Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and displaced hundreds of thousands of its residents. Now, a new site by the Advancement Project and the group Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), called KatrinaTruth, has shown that although the city may be rebuilt, its recovery has not been an equitable one. In fact, they demonstrate how post-Katrina policies worked to push out Black families and communities from their homes, their schools, and their government.
The site provides nine different "Reality Checks" addressing major areas in which post-Katrina policies have failed New Orleans: education, housing, economic inequality, Black leadership, criminal justice, environmental justice, queer and trans people of color, and health and wellness. These reality checks disrupt the falsely-positive narratives of policies like school "reform" system, which the site argues is really a school to prison pipeline. While test scores may have improved in New Orleans, they have come at the cost of children being pushed out of schools, harsh disciplinary practices, no accountability, and failures to accommodate students with disabilities or English language learners. As the site says, this isn't "progress," it's inequality and injustice.
Changes in education also played a role in the dismantling of Black leadership in New Orleans. After hurricane Katrina, the 7,000 teachers fired (most of whom were black) were replaced by mostly white education reformers, such as those leading charter schools. This kept Black educators out of their schools but it also deprived the large Black community of their leadership and advocacy. Their removal also contributed to economic inequality, as Black teachers were a key part of New Orleans' middle class.
Each of the Reality Checks includes "key recovery data" for a highlighted look at some of the most important numbers, and links to other resources. The site has also generated considerable discussion on twitter, under #KatrinaTruth. Check it out today!