Hurricane Katrina's winds had hardly subsided before ACORN began organizing New Orleaneans to rebuild their beloved city on their own terms. Today, ACORN's national headquarters in New Orleans houses more staffers than ever and ACORN members are fighting to ensure the city's recovery. Though thousands of Katrina survivors are still displaced, the last year has seen a series of significant wins for ACORN in New Orleans and the struggle continues to fully resurrect the Crescent City.
Lower 9th Ward on the rise
ACORN members did not allow officials to give up on the Lower 9th Ward.
ACORN and Lower 9th Ward homeowners in March celebrated a historic victory when New Orleans leaders announced the neighborhood, along with New Orleans East, would be the beneficiaries of $145 million in rebuilding dollars. The landmark announcement marked a 180-degree change of heart for city officials, whose planning consultant in November 2005 advised them to force Lower 9th Ward homeowners to sell their property and consign the flood-prone neighborhood to wetlands. Helping to influence that decision was ACORN's January report, "The People's Plan for Rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward," the result of a collaboration with ACORN Housing and Columbia, Cornell and Louisiana State universities that included thousands of interviews with residents, a survey of more than 3,000 structures, 300 businesses and 300 households.
Efforts continue to prevent bulldozing homes in storm-damaged neighborhoods. Meanwhile, ACORN members and their allies in July demanded equitable flood protection for all New Orleans neighborhoods by forming a mile-long “human levee” along the Monticello Canal, part of an ongoing campaign to ensure full and fair flood protection for all city residents.