'Finding True America': Inequality under Hurricane Katrina
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the coast of Louisiana, U.S. More than 1,800 people died, more than a million were displaced and damage totaled more than $100 billion.
Since the hurricane, the African-American community in New Orleans has been recovering slowly. According to U.S. Census Bureau data and the American Community Survey 2021, poverty rates for Black children in New Orleans are 10 times higher than those for white children.
New Orleans filmmaker Edward Buckles Jr., who was 13 years old during Hurricane Katrina, spent seven years documenting the stories of his peers who survived the storm as children, making them into the documentary Katrina Babies in 2022. It explores the narratives of kids who experienced Hurricane Katrina and the impact of its aftermath on New Orleans youth.
Recalling his experiences during the storm and the recovery in New Orleans, Buckles said he and his peers didn't receive as much aid or mental health counseling as children from white communities did. Many Black youths are still dealing with PTSD and sadness left by the storm. For them, the reconstruction of New Orleans has overlooked the black community. "Hurricane Katrina is the example of racism plaguing America and resource allocation," Buckles said.