New Orleans is now growing rapidly. Its population is up 8.2% in the 12 months that ended July 1, 2008, gaining 23,740 people to 311,853, according to the Census Bureau. That still leaves it well below its pre-storm population of 484,674.

For sheer numerical increase, New York City trumped the birthplace of jazz. During the same 12-month period, Gotham added nearly 53,500 residents, more than any other city. That represented a growth rate of only 0.6%.

Following New York City were Phoenix, which added 33,184 residents (2.1%) to a total of 1,567,924, and Houston, up 33,063 to 2,242,193 (1.5%).