As 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches:  Racial Divide Exists in New Orleans over the Recovery!

Dear Commons Community,

It has been almost ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans on August 29, 2005.  A new survey by Louisiana State University indicates that the recovery has been perceived more favorably by white residents than black residents.  As reported in the New York Times:

“As the 10th anniversary approaches of Hurricane Katrina and the catastrophic levee breaches in New Orleans, a new survey finds a stark racial divide in how residents here view the recovery.

Nearly four out of five white residents believe the city has mostly recovered, while nearly three out of five blacks say it has not, a division sustained over a variety of issues including the local economy, the state of schools and the quality of life.

The survey, which was conducted by the Public Policy Research Lab at Louisiana State University, was released on Monday. The hurricane and the failure of the New Orleans levees on Aug. 29, 2005, caused more than 1,800 deaths across the coast and damaged or destroyed more than a million houses and businesses…

The L.S.U. survey echoes both what has been quantified elsewhere — such as a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and NPR that also found a racial gap in attitudes — and what is apparent by simply spending time in different neighborhoods around the city.

While a plurality of New Orleans residents rate the quality of life as about the same as before Katrina, the L.S.U. survey reports, more than one-third of blacks say it has gotten worse. The percentage of whites who believe their quality of life has improved, at 41 percent, is more than double the percentage of blacks who say the same thing…

The poll of 2,195 respondents, both in New Orleans and elsewhere in south Louisiana, was conducted via telephone interviews from July 7 to Aug. 10. The margin of sampling error within the city was plus or minus five percentage points.

The differing views about the state of the city may also reflect a change in the city’s makeup. Any comparison of New Orleans’s population before and after Katrina is complicated, in part because the population was not stable in 2005 but, according to some examinations, on a steady downward trajectory.

But comparisons are also made difficult because many of those here in the city now are not those who left. The L.S.U. survey found that more than a quarter of the city’s current residents had moved here since Katrina. Those who did so were wealthier and more likely to be white and college educated than those who lived here before 2005.”


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