of being repaired.
“It’s encouraging that we’re still making forward progress 10 years after the storm,” UNO professor and project supervisor Peter Yaukey said. “We haven’t reached an equilibrium yet.”
The inspection involves assessing homes only from the outside, and property owners are not interviewed as part of the process. The survey includes only homes in the flood zone that featured watermarks above the lower door jamb of the front door in the spring following the 2005 flood.
That watermark was an indication of homes that would need to be gutted, renovated or demolished.
The survey categorizes houses in one of four ways: rebuilt, in the process of renovation, gutted/derelict or demolished.
The percentage of renovated homes was highest in sections of Mid-City and Gentilly and on streets off Bullard Avenue in New Orleans East, according to the survey.
Among the report’s other findings was that 15 percent of the homes surveyed have been demolished, leaving only empty lots. Another 4 percent have been gutted. The highest percentage of gutted homes was in the 7th Ward and St. Roch neighborhoods.
The number of gutted homes has fallen steadily since 2009, when it made up 17 percent of the total.
Yaukey said he found that figure to be the “most encouraging” number in the new report.
“It means the city is being cleaned up,” he said.
The City Council’s Community Development Committee will tackle the topic of blight in a meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The committee is scheduled to receive updates on the administration’s blight remediation strategy from Code Enforcement Director Pura Bascos and Ava Rogers, deputy chief administrative officer of operations.