History News Network
A Review of Chocolate Cities: the Black Map of American Life by Marcus A. Hunter & Zandria F. Robinson, University of California Press. Chocolate Cities is an ode to agency. A work of truth-telling without polemics, this book almost literally breaks new ground, revising our most basic ideas of US geography while questioning the truth claims of social science itself.
In an echo of national worker's rights movements such as Fight for $15 and OUR Walmart, New Orleans hospitality workers are coming together in an attempt to rearrange the building blocks of their industry. Both on their own and with the support of a union, workers are becoming their own advocates, in an effort to — as Marlene Patrick-Cooper, the local organizing director for the UNITE HERE union, often says — "turn poverty jobs into middle-class jobs."
New Orleans is better for being rid of the monuments that commemorated the mythology and actual history of slavery and segregation. But elites still govern. The politics of representation dovetails with the reigning discourse of diversity and a local political economy based on marketing "cultural authenticity. To the extent that antiracism centers of pursuit of recognition rather than altering patterns of distribution it will remain trapped in neoliberal inequakity.
The back and forth between Democrats and White Supremacists on one hand and Republicans and Free Blacks on the other hand had involved military and paramilitary battles, individual homicides, massive voter intimidation efforts, and so on. The Colfax Massacre was a key point in that series of events. The Battle of Liberty Place was a continuation.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu powerfully explains why the Confederate statues had to go.
The Times Picayune
The language of social justice has been used to sell intensified neoliberalism in post-Katrina New Orleans. On the tenth anniversary of the failure of the federally maintained levees, the keynote speaker at the annual Rising Tide Conference on the Future of New Orleans was DeRay Mckesson, a standard-bearer for Teach For America and the New Teacher Project — education “reform” organizations that played a crucial role in the destruction of the black middle class.
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, the author looks at the pain index for those who were left behind. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter now and despite the tens of billions poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal. While not all the numbers are bad, they do illustrate who has benefited and who continues to suffer 10 years after Katrina.
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The Times Picayune
UNITE HERE and the Teamsters have been quietly negotiating a contract with Harrah's Hotel and Casino in New Orleans for the last six months that, when inked, would double the size of organized labor's tiny footprint in the New Orleans tourism economy.