Answer: overall, not so good. Especially the criminal justice system, as this recent National Law Journal article describes. I have several friends who are criminal defense attorneys and many of them have not returned. Their kids are in school somewhere else and they don’t have a strong sense that they can make money here. The crime rate is low, pre-Katrina prisoners have been dispersed and are often hard to locate, post-Katrina prisoners are cast into a hastily configured legal system that is changing as the people who populate it continue to move about (initially away from New Orleans, and now back to the city).
Legal systems thrive on precedent and predictability. We don’t have much of that in New Orleans right now, and we aren’t likely to get it back anytime soon.