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New Orleans’ newest resident isn’t a roofer. He doesn’t work for FEMA, and he’s not a mold remediator or a stump grinder. He’s not even Mexican. He’s a lawyer. And not just the condescending do-gooder type who’s down here to criticize the city for wanting to have elections, for refusing to pay for public defenders, or for having toxins in the post-Katrina soil. He’s a bona fide, for-profit business litigator.

David Curtis had accepted a job with a downtown law firm months before Katrina. But unlike many others without family ties to the city, Curtis and his wife immediately moved to the city last month after he finished law school at Ole Miss and passed the Mississippi bar exam. Shortly after the storm, in fact, Curtis took the extra step of racing into town and purchasing an Uptown shotgun double.

“He’s obviously an idiot,” says Jim Silverstein, a partner at the firm at which Curtis is now working and according to sources, still feeling effects from riding out Katrina in his Uptown home. Bewildered that Curtis not only re-confirmed employment after the storm but actually purchased real estate in the storm-ravaged city, he adds, “Why did we hire him?”

For his part, Curtis is “pleased as punch” to be here. He’s studying for the Louisiana bar and excited about the prospect of helping to rebuild a New New Orleans. “I’ve loved this city since I was a child,” says Curtis, who spent time in town each summer growing up visiting a childhood friend. “I’m confident the city will soon be better than ever.” Let’s hope he’s right.

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