Major disasters bring staggering costs in lives, injuries, and property damage. Hurricane Katrina alone left over 1,300 dead in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and caused property damage estimated to exceed $75 billion. Over 100,000 homes and apartments in New Orleans were flooded or damaged, with similar damage elsewhere in Louisiana and Mississippi. Extensive damage and injury were caused by the other four 2005 hurricanes. These disasters hold many lessons for real estate lawyers, both for disaster recovery and for preparations to minimize the effects of the next tragedy. This article discusses issues concerning housing evacuees, the federal flood insurance program’s effect on recovery, mitigation of a disaster’s effects with zoning, and other reconstruction matters.

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