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10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans Is ‘Gentrification’s Ground Zero’
Posted on Aug 28, 2015
In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has transformed into “gentrification’s ground zero,” according to historian Megan French-Marcelin. Writing in Jacobin magazine, she dissects the city’s redevelopment and rebranding into a “neoliberal playground for young entrepreneurs.”
“One need only look at the harrowing weeks and months after the storm,” French-Marcelin writes, “to see that reconstruction would be used to implement a series of revanchist reforms that further deregulated labor, undermined unions, diminished educational and employment opportunities for working-class people, and excised public and affordable housing from the speculative urban landscape.”
The evidence to thwart any progressive redevelopment agenda is startling. For example, “In just over a decade—from 1996 to 2007—the city managed to close 85% of the city’s public housing, adopting a system of ‘mixed-income’ projects and vouchers instead.”
When it comes to public education, “within the first few months after the storm, nearly 7,500 predominantly black public school teachers were unilaterally fired, with no process or explanation, the first shot in a relentless battle to dismantle the city’s traditional public schools. In the next few years,” French-Marcelin explains, “education profiteers, led by Teach for America (TFA) and school privatization guru Paul Vallas, turned New Orleans schools into the first all-charter school system in the nation.”
Many of New Orleans’ low-income black residents have been displaced, with gentrification entailing a dramatic transformation of the city’s class structure, as the article makes clear:
Read the article in full here.
—Posted by Roisin Davis
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