The NY Times is reporting something people in the Gulf Coast already knew: lots and lots of New Orleanians are not going back. During and after the hurricane a lot of evacuees were sheltered in my home town, and a lot of them decided life in a small town wasn't so bad. Some of them are still there, settled into new lives. There are tons of former New Orleanians here in Houston now, too. I've even seen subdivisions being built with French Louisiana-style themes. French stuff. In Texas. I guess this partly answers the question of whether New Orleans (not to mention the rest of the Gulf Coast) will ever be the same. There are still people there, but there are whole neighborhoods that are still abandoned. The article points out that only about 53,000 people voted in city elections this year, down from 113,000 last year (which was largely by absentee ballot).