Race And Class In Katrina's Aftermath

Student Government President, Xavier University

"This is my senior year so I'm going into my fourth year at Xavier and with any city, each city has their own problems. When I first got back we were cleaning up a local neighborhood and a local official made a comment, why are ya'll cleaning this up? It's a predominately African American low income area so what was going through my head was why he wanted to know why we're cleaning this up, like why are you cleaning this area up when nobody is living here. They weren't making progress, so we continued to clean and making progress in the city ourselves. I don't think it's one person in particular who you can blame. I do think the city is a very diverse city. New Orleans is a melting pot of different cultures and everyone gets along pretty well. The city is making great progress since the hurricane."

"The university is the hub of our community and New Orleans has several universities: Tulane, Loyola, Xavier, Dillard, SUNO, UNO, all these different universities and different communities throughout the city and when they came back they brought back a large amount of students plus faculty plus everybody who has to help operate these universities and that is what in my opinion brought the city back because when they came to these different communities, they brought the life back into it even though the area around it wasn't coming together. When Xavier came back on campus the local areas started to come back to life, people started to move back, progress was really being made. So in my opinion the universities are what's going to help bring people back because people are waiting to see what's really going on with education, can my child get educated here?"

"I don't think it's so much an issue of race, it's an issue of social classes. There can be two races, but the one who has money or has a good job may not be discriminated against as much as the poor so I think it's more an issue of class than race that's going on in New Orleans. I don't think you can pinpoint one person or one organization, like FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security or any political organization that you can pinpoint and say they're leading the way in the problem of race and class.

Post Katrina, a lot of different races, the Hispanic race is becoming very prevalent in New Orleans and there's a lot of different types of races that are coming in and they're working and there's no one particular to blame it's just we're here and we're making it work and the problems that are occurring in race and class, there's no surface level, they're a lot deeper into people's attitude."

"I think it starts with each person. Each person needs to open their mind up to different individuals status as well as social status, as well as what their ethnicity is, especially the people who lead large institutions and lead government agencies. Some people have a problem with the Hispanic population coming in and taking jobs in New Orleans well if people will understand why they're coming, and you're not taking that job, then it's okay for somebody else to come in. Become more open minded then I think we'll all be better along and more productive people.

I do believe that minorities need to be assisted in coming back. A lot of minority businesses, I would say zero to some, have returned because one they haven't received funding, two they weren't financially able to come back to New Orleans. So in assisting more minority businesses, I would like to see the government take a more active role in that and helping more minority businesses return to New Orleans."

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