The following is a brief summary of where Camp Restore is today; over the next 12 months we’ll be taking a deeper look at the past decade on the Gulf Coast and into the future with a monthly blog series, K+10.
We’ve come a long way in the past nine years. Much of what was flooded has been restored. Today a nationwide network of volunteers has joined with local volunteers and nonprofits, working together to restore homes, relationships with one another, and our environment.
Katrina highlighted problems that affect not only New Orleans, but many cities. There are significant systemic and social-justice issues that are just beginning to be addressed. Katrina also created opportunity to respond to these challenges in new ways, transforming NOLA into a testbed of community innovation with the highest rate of charter school students in the nation and a business start-up rate that far outpaces the rest of the country.
In many ways, New Orleans’ story is also the story of 21st-century America. We have a lot of work to do, but we also have many new opportunities to use our God-given personal gifts and resources to do it. From a Christian perspective, it’s a lot like what Isaiah 58 suggests we should be about.
The Latest Stats
According to the latest census data, Orleans Parish is home to around 378,000 people, or about 78% of its pre-Katrina population. There are at least 100,000 who have not yet returned. (NOLA.com Katrina 9 Years Later)
We say “yet,” because there continues to be steady population growth, with the neighborhoods hardest-hit seeing the greatest growth in the past four years. Both the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East have experienced growth exceeding 20% since 2010, but they still have a ways to go as they remain well below their 2005 populations. (The Data Center: Neighborhood Growth Rates)
The levees have been rebuilt and improved, but much work needs to be done in restoring our protective wetlands.
We host an average of over 3,000 volunteers a year from across the country, and in 2015 we anticipate welcoming our 25,000th volunteer to Camp Restore! (Update: We did!)
In our construction efforts, we’re now working almost exclusively with families who’ve had the toughest time recovering- and for whom funding for materials is scarce. Since 2012, we’ve completed 55 restoration projects on family homes, with much financial help for materials coming from our volunteer groups.
Nearly a third of our volunteers have worked on dozens more homes in partnership with St. Bernard Project, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together New Orleans, LowerNine.org and other community organizations.
Nearly half of our volunteers have served tens of thousands of hours over a wide range of volunteer opportunities with our nonprofit partners across the Greater New Orleans area.
A Greater Impact
Behind all the numbers are the relationships built and life-changing results of service with one another. Our NOLA family is growing far beyond Louisiana! See what our volunteers have to say: College Students | High School Students | Mission Trip Volunteers
Where We Go From Here
We’ve got an ever-increasing range of volunteer opportunities to address our long-term issues and develop solutions together. We invite you to join us!