New Orleans history and culture is rooted in a unique sense of place that transcends neighborhood. Yet, beneath a shared sense of tradition and culture lies another reality marked by separation, privilege, and disadvantage.
The historical and contemporary dividing lines in New Orleans, like in most American cities, fall along categories of black and white, race and ethnicity. Gaining an understanding of the history of neighborhood segregation in New Orleans is essential to appreciating contemporary racial disparities in wealth, access to opportunity, and vulnerability to disaster risk.
Today, The Data Center is releasing the next in our series of briefs we are calling The New Orleans Prosperity Index: Tricentennial Collection. “Rigging the Real Estate Market: Segregation, Inequality, and Disaster Risk”, is contributed by Stacy Seicshnaydre of Tulane Law School, Robert A. Collins of Dillard University, and Cashauna Hill and Maxwell Ciardullo of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. It is accompanied by a geographic reference overview by Richard Campanella of Tulane University entitled, “Three Hundred Years of Human Geography in New Orleans.”
The policies and practices that created a racially separate and unequal housing market in New Orleans, originating at all levels of government and throughout the private market, did not happen overnight. And, racial wealth disparity that has compounded over generations will not be eradicated through isolated policy changes, litigation, or public pronouncements. A most fitting way to celebrate our city’s tricentennial would be to pursue a range of policies designed to remediate segregation and foster inclusion.