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New Orleans gentrification report: Many formerly black neighborhoods are now ‘majority-white’

HANO released a report in response to a HUD affordable housing mandate

an aerial shot of New Orleans captured by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center NASA

The Advocate reports the Housing Authority of New Orleans released a plan to combat segregation and gentrification in New Orleans, which have both become exacerbated in the 11 years since Hurricane Katrina. The plan, which HANO is submitting to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of a federal mandate, also includes findings on segregation and gentrification in New Orleans post-Katrina.

According to the report, neighborhoods like New Orleans East and Gentilly on lower ground that had high numbers of black residents before the storm had even higher numbers of black residents after (however, Gentilly is now increasingly a destination for young white families).

However, previously black neighborhoods on higher ground—including Bywater, parts of Treme, St. Roch, and St. Claude—"are now majority-white or moving in that direction," according to the report.

The report says the highly segregated or "mostly white" neighborhoods of New Orleans are the French Quarter, Central Business District, the Lower Garden District "and other Uptown neighborhoods," City Park, Algiers Point, and Lakeview.

The plan is in response to a 2015 mandate by HUD that seeks to clarify the requirements of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 for cities receiving HUD funding.

In short, the mandate requires cities "to try to make wealthy neighborhoods more diverse and to pump more money into poor ones"; all cities receiving HUD funds will eventually have to comply with the mandate, but New Orleans is among the first dozen or so cities to attempt to address the issue.

Remedies for gentrification in New Orleans mentioned in the report include recent affordable housing efforts announced by the city, including altering criminal background checks to make them more transparent and to reduce barriers for ex-offenders to receiving public housing, reforming zoning laws to ensure low-income residents aren’t isolated to specific areas, and improving public transportation.