chapter  7
22 Pages

Reconstructing Devastated Cities: Europe after World War II and New Orleans after Katrina

WithJeffry M. Diefendorf

ABSTRACT Comparing the post-war reconstruction of bombed German cities and the

ongoing rebuilding of New Orleans can provide a useful basis for evaluating what has

happened in the Crescent City since Katrina. This article concentrates on reconstruction

financing, design ideas, and the planning process. The experience of German

reconstruction suggests that expectations in New Orleans for immediate, unrestricted

financial help from the Federal government and for constructing a dramatically new city

were misplaced. External financing requires time to arrive. Planners after the war and

today have drawn upon ideas common throughout the twentieth century. Aided by the

Internet and the input of planners and architects from across the United States, the

planning process in New Orleans has been comparatively rapid and open. Helped by

volunteer labour and charity, actual rebuilding has been as much ad hoc as planned.