There have been countless Katrina stories about New Orleans describing it as a “tale of two cities,” one black and one white. This assumes that the experiences of black men and women during the disaster the same—not to mention those of the city’s Latino, Vietnamese, Creole, and LGTBQ populations. This is, of course, not the case, especially when closely examining the lives of black women, and those residing in public housing in particular. Their experiences “were not taken into consideration when developing a plan for post-Katrina recovery,” according to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research .
Researchers interviewed 184 black women who lived in four of the largest public housing projects when Katrina hit to gather their perspectives on how the recovery went. One of the myths dispelled in the report is that black women didn’t return to the city because they didn’t want to. Sure, there were some that found better lives in the cities they evacuated to, the report acknowledges, but most of the women interviewed wanted to come home.