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Historic tax incentives as disaster relief: a case study on post-Katrina New Orleans

Director: Professor Jo Leimenstoll, 105pp.


Federal historic preservation tax incentives for rehabilitation projects are one of the most successful preservation tools usd to reinvest in rebuild blighted neighborhoods. In this thesis, I studied how Federal historic historic architecture following a natural catastrophe. By uncovering trends among project rehabilitation descriptions, project totals, and project locations throughout New Orleans, I show that preservation tax credits were successfully used as a preservation tool in overall disaster relief efforts. The information collected and developed in this thesis has the ability to inform state and national officials responsible for promoting Federal tax incentives about the nature of these projects following a catastrophic event. In post-Katrina New Orleans, the destruction of historic housing was widespread with approximately 70% of housing units damaged in the storm. In this study, I looked at all rental-residential rehabilitation projects that utilized the tax credits between 2002 and 2009 to better understand the effectiveness of the tax credits following a natural disaster. For my research, I employed visual analysis, quantitative data analysis, and interpretive mapping techniques. Through visual analysis I assessed property conditions prior to and following rehabilitation. Quantitative data was used to compare the total number of projects, the total amount of certified investments, and approximate certification time. This information was used to compare data throughout the eight years of study to identify any similarities, differences, or trends apparent prior to and following Katrina. Mapping techniquest described specific locations of projects throughout the city and the state while comparing project locations prior to and following Hurricane Katrina. This technique identified any project location shifts to more flood-damaged areas following the storm.

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