In the months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, shock gave way to deep concern about how to bring this unique city back to social, cultural, and economic health. Many of New Orleans's problems—widespread poverty, a failing public education system, low wages, and a weak tax base—predated the storm. The rebuilding effort afforded a chance to reform already troubled systems. Urban Institute scholars offered evidence-based insights to help the city’s residents rebuild their social and economic infrastructure. In addition to offering strategies for providing urgently needed housing, jobs, health care, and schools, we helped rethink the role the safety net plays in the face of disasters and supported nonprofit and government efforts to tackle long-standing challenges laid bare by the storm.