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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, now deemed the worst in American history, may inflict more damage to the future of New Orleans than Hurricane Katrina.
In a matter of days, Katrina and the levee failure wiped out the physical and social fabric of many communities. Across the Gulf Coast, more than 1 million people were displaced from their homes and another estimated 1,400 persons lost their lives to the disaster. In New Orleans, the severe flooding destroyed more than 134,000 homes, wreaked havoc to public and private infrastructure, disrupted businesses, and severed generations of family and community ties that held many neighborhoods together.
But this protracted oil spill disaster could undermine the basic economic purpose of the New Orleans metro area and threaten its very existence.