Successful post-Katrina programs in jeopardy of losing federal backing

Without a continuation of post-Katrina grants for education, health care and improving the criminal justice system, New Orleans risks losing gains made since the storm, says a report released Wednesday on the state of New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Index at Five, a project of the Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, presents a broadly optimistic overview of the city’s evolution over the last five years, describing “key reforms” that carry the potential to “transform the city and region.” But even as the report records indicators of the region’s emerging growth, such as higher rates of entrepreneurship, declining blight and improving schools, authors caution that unless money is secured to maintain programs funded by an estimated $42 billion in federal funds that have flowed since the storm, progress will stagnate.