When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, about 70% of the city’s homes were damaged. But some neighborhoods at higher elevations stayed safe. 

These areas have now become desirable to buyers – especially as sea levels rise and the risks of extreme weather increase.

As a result, many wealthy – often white – people have moved into historically Black neighborhoods. And longtime residents have been priced out.

Cashauna Hill is with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center. She says the city is working to add affordable housing that would allow displaced residents to return. But it’s often an uphill battle.

“The largely white homeowners and neighbors in those communities are opposing efforts to bring affordable housing to those communities that just a few years ago were majority African American,” she says.

So Hill’s group is speaking out and challenging discriminatory zoning with legal action. 

“I’m hopeful that we will take those necessary steps that will allow people and families to once again have access to the communities in which they’ve traditionally lived and the communities that they built,” she says.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media