A Tale of Two Cities: In New Orleans, Perceptions of Recovery 'Starkly Divided' Along Racial Lines

Ten years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged southern Louisiana, black and white residents of New Orleans are “starkly divided” in their perception of the state’s recovery, according to new research published on Monday.

A survey (pdf) conducted by the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at Louisiana State University found that nearly 60 percent of the black residents surveyed said Louisiana has “mostly not recovered,” compared with 78 percent of white residents who said the state has “mostly recovered.”

This divide was felt across a range of topics, including the local economy, public schools, hurricane and flood protection, and the overall quality of life in their communities.

And among those who returned to New Orleans after Katrina, African-Americans—particularly women—faced the most difficulty getting back into their homes. One year after the storm, 70 percent of white residents were able to return their homes, while only 42 percent of African-Americans could do so.

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