Blighted and vacant properties in New Orleans are a prevalent problem
that have had negative effects on the city. Blighted properties lower property value, are hazardous to health of neighboring residents, decrease the aesthetic of the neighborhood, and create weak market neighborhoods. The amalgamation of different factors has made blight a prominent issue in the city, namely the disarray caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However, New Orleans shares some causes with other cities as well such as mortgage foreclosures and owners who neglect property taxes and other payments for the property. Various New Orleans authorities have proposed solutions to blighted properties such as urban farms, regulating storm water runoff, creation of land banks, or the demolition of the property. New Orleans has executed a few different solutions to ameliorate blight such as government laws like expropriation, code enforcement, and tax adjudication as well as setting up organizations like the New Orleans Recovery Authority (NORA) and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA). One of the most lucid ways to ascertain New Orleans’ progress in decreasing blight is by comparing it to other cities. Collating information from New Orleans and similar cities that deal with this problem will provide a succinct barometer of where New Orleans stands. The most popular way other cities have diminished blight is by means of land banking systems that oversee and manage vacant properties in the city. These systems increase accountability for blighted properties and, in the long-term, can stimulate growth in the city by generating new businesses. In the end, New Orleans needs to implement a long-term plan that makes the city accountable for the amount of blight contained in certain areas. Establishing a land banking system in New Orleans will make this goal attainable. Over time, land banks will be extremely beneficial to the city.
Julion Laborde, Jackie Sands, Dmitri Shutufinsky and Maci Bates
This report was written by undergraduate students at Loyola University New Orleans under the direction of Professor Peter F. Burns