Call for IDeas Lens



“Cities are equitable when all residents—regardless of their race/ethnicity, nativity, income, neighborhood of residence, or other characteristics—are fully able to participate in the city’s economic vitality, contribute to the city’s readiness for the future, and connect to the city’s assets and resources....  Equitable cities possess economic vitality, prepare for the future and are places of connection.” (National Equity Atlas, 2017)

Claiborne Avenue before and after Interstate 10.
Left: North Claiborne Ave., showing oaks. Photograph by Joseph C. Davi. Right: Interstate 10 from Orleans Avenue to Franklin Avenue. Unknown photographer. Street photograph collection, City Archive, New Orleans Public Library.



Equity: the Prophetic Future and Best Chance for New Orleans 

By Carol BEbelle

Carol Bebelle New Orleans native, co-founder and executive director of Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and advocate for the primal role of culture in establishing a quality life in urban environments especially New Orleans.

Read Carol Bebelle's Equity: the Prophetic Future and Best Chance for New Orleans 


“New Orleans, Louisiana, is already a majority people-of-color city, and communities of color will continue to drive growth and change into the foreseeable future. The city’s diversity can be a tremendous economic asset if people of color are fully included as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
However, while the city’s economy is showing signs of resurgence after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, rising inequality, stagnant wages, and persistent racial inequities place its long-term economic future at risk. Equitable growth is the path to sustained economic prosperity in New Orleans. The region’s economy could have been $18 billion stronger in 2014 if its racial gaps in income had been closed: a 24 percent increase. By continuing to embed an equity approach throughout city government and advancing policy strategies to grow good jobs, build healthy communities of opportunity, prevent displacement, and ensure just policing and court systems, New Orleans can put all residents on the path toward reaching their full potential, and secure a bright future for the city and region.” (National Equity Atlas, 2017)
“Through pestilence, hurricanes, and conflagrations the people continued to sing. They sang through the long oppressive years of conquering the swampland and fortifying the town against the ever threatening Mississippi. They are singing today. An irrepressible joie de vivre maintains the unbroken thread of music through the air. Yet, on occasion, if you ask an overburdened citizen why he is singing so gaily, he will give the time-honored reason, “Why to keep from crying, of course!” —Lura Robinson, It’s An Old New Orleans Custom, 1948
“Louisiana’s ability to prepare for and recover from natural disasters and other disruptive events is complicated by longstanding vulnerabilities such as widespread entrenched poverty and high rates of economic, racial, and gender disparity. Our small towns and cities alike suffer from high crime rates and extremely high rates of incarceration. As was so painfully evidenced by the violent events and civil unrest in 2016, persistent racial divisions perpetuate distrust and hamper our ability to work together toward a shared vision for the future.” (Center for Planning Excellence)

More Information

Equity New Orleans: The Road to Equitable Government Equity New Orleans sought to identify how city government could begin to understand and address equity in City of New Orleans in a data-driven, strategic manner to identify the best and most immediate opportunities for the City to demonstrate equity in policies, programs and service delivery.

 “What is Equity?” City of New Orleans

Reclaiming Recovery: Ensuring the New New Orleans Benefits All Residents through Equitable Growth”, Kalima Rose, Policy Link

“Here’s a Super Helpful Guide to Equitable City Growth”, Oscar Perry Abello, Next City

“An Equity Profile for New Orleans”Policy Link and W.K. Kellogg Foundation

 “The Monster': Claiborne Avenue Before And After The Interstate”, Laine Kaplan-Levenson, WWNO Public Radio

 “Why is south Louisiana still racially segregated?  How did we get here?  Why are we still here?”, Video explaining how political, social and economic conditions keep the south racially segregated, Louisiana Public Broadcasting

 In with Inclusivity, Out with Exclusivity: Building Equitable Cities, Urban Land Institute