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A Battle to Rebuild Looms in New Orleans

Oct 2, 2005

The Urban Conservancy’s Geoff Coats is interviewed for a Boston Globe story about the rebuilding of New Orleans.

The Urban Conservancy’s “Geoff Coats is interviewed for a Boston Globe story about the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Geoff Coats, cofounder of the Urban Conservancy, which works to preserve the textured fabric of New Orleans life, said he is not confident that harmony of purpose will be found. ”People from across those divides didn’t necessarily trust each other before this,” Coats said.

Coats said one concern is that New Orleans will be transformed into a ”theme park” lacking a complex human element that has sustained it for nearly four centuries. Minus a middle class and its lower-income population, Coats said, ”we’d have a very different city. In the worst case, you’d have this strip that hugs the river that includes the French Quarter and is fun for tourists and the conventions and becomes a caricature of itself.”

What makes New Orleans so special, Coats said, is a blend of incomes, races, and architecture that is the antithesis of new, generic development across the country.