Post-Katrina, blacks have been left out of recovery programs

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New Orleans Recovery Entrenches Inequality Critics Say


Four days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Kanye West stunned TV producers and people across the country when he accused President George W. Bush of not caring about black people during a live telethon supporting recovery efforts.

Regardless of the president's intentions, ten years later the evidence suggests that black communities have not received an equitable portion of the recovery resources provided to the Gulf Coast region, and have suffered from disproportionate support from federal, state and local governments.

SEE MORE: Special coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

In 2010, the Center for Social Inclusion issued a report on Gulf Coast recovery programs, warning "many of these dollars have supported projects that have done little to advance recovery for communities of color and poor communities affected by the storm." The report found while over $69 billion in federal aid had been distributed to the region, federal authorities allowed states to divert resources away from the hardest hit communities, and exclude vulnerable populations from the decision-making process.

See the damage in the lower ninth ward:

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Katrina 10 year: Ninth Ward damage
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Post-Katrina, blacks have been left out of recovery programs
In this Aug. 30, 2005 file photo, floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina cover the lower ninth ward, foreground, and other parts of New Orleans, a day after the storm passed through the city. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 29: A man holds himself on his porch in Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005 after hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm. Much of New Orleans was flooded after levies broke and water rushed into the city. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: Partially-submerged cars and houses make for a surreal sight in the flooded Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, La. Parts of the low-lying district were swallowed up by 20 feet of water when Hurricane Katrina slammed the city last week. Large swaths of New Orleans still remain under several feet of filthy water, and federal officials say it could take months to drain it. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: Lonzo Cutler, 34, who doesn't want to leave his pit bull behind, cradles the dog in front of his flooded home in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, La., as the rest of his family (in background) waits for rescuers to help them escape the barely-habitable area. As the Big Easy evacuates, already traumatized victims of Hurricane Katrina are making a choice: Head for safety or stay behind with a beloved pet. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 29: Swat police officer Cris Mandry navigates a rescue boat through a flooded alley looking for survivors in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm, forcing levies to brake and flooding much of New Orleans. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 29: An unidentified woman makes her way through a hole in the roof of a flooded house in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm, forcing levies to brake and flooding much of New Orleans. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 29: Swat police officers rescue a unidentified person from the flooded Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm, forcing levies to brake and flooding much of New Orleans. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 29: Unidentified people just rescued from the Lower Ninth Ward recuperate on the St. Cloud bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina slammed Louisiana as a category 4 storm, breaking levies and flooding much of New Orleans. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)
Rescuers carry flood victims in boats to a nearby interstate onramp in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., Monday, Sept. 5, 2005. Water is still high in the area and some rescuers have decided not bring food and water to those who are determined to stay behind because they want them to leave. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Flood victims sit on an Interstate-10 on ramp near the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., Monday, Sept. 5, 2005. Water is still high in the area and some rescuers have decided not to bring food and water to those who are determined to stay behind because they want them to leave. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2002: The front porch is all that remains of a lower Ninth Ward house in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Linda Rosier/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
John Ebanks sits on the porch of his home in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., Monday, Sept. 5, 2005. Ebanks is refusing to leave his home, despite the fact that authorities say that the water will remain in the besieged city for 3-6 months. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Stephen Smith and Terry Panquerne, rear, push a small boat and a bicycle through floodwaters in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, La., Monday, Sept. 5, 2005. The two were going through the neighborhood feeding their friends animals. Some rescuers have decided to quit taking food and water to those who have chosen to stay in an effort to force them out. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Picola Brown, a resident of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans talks with a member of the Army's 82nd Airborne after being evacuated from her flooded home on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005. The mayor has ordered all 10,000 or so residents still in this ruined city evacuated. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 04: A man walks through brackish water as he makes his way through the poor Ninth Ward neighborhood September 4, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina dealt New Orleans a devastating blow when it came ashore August 29, flooding the city and causing a death toll that officials fear will be in the thousands. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 08: Holdout Howard Gillett is reflected in a mirror on his front porch in the heavily damaged ninth ward in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina September 8, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Gillett and his family intend to stay at their home despite orders to evacuate. Authorities have said they are planning forcible evacuations of residents who refuse to leave. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The streets of New Orleans Ninth Ward are still fllooded more than a week after Hurricane Katrina caused numerous levee breaks, Friday, September 9, 2005. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 12: US Army National Guard soldiers from Oregon gather on a street corner while conducting search operations September 11, 2005 in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rescue efforts and clean up continue in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina two weeks after the deadly storm hit. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 12: A military helicopter flies September 12, 2005 over Harold Irvin, Sr., who is staying with his son Glen after his house in New Orleans' 9th Ward was covered by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Both Irvin and his son refuse to leave their home, despite pressure from police. (Photo by Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 5: Paul Garrett, 56, and his neighbor's dog, Rusty, whom he rescued during Hurricane Katrina, walk the streets of the 9th ward on their way home. 'Everybody left,' said Garrett, a former longshoreman. 'I stayed.' Garrett said he stayed to help the neighborhood's elderly and sick. 'Everybody can't leave,' he said. 'I'm lookin' [sic] out for people who can't help themselves. Especially the older people. See, I'm just a 'junior citizen.' They're 'senior citizens',' he continued. 'You got a lot of people in this city who don't care for each other. I feel like we should pull together now instead of apart. It's gotten worse. It's not right,' he said. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A tattered US flag waves on a pole in the devastated Ninth ward of New Orleans, Louisiana 21 September 2005, most of the neighborhood was flooded and destroyed by the water following Hurricane Katrina. Authorities have finished removing bodies from New Orleans flood waters, but the search for the dead goes on inside homes, Mayor Ray Nagin said Wednesday. The death toll from Hurricane Katrina rose above 1,000 Wednesday as 63 more bodies have been recovered in Louisiana, authorities said. AFP PHOTO/Menahem KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: A film crew documents the levee breech along the industrial canal near Arabi, Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina's landing in New Orleans. This breech caused massive flooding and destruction of homes in the lower 9th Ward. Much of this flooding had drained by Friday, September 16, 2005. (Photo by Scott Saltzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 11: A Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) marks a building with spray paint after searching for survivors September 11, 2005 in the Ninth Ward district of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rescue efforts and clean up continue in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina fourteen days after the deadly storm hit. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 11: Two dogs run past a house marked with a note, 'Dead Body Inside' September 11, 2005 in the Ninth Ward district of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rescue efforts and clean up continue in the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina fourteen days after the deadly storm hit. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 16: A mix of oil and water and sewerage still lingers in areas of the Ninth Ward on September 16, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The hurricane swept though the area 19 days ago and left much of the city under water and without power. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 16: A car is covered in mud, debris and sewerage left by Hurricane Katrina in the Ninth Ward on September 16, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The hurricane swept though the area 19 days ago and left much of the city under water and without power. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans, UNITED STATES: A thick layer of mud covers the streets of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans after the water receded 18 September 2005, The area was one of the most severely damaged when hurricane Katrina hit the city three weeks ago. AFP PHOTO/Omar TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
New Orleans, UNITED STATES: A boat reamins in front of a house in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans 18 September 2005, The area was one of the most severely damaged when Hurricane Katrina hit the city three weeks ago. AFP PHOTO/Omar TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 23: Water flows through a breach in the repaired Inner Harbor Canal towards the Ninth Ward District September 23, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rain and wind has started to hit New Orleans as Hurricane Rita passes through the Gulf of Mexico just over three weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 23: A toilet sits in water coming from a breach in the repaired Inner Harbor Canal as water flows towards houses in the Ninth Ward District September 23, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rain and wind has started to hit New Orleans as Hurricane Rita passes through the Gulf of Mexico just over three weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Areas of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans are still flooded after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 26 September 2005. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is allowing business owners back into the Central Business District (CBD) starting 26 September 2005. The CBD was not flooded by either hurricane. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES: Local artist Jeffery Holmes looks out from the balcony of his home (center in background) of a part of his 'toxic art' exhibition on the median of the roadway in front of his home in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, 27 September 2005. The 'toxic art' consists of artworks from his home by himself and his wife, as well as everyday items from their home, all of which were ruined by the floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES: Palazzolo Simmons, 49, looks out over his home neighborhood for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in the mostly poor and black Lower Ninth Ward section of New Orleans, 02 October 2005. Simmons, who said his home was destroyed and would never come back, was riding with his neighbors from the Ninth Ward on a customized monster truck brought to the city by a private citizen from Florida to let the local population get a look in the area still unpassable to regular cars. While New Orleanians in more upscale neighborhoods are being urged to return home, their counterparts from the poorest areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina are forced to sneak past police checkpoints to see for the first time the renmants of their life. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 11: Lorriane Macell on her porch in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, Louisiana on November 11, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.(Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 21: Zadie Smith rests while cleaning her home in the heavily damaged Ninth Ward November 21, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Smith is attempting clean up her home because she says she cannot afford to pay workers to clean it. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 24: A car adorned with a toy reindeer, Christmas lights and a spray-painted 'Merry Christmas' message is seen in the heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward December 24, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, the worst-hit parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas are still uninhabitable. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 24: A destroyed house is seen in the heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward December 24, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nearly four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, the worst-hit parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas are still uninhabitable. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 7: A home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina is seen on January 7, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The New Orleans City council has agreed to wait two more weeks before starting to tear down damaged homes as a federal judge decides if he will hear a challenge from local community activists. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 10: Keith Jackson takes a picture of the rubble surrounding the remains of his aunt's home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana on January 10, 2006. The home was destroyed when the Industrial Canal levee was breeched and floodwaters inundated the neighborhood, during Hurricane Katrina, in August 2005. (Photo by Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 20: Flood damaged homes are lit by car headlights after dark in the Lower Ninth Ward February 20, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The hurricane-ravaged Ninth Ward mostly still does not have power, and majority of the homes are uninhabitable as the city begins celebrating Mardi Gras. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour -- whose state was supposed to use 50 percent of a Community Development Block Grant to assist low-income people -- secured a waiver from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to prioritize compensation for middle- and higher-income residents. Casinos were built on the Mississippi shoreline, where a staggering 37 percent of the residents are poor.

The local government in New Orleans spread resources unevenly too. In flood ravaged areas such as the poor, black Ninth Ward, recovery efforts were delayed by two to four years because the city planned to redline certain areas, and turn other to lagoons and abandon them as livable spaces. And the Louisiana legislature took over the New Orleans school district and fired all 7,500 employees–including 4,600 teachers–who were mostly African American in this predominantly black school system. The teaching profession was a staple of New Orleans' back middle class. According to data from Tulane University,the percentage of black teachers fell from 71 percent in 2005 to under 50 percent in 2014.

RELATED: Audit says Katrina aid may have been misspent

Further, white decision-makers kept poor black people from returning by enacting discriminatory ordinances to "clean up" public housing and remake the city in a whiter image. Pre-fabricated housing and multi-family dwellings were restricted, and the cost of single-family residences was increased.

Moreover, Jefferson Parish banned new low-income housing developments, and St. Bernard Parish passed a Jim Crow-style "blood relative ordnance" which restricted rentals by landlords to their own relatives, citing the "need to maintain the integrity and stability of established neighborhoods." The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center sued St. Bernard Parish, which paid a $1.8 million settlement.

RELATED: Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, another reminder #BlackLivesMatter

According to a 2006 study from the National Fair Housing Alliance, black Katrina evacuees experienced a 66 percent racial discrimination rate, with higher rent prices and security deposits than whites.

A study from the Institute For Women's Policy Research found black women who were displaced by the demolition of public housing were not taken into account when government formulated disaster relief efforts. Although public officials claimed that these low-income women and their families did not want to return to New Orleans after the disaster, they did, yet lacked the necessary resources and support. Further, a housing voucher system proved far more expensive for low-income people than public housing. In New Orleans, there are 3,221 fewer low-income apartment houses today than in 2005, and most new units are unaffordable to those who lived in public housing pre-Katrina.

RELATED: Racial disparities remain in New Orleans 10 years after Katrina

In addition, some federal recovery programs showed racial bias. For example, the $10 billion Road Home program, which was to pay up to $150,000 to homeowners with flood damage, was based not on the cost of the repairs, but the appraised value of the property. This meant blacks were shortchanged, as homes in white areas were worth far more than comparable homes in black areas.

Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove
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