Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’ public schools. The storm destroyed or caused heavy damage to a large number of them, which forced many students to relocate to temporary facilities.
The Crescent City was faced with the daunting task of rebuilding or repairing a substantial portion of its public schools. However, this task would be more than just identically rebuilding or repairing what was already there. The aftermath of Katrina reorganized neighborhood populations and community needs changed throughout New Orleans. If schools were to be rebuilt, a construction plan would need to accommodate these changes.
Rather than breaking down recovery projects school-by-school as it normally does, FEMA’s Public Assistance program provided a lump sum $1.8 billion grant to the Recovery School District (RSD) and the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to rebuild New Orleans public school campuses.
"The single grant accelerates recovery by giving local leaders the ability to rebuild New Orleans' public schools comprehensively rather than piecemeal," said Louisiana Recovery Office Director Mike Womack. "This gives the Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board greater flexibility when determining school sizes and locations to meet the educational requirements of a post-Katrina and reorganized Crescent City."
The $1.8 billion grant includes funds for rebuilding or repairing 88 New Orleans public school campuses to meet modern educational needs and demands. It also includes contents to support the curriculum requirements of a modern educational program. As of May 2015, 33 school projects are completed, 31 are under construction, 4 are in the procurement phase, 16 are in the design phase and four have yet to begin.