Our Work

In a city that grieves like no other, pandemic restrictions compound loss of Black culture bearers

With its traditional jazz funerals, second lines and Black Masking Mardi Gras Indian ceremonies, New Orleans is a city that knows how to pay tribute to its dead. Cultural societies incorporate tributes to their members who have passed away into their Carnival season parades, but as the pandemic stretched into Mardi Gras 2021, clubs have had to confront the fact that some of those tributes may not happen until 2022.

Pandemic Underscores Old Tension Between The City And The People Of New Orleans Over Who Mardi Gras Is For

The official line from the city has been that the holiday is “not canceled,” “just different” and Mayor LaToya Cantrell has actively welcomed visitors. At the same time, the city has instructed locals to celebrate the season at home with their immediate families. Many see the city’s messaging as evidence of dangerous deference to tourists. This tension predates the pandemic and isn’t unique to Mardi Gras, but the collision of the two in 2021 has raised the stakes and an outcry.

It’s not just hair: New Orleans CROWN Act is a first for the deep south but, advocates hope, just the beginning

At its last meeting in 2020, New Orleans City Council passed the C.R.O.W.N. Act Ordinance, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination. “Black women are not a monolith, but our hair and the experiences, the prejudice that we experience, is a unified issue, regardless of age, demographics, geography [and] socioeconomic status.”

Black advocates take different views on what Louisiana’s anti-abortion amendment means for inequity

In 2016, Black women received 61 percent of all abortions provided in Louisiana. While Black advocates on both sides of the abortion debate say they consider systemic racism and the deep-rooted socio-economic differences that may lead Black women to choose abortion more than white women, they approached these societal problems in fundamentally different ways.

Giveaways created a poverty sinkhole. Then the virus hit.

Property tax giveaways to oil companies and entrenched poverty around Louisiana refineries help tell the story of race and disease in an American energy hub at a time when the coronavirus is surging across the South. The virus's effect on oil-rich Louisiana is the story of race, poverty and disease. In Shreveport, where some of the ugliest episodes of Jim Crow-era violence and redlining played out, COVID-19 also tells a story of sustained community disinvestment.