News and Stories

Education

"An all-charter-school system was heralded as the future for urban schools. The future is filled with flaws." Read More

"An untold number of kids—probably numbering in the tens of thousands—missed weeks, months, even years of school after Katrina. Only now, a decade later, are advocates and researchers beginning to grasp the lasting effects of this post-storm duress. Increasingly, they believe the same lower-income teens who waded through the city’s floodwaters and spent several rootless years afterward may now be helping drive a surging need for GED programs and entry-level job-training programs in the city. It’s no coincidence, they say, that Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults not in school or working." Read More

"About seven months after Hurricane Katrina devastated large swaths of New Orleans and decimated scores of the city’s schools, the Orleans Parish School Board fired all 4,600 of the city’s public school teachers, most of them black. The firing was part of an effort led by key state officials to reinvent the city’s long troubled schools as independently operated charters, complete with new leadership and a new approach." Read More

“Clearly the theory of 'raise the bar and achievement will rise' is not playing out in the New Orleans RSD when it comes to meeting the Regents minimum requirement of an 18 in English and 19 in math on the ACT. No miracle here. Only more data that Louisiana Superintendent John White wishes he could hide.” Read More

Housing

“Before Katrina, New Orleans had 7,300 public housing units and seven traditional public housing projects. When the storm hit, it damaged 134,000 housing units. Now, with the 10th anniversary of the storm approaching, not one of the old projects remains, and the majority of the 5,148 public housing residents displaced by the storm have been unable to return to the neighborhoods where they once lived. Five thousand families are still waiting for subsidized housing to open up." Read More

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, let’s not ignore the “elephant” in New Orleans, notwithstanding the pressure to do just that. The elephant in our city is the rampant land grab displacing predominantly African American residents to the outskirts of the city, where public safety, reliable transit, nearby schools, accessible job opportunities and neighborhood amenities are lacking.” Read More

“Basic services remain hard to find in the hardest-hit neighborhood during Hurricane Katrina but white millennials are driving up real estate prices. The latest development: a condo complex on the site of a bulldozed school.” Read More

“The state-administered Road Home program, financed with grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has handed out $9 billion in rebuilding grants to 119,000 Louisiana homeowners. But thousands of those recipients were never able to finish repairs. There are many reasons for this, but the most common is contractors who took grants and didn’t finish work. Ramm-Gramenz says nine of ten of her cases involve contractor fraud, which ran rampant in the wake of the hurricane, especially with older people.” Read More

“Housing advocates are increasingly worried the future of New Orleans might be one where, unless the city undertakes some policy changes, the working poor will no longer have a place in the neighborhoods they used to call home.” Read More

Economic Inequality

“A new Data Center report released today says that 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is rebounding. However, demographers say prosperity is not distributed equally.” Read More

“This means that here in New Orleans, there are carpenters doing the fundamental part of home building for less than what many workers make at Walmart. Remember that when hypocritical politicians tell us the city is healthy, and we should celebrate the "recovery" this August on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Poverty wages aren't recovery. If the 1 Percent can get skilled construction at a floor of $11 an hour, imagine what that means for wages for a whole range of workers.” Read More

Black Leadership in New Orleans

“One black-owned bank helped build the city’s African-American middle class — until the hurricane destroyed much more than their homes.” Read More

“The flooded streets and destroyed homes of the New Orleans neighborhood known as the Lower Ninth Ward were among the most powerful and iconic images from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath 10 years ago. Now, much of New Orleans is back — more than half of the city's neighborhoods have recovered some 90 percent of their pre-storm population. That's not the case for the Lower Ninth.” Read More

“A lot has changed in the past decade, but the recovery has been uneven. White residents are doing better than they were before the storm hit, while African Americans are struggling to catch up from the storm’s aftermath.” Read More

“Despite many of the positive economic gains New Orleans made in the 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, black families continue to struggle while the gap between the rich and poor grows wider, casting a pall over the recovery. In addition, poverty is increasing in the surrounding parishes "undermining social cohesion and resilience capacity across the region," according to the Data Center.” Read More

“When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, the nation saw tens of thousands of people left behind in New Orleans. Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal.” Read More

Criminal Justice

“Despite post-Katrina reforms to the criminal justice system, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. That’s largely due to a practice of adding lots of extra time to the sentences of people with prior convictions, even for nonviolent crimes.” Read More

“Louisiana saw a 2.2 percent drop in its prison population last year, but it still had the highest incarceration of any state in the country by far, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice.” Read More

“Frustrated family members, defense lawyers and criminal justice reform advocates criticize the way the state treats its youngest convicts. Some say the state’s juvenile justice system is regressing to what made it infamous more than a decade ago.” Read More

Environmental Justice

"Louisiana may continue to build schools on toxic waste sites. The Senate Education Committee Thursday (June 4) effectively killed a bill to ban building schools on land that could be contaminated. After hearing testimony, no member of the committee moved to vote on House Bill 180. Its sponsor, Rep. Joseph Bouie Jr., D-New Orleans, was outraged. "Who in the 21st century would do this to a child?" he said. He had 39 co-sponsors, and the House passed the bill unanimously May 18." Read More

“'Schools built on contaminated sites are built to house children of color and low income,' Raby says. 'When Booker T. Washington was first built, there were racial overtones over it. It was no accident that it was built right next to the predominantly black Calliope housing projects. The intent was to keep all the black folks in that one area.'" Read More

Queer and Trans People of Color

“New Orleans trans advocates say they have been left stunned by the death of Penny Proud, one of their city's young, black trans residents, the latest casualty in the ongoing national trend of antitrans violence that has seen five trans women of color killed within the first five weeks of 2015.” Read More

Health and Wellness

“The report is a reminder that Hurricane Katrina was a mentally traumatic event. It's likely that most adults who needed mental counseling and treatment after Katrina didn't get it. And their children may have been even worse off because they may not know that mental health treatment is something that exists or can be requested.” Read More

“Shervington voiced concern that, given the high rates of trauma among youth in New Orleans, adequate mental health support does not exist. She noted that the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital, the sole behavioral health center for children in the city, closed in 2009, and a new facility has not been opened.” Read More