Why the gentrification hurts New Orleans’ future for Black people

There is now data to support the anecdotal evidence that Black folks are leaving New Orleans at a higher rate than white people.

Anyone who's been there wouldn't find this surprising. The places that are the focus of redevelopment areas are the ones that either Black folks never resided in in the first place or that poorer Black folks have been priced out of residing in now. Oh, the wonderful world of gentrification.

Dr. Calvin Mackie, Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) Board Member and Human Services Task Force Chair had this to say:

This makes sense as the majority of the city was Black and poor. There has definitely been a noticable departure of the black educated as most black professionals were independent contractors: doctors, lawyer, dentist, accountants, insurance salesperson and entrepneurs who serviced the black community. Therefore, if all your clients are gone, then you have to go find new clients. Post Katrina, I have lost my doctor, dentist, graphic artist, printer, baby sitter and lawn man.

More than the economic impact of this exodus, its social impact will on the Black community in New Orleans is potentially the most dangerous one. When [Black] professionals leave an area for good, they take not only their dollars with them, but also their experiences. Kids, especially young Black kids, need to see examples of people that look like them doing different types of things, in different types of professions, and finding different paths to successful lives.

Without these examples, without these mentors, without these relationships, many more young people could fall victim to a subculture that is all too prevalent in poor, urban America: a culture of hopelessness.

One Love. One II.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “Why the gentrification hurts New Orleans’ future for Black people”

  1. Anonymous says :

    a realtor suggested that i invest in an “entry level” type of housing development. one bedrooms go for 250k.

    new orleans is a very strategic port. i think they are looking to turn it into a new las vegas.

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