Home News Center Louisiana Member Launches Website to Show Families' Ongoing Hardships Post-Katrina

Louisiana Member Launches Website to Show Families' Ongoing Hardships Post-Katrina

September 14, 2015
Zoe Schein



Much has been said about New Orleans’ recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, especially this past August, which marked the 10-year anniversary of the disaster. National news outlets have made much of the changes that have been made to the city in the aftermath of the hurricane, but, says Gina Womack, Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), an NJJN member, much of that coverage paints the city’s recovery with a rosy tint that ignores some of the city’s ongoing hardships.

“We wanted to really look at the story that was being told about New Orleans, especially around resilience,” Womack said. “There’s this idea that the city has recovered, that New Orleans is back in business and everything is great, when in fact, for Black families in New Orleans, it’s still a real struggle.”

To spotlight the ways in which New Orleans’ residents—particularly residents of color—continue to feel Hurricane Katrina’s effects, the Advancement Project and FFLIC put together KatrinaTruth.Org, a website that provides readers with data-based “reality checks” that emphasize New Orleans’ ongoing struggles in areas like affordable housing, access to quality education, criminal justice and mass incarceration, economic inequality and environmental justice.

One of the goals of the KatrinaTruth.Org project, said Womack, was to encourage people to resist simplistic explanations for families’ struggles—including young people’s encounters with the justice system. “Our families aren’t living in issue silos. It’s not that these are bad children or as simple that they’re committing these crimes. In order to solve crime we need to solve poverty, we need to solve homelessness, and we need to talk about racism in a way that will really begin the healing process and get us to moving on. Unless we have that as part of the narrative, it won’t ever really solve anything. Our kids and families have problems that need to be addressed more holistically.”

Most of all, Womack hopes that KatrinaTruth.Org will serve as a reminder that for many Louisiana families, the Katrina crisis is ongoing. “We’re afraid that this issue will disappear after the 10-year anniversary. We hope people will continue to pay attention to the struggles of families, for our communities—not just one struggle, but all of the struggles they continue with.”

Visit KatrinaTruth.Org.

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