Housing Discrimination Adding to Post-Katrina Hardships

People of color are finding it more and more difficult to secure housing in New Orleans, as new and old forms of housing discrimination -- and overt racism -- are conspiring to keep them out.

"Throughout the [New Orleans] region, historically white suburbs, as well as one African-American neighborhood, have been tightening the housing noose by passing laws that restrict, limit or simply ban the building--and even renting--of homes that traditionally benefit poor and working-class people of color. Couched in the banal language of zoning and tax credits, density and permissive-use permits, these efforts often pass for legal and rarely raise eyebrows outside the small community of fair-housing monitors. But taken together--and accompanied, as they so often are, by individual acts of flagrant racism--they represent one of the most brazen and sweeping cases of housing discrimination in recent history.

Among the first and most aggressive to take action was St. Bernard Parish, 84 percent white before the storm and working to rebuild itself that way. Barely two months into the recovery, St. Bernard's governing council passed a twelve-month ban on 'the re-establishment and development' of multifamily dwellings, stalling the reconstruction of affordable housing complexes. But the council truly distinguished itself in September 2006 when it passed an ordinance that, critics said, danced about as close to legalized segregation as perhaps any law since 1972, the year Louisiana finally deleted its Jim Crow laws. Known as the 'blood relative ordinance,' this law prohibited homeowners from renting their properties to anyone who was not a bona fide blood relation without first obtaining a permit--a loaded concept anywhere, but particularly in St. Bernard, where the white majority owned 93 percent of the pre-storm housing.

The post-Katrina orgy of ordinances and moratoriums falls squarely within [the] tradition [of housing discrimination]. But there are some essential differences, beginning with the fact that the post-storm frenzy is fundamentally more: more overt, more excessive, more widespread."

Full Story: New Orleans Redraws its Color Line


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!