Having just returned from our ACE conference in New Orleans, I can tell you that almost 10 months after Katrina too much devastation remains. What’s not there are half of the 500,000 people who were the heart and soul of the Crescent City. Mayor Ray Nagin, who, to the surprise of many, was recently re-elected, will certainly have his hands full if he is to fulfill his mandate of bringing New Orleans back to its former glory. How he is going to do that is the $15-billion-dollar question.

Nagin’s not going to get much more help from the insurance industry; our part is almost wrapped up. Most of the remaining devastation is uninsured loss. Entire neighborhoods are deserted, their occupants having escaped to a less-volatile landscape. Many will never return. As the city continues its slow climb out of the rubble of Katrina, more affluent migrators will escape from the North’s brutal winters and convert the area. But that’s not going to happen next month, or even next year.

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