Sean Cummings, a real estate developer and hotel operator in New Orleans, says the future of his storm-ravaged city is up in the air, not uncertain, mind you, literally, up in the air. Cummings says the flooding will only encourage a trend begun before Katrina of New Orleans residents moving to high-rise residential towers. Cummings has a 60-story, $15 million apartment complex in the Bywater neighborhood near downtown already financed. He hopes to break ground next year. “No one’s having second thoughts,” he says. “You have a whole lot of displaced people who need a place to live and who will rethink the type of housing that they have. I wouldn’t be surprise to see whites, blacks, Hispanics, Vietnamese, every bit of New Orleans considering alternatives other than single family homes in low-lying areas.” Cummings says the hurricane may also jump start efforts to create a new convention center, performing arts center, football stadium and city hall in the Crescent City. “New Orleans is an American icon," he says. "I don’t think there is a city in the nation where Americans have a greater love affair. That’s true with an exclamation point for people who call it home.”

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