America's Fastest-Growing City (No, Not Vegas)

Peter Coy

The title of America's fastest-growing city goes to sleepy Baton Rouge, 75 miles upriver from New Orleans (which, sadly, is America's fastest-shrinking city).
In our real estate-obsessed culture, it took about a nanosecond from people's thoughts to shift from Katrina's victims to the real estate angle. The Wall Street Journal reported today on the plight of Judah Hertz, a Santa Monica developer who had the bad timing to buy two downtown New Orleans office towers in the past few months, making him the city's largest owner of high-quality office buildings.

But getting back to Baton Rouge ... the Los Angeles Times is carrying a story today about the craziness of the sleepy city's real estate market. The first anecdote is about a professor who balked at paying $1,000 a month for a teeny 700-square-foot home with broken windows. Now, after no luck finding something better, he says he'd sign in a minute if he could still find the person who made the offer.