In New Orleans, Progress at Last in the Lower Ninth Ward

Date Published: 
February 23, 2007

The first new houses built in the Lower Ninth Ward since Hurricane Katrina were turned over to their owners on Thursday, creating a small island of hope in a sea of ruin.

Side by side, sparkling and bright on Delery Street at the neighborhood's eastern edge, the two houses unveiled at a ceremony on Thursday stand out in a landscape grimly frozen since the storm. The twin pastel variants on traditional New Orleans architecture sit incongruously whole amid block after block of ruined shells with doors swinging open and windows gaping wide.

Empty during the day and dark at night, this area is a long way from being a neighborhood again, even though it has been the focus of intensive volunteer efforts and organiz