Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of New Orleans' public education system. As the region rebuilds, public school availability--and quality--will play important roles in determining whether families return. For the foreseeable future, the system will need to operate amid uncertainty about how many students it needs to educate and how they will be distributed across neighborhoods. The city and state response to the challenge must be aimed at two key objectives: adaptability and quality. This essay draws upon recent experience in other cities to outline a strategy for rebuilding New Orleans' public education system. If such a strategy is implemented, it could pioneer new ways of organizing public education in cities nationwide.