New Orleans Hurricanes and the Condo Market….Katrina Memories

     It is really hard to believe it been 7 years since Hurricane Katrina.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I had been concentrating on the condo market for about a year when the Hurricane hit New Orleans. 

     I was showing two units at the Cotton Mills the Saturday afternoon before the storm really hit us on that Sunday and when the flooding started on Monday.  I remember about 30 guys working on the roof as they were in the middle of replacing it right before the storm.  The Cotton Mills at that time were in their 3rd phase of four. 

       People were purchasing units as the renters were being asked to leave.  The roof did leak from the winds on the far end closest to the World War II Museum.  Al the units were quickly repaired after the storm.  Most of the damage was done where they did not get the roof finished.  Few were living in that section at the time as they were about ready to put on the market.

Cotton mills skyline

          Everyone wants to know how the condos made it through the storm.  The vast majority of the condos did not have any damage and the ones that did were qquickly repaired.  The Warehouse District, French Quarter, Garden District, Uptown, Old Jefferson, River Ridge, Harahan  had no water.  Many parts of Kenner and Metairie had little damage.  There were complexes that really took some hits from the storm. The Lakefront of Orleans was hit hard.  Rue Chardonney had about 90% of the units flooded.  Other places in Metairie suffered minor flooding and some had roof damages.  

          I had a listing in the Bakery on the 4thfloor that had 14-17  broken windows but absolutely no damage.  The windows were broken by flying objects blowing off the Hampton Inn across the Street.  There were a couple of security guards staying there.  They swept up the glass and patched the windows the best they could.  As you went to the second floor the damage was small.  There was little rain with the storm.  The security guys wanted to keep busy so they emptied all the refrigerators and did the repairs well before anyone came back.  The power was off for several weeks.  The Bakery Condos are a block from the New Orleans Convention Center which became a staging area to remove people that had flooded.

St. Elizabeths Condos, New Orleans Condos, The Front Porch

        In New Orleans most of the condo development outside of the Lakefront area were in the older historic areas that are on high ground and condo conversions that were raised even if their would have been water.  The biggest head ache was the large number of refrigeratorsthat had no power and no residents to empty them.  You can imagine a frig with food in it after a week of temperatures above 95 degrees.  Many of the support staff have to evacuate so there were few people left to empty these out. Over 300,000 refrigeratorers had to be discarded.  Someway most of the frigs were cleaned by staff and almost all had to be replaced in the end.  That was a sight hard to forget.

       I could go on and on with the stories and the people that had to have housing in those days.  Business was non stop for at least 18 months.  My friend Jack Saux and I ended up selling over 70 pieces of property that year.  Much of it done in the last 2 months of the year.   I do remember everyone helping each other and going out of their way to help their fellow neighbors.  It was like being on an island and every person was pitching in that ” New Orleans Spirit ”  New Orleans was really introduced to millions of people and thousands who came  down to help us rebuild on their own time and money.  America at its best, the people and groups that came down to help.  New Orleans is better for all the help…  

Convention Center in the New Orleans Warehouse District

          The Convention Center pictured above is what many Americans saw on TV in those dark days following the storm. 

      Jack Saux and I had showed this fella some homes in the morning as he was moving here for a new advertising  job.  He was from New Jersey.  Jim may have been his name.  We cut our showings short so he could get a flight out of town in order to miss Hurricane Katrina.  Several weeks later we found out that he did not get out of town and was stuck at the New Orleans Convention Center for over a week. 

      He said that was the greatest experience that he had ever had.  People pitched in to help each other and he made a lot of friends for a 50 year old white guy for Jersey…His new job was washed away and he ended up not moving here but he will always remember his stay in New Orleans.  The media rarely covers these stories but these are the vast majority of people…..I will remember Jim from that Saturday morning.

Superdome Comes alive for 2011

      The next big story was the Superdome being opened again and the Saints beating Atlanta in that first Monday night game of 2006…..There was something special in the air.  Eric


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Eric Bouler Realtor
Gardner Realtors
Metairie - New Orleans, La. USA