The “New Desire” — or Abundance Square, as developers christened it — has transformed into a cluster of colorful, new shotguns and other single family homes, managed by a private company. The historic neighborhood, nearly obliterated by Hurricane Katrina, plans to re-open about 100 homes by July, the first in a planned total of 500 homes.
The story in the book recounted the rather discouraging history of the Desire projects (which has included past moments of celebration and promise that later fizzled), and the refusal of a handful of residents to leave the final buildings as the once-sprawling complex was razed. The last time I personally laid eyes on Desire was in about October of 2005. By then, the original Desire buildings were all gone, but had been replaced by some more human-scale housing that actually looked sort of promising.
Or, it would have looked promising, except that Katrina had recently happened, and it was a total ghost town.
I actually thought that I’d read they were giving up on this project, so I guess I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that there’s been some kind of progress. One of the people I interviewed for that piece in the book, Debra Davis, is even quoted in the T-P story, and sounds at least somewhat optimistic — and she was not a person given to false optimism.
So, perhaps there’s good news in this. Surely something to go take a look at next time we head to N.O.