Sunday, December 24, 2006

New Orleans losing some of its brightest ...

From AP via

It wasn't the flooding that drove Dr. David Jones out of New Orleans for good. His house in the Lakeview neighborhood stayed dry. Instead, it was the way Hurricane Katrina eroded the orthopedic surgeon's practice.

With fewer patients to treat and no patience for the sluggish pace of the city's recovery, he moved his family and practice to Raleigh in July.

"I love New Orleans and always will," said Jones, 39, who now works at a hospital affiliated with Duke University. "I could have made a go of it there, but it would have been slow and arduous."

New Orleans is losing an alarming number of young professionals in Katrina's aftermath. Many doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and other highly educated people are gone. Some left during the storm and never came back. Others came back, but soon gave up and moved out altogether.

Whether a full-blown brain drain is under way is unclear. But some suspect so, and fear the exodus will only get worse.

"They don't see the career opportunities here that they see elsewhere," said University of New Orleans political science professor Susan Howell.

For many professionals trying to make a living here, the number of patients and clients has dropped off drastically. Less than half of New Orleans' pre-Katrina population of 455,000 has returned.

A recent survey by the University of New Orleans suggests the loss of the region's best educated, most talented and highly trained workers could worsen. One-third of residents surveyed in October said they are likely to leave within two years, and those with postgraduate degrees were even more likely to consider leaving.

Health care has been especially hard-hit. Thousands of doctors, nurses and medical technicians were evacuated after Katrina in August 2005. Sixteen months later, only five of 11 hospitals are open, just one at full capacity.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Post a Comment

<< Home