The Katrina Pain Index 2013: New Orleans Eight Years Later

Published on ZNet, by Bill Quigley, August 27, 2013.

Eight years after Katrina, nearly a hundred thousand people never got back to New Orleans, the city remains incredibly poor, jobs and income vary dramatically by race, rents are up, public transportation is down, traditional public housing is gone, life expectancy differs dramatically by race and place, and most public education has been converted into charter schools

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. The storm and the impact of the government responses are etched across New Orleans. A million people were displaced. Over a thousand died. Now, thanks to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center GNOCDC and others, it is possible to illustrate the current situation in New Orleans. While some elected officials and chambers of commerce tout the positive aspects of the city post-Katrina, widespread pain and injustice remain.

New Orleans is still down about 86,000 people since Katrina according to the Census. Official population now is 369,250 residents. When Katrina hit it was 455,000

Nearly half of the African American men in the city are not working according to the GNOCDC. Since 2004, the city’s job base has declined 29 percent. Fifty three percent of African American men in the New Orleans area are employed now. African American households in the metro New Orleans area earned 50 percent less than white households, compared to the national percentage of 40 percent … //

… One third of households in New Orleans earn less than $20,000 annually. This lowest income group makes up 44 % of the African Americans in the city and 18% of the white population.

Life expectancy varies as much as 25 years inside of New Orleans, according to analysis by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. From a high of 80 years life expectancy in zipcode 70124 (Lakeview and Lakeshore which is 93% white) to a low of 54.5 in 70112 (Tulane, Gravier, Iberville, Treme which is 87% black and has 6 times the poverty of 70124), social and economic factors deeply impact health. Overall, life expectancy in New Orleans area parishes is one to six years lower than the rest of the United States.

Jail incarceration rates in New Orleans are four times higher than the national average at 912 per 100,000 reports the GNOCDC. The national rate is 236 per 100,000. This rate went up and down since Katrina and is now just about where it was when Katrina hit. About 84 percent of those incarcerated in New Orleans are African Americans. The average length of time spent waiting for trial is 69 days for African Americans and 38 days for whites. Crime in New Orleans and in the metro area surrounding the city is down from pre-Katrina levels but still remains significantly higher than national rates.

In a bewildering development, a recent poll of Republicans in Louisiana revealed that 28% thought George W. Bush was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina and 29% thought Barack Obama was more responsible, even though he did not take office until over three years after Katrina!

The biggest crime of all? From 1932 to 2010, the New Orleans area lost 948 square miles of coastal wetlands.
(full text).

(Bill Quigley is teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans. A version of this article with full sources is available. You can email Bill here).


Find the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center GNOCDC:

where you may find for exemple:

  • How We Use Data: Stories from Community Leaders, 3.21 min, August 14, 2013: For the past 15 years, the Data Center has been both a trusted resource and an objective partner in bringing reliable, thoroughly researched data to conversations about building a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable region. In this 3-minute video, community leaders give testimony about the importance of data and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center in their work;
  • Drivers of Housing Demand: Preparing for the Impending Elder Boom, 5.16 min, June 29, 2012;
  • Democratizing Data: Lessons to Learn From New Orleans, 3.09 min,  October 5, 2011;: In this video created by the New Orleans Institute, Dr. Allison Plyer describes the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center’s experiences with democratizing data after Katrina when demand for data skyrocketed. Dr. Plyer also comments on the key factors that contribute to an area’s resilience following disaster;

Find on en.wikipedia:

  • Reconstruction of New Orleans;
  • Charter Schools USA, Founded in 1997, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) is one of the oldest and largest education management companies in the United States.’ Charter Schools USA (CSUSA)’ is the operator of 60 charter schools in seven states including 37 charter schools in Florida.[1] The schools serve more than 50,000 students. According to federal and state standardized tests, CSUSA as a district, scored an A. Due to the success of the program, AdvancEd awarded CSUSA the first Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) district accreditation for an education management company.[2] The company’s founder, Jonathan Hage, CEO of CSUSA, was selected as Floridian of the year by Florida Trend magazine in its January 2013 issue. CSUSA’s motto is Putting Students First! in every decision that they make.[3]
    CSUSA management-run schools are tuition-free. Student must wear uniforms and parental involvement is required. Teachers are paid for performance and teach a standard curriculum that includes music, art, sciences and customary classes.  Charter Schools USA manages every aspect of the program from marketing for new students, teacher recruitment, curriculum development, equipment and book ordering to financial management and oversight. Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) has achieved high results with the students attending—particularly low-income and minority students. Hispanic and Black students, English Language Learners (ELL) and students who are economically disadvantaged—eligible for free or reduced lunch (FRL) … (full long article);
  • Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA was passed by Congress in 1990 to fund wetland enhancement.[1] In co-operation with multiple government agencies, CWPPRA is moving forward to restore the lost wetlands of the Gulf Coast as well as protecting the wetlands from future deterioration. The scope of the mission is not simply for the restoration of Louisiana’s Wetlands, but also the research and implementation of preventative measures for wetlands preservation, inclusive The Hurricane Effect, Related Restoration Projects, and See also.

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