Post-Katrina public housing: The intertwining of race, gender, and class and policy implications

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Race, Gender & Class

Publication Date


Date Added



Hurricane Katrina has been labeled as the deadliest hurricane of the 2005 hurricane season and the third strongest hurricane that ever made landfall in the United States. The estimated death toll from Katrina stands at 1,836, with millions left homeless as a result of the storm. The 2000 Census data reveals that the city's population was sixty-seven percent Black and twenty-eight percent White before the storm hit the city. Further data reveals patterns of residential segregation wherein Blacks in New Orleans lived in a neighborhood where eighty-two percent of the population was Black. Also, forty-three percent of low income Blacks lived in clusters of concentrated poverty compared to only eleven percent of poor Whites. As of 2005, there were 17,913 publicly subsidized housing units, most of which were occupied by Black residents. A predominant number of residents in public housing were African American women (grandmothers and mothers) and their children. Seventy-seven percent of households in public housing were headed by low-income African American women. The impact of the hurricane translated poverty statistics to mean a lack of resources and increased vulnerability. Efforts to rebuild the city's housing presented to policymakers and lawmakers the opportunity to start anew. However, the path to equitable housing has been riddled with challenges. 2,011 data from the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) indicates that the number of households living in public housing has decreased by 2,956 to 2,192. One of the problems that has plagued low-income African American families trying to move back into New Orleans happens to be the lack of availability and access to affordable housing. This article illuminates the intersection of race, gender, and class issues within the realm of post-Katrina public housing in New Orleans and outlines the policy implications that thereby ensue.


Climate, Housing


Political Science


Race, Gender and Class