Rebuilding New Orleans East

By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor Six years after Hurricane Katrina, its effects are still visible. Combined efforts of the U.S. government and for-profit and non-profit organizations are bringing Eastern New Orleans back to life. Several redevelopment programs have been launched since 2006, successfully providing [...]

Six years after Hurricane Katrina, its effects are still visible. Combined efforts of the U.S. government and for-profit and non-profit organizations are bringing Eastern New Orleans back to life. Several redevelopment programs have been launched since 2006, successfully providing housing units for the residents of New Orleans East.

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, or NORA, is currently advertising New Orleans East Phase II, which is designed to bring residents back to 200 houses in the submarket. NORA is seeking potential buyers, whether existing residents or newcomers, to purchase affordable-housing units that are part of the Road Home program in an attempt to reconstruct and revive the neighborhood.

The program includes housing ranging from two to five bedrooms and 809 to 2,701 square feet. Minimum bidding prices range from $9,000 to $105,000. The bid period began on May 30, 2011, with the submission deadline set at June 17. The prices have been established by NORA’s independent certified appraisers and are not negotiable, so any bid below the set price will not be considered. According to The Times-Picayune, officials agree to this appraised minimum value so as not to interfere with or cause any more damages to the real estate market in the area.

NORA has made public the status of the properties and the eligibility conditions that the potential buyers have to comply with. All the houses will be sold in an “as is” condition, and rehabilitation is required within 12 months of closing. Rehabilitation regulations incorporate walls and partitions, flooring systems, roofing systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems and heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems.

Buyers must also either occupy the property themselves or ensure occupancy is by an immediate family member, and they cannot resell their property within three years of acquisition.

With the support of agencies like NORA that are designed to encourage commercial and residential neighborhood redevelopment, New Orleans East is most likely to return to offering “suburban-style living within the city limits.”