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New Orleans and the Hollow Prize Problem: Structural Limits on Black Political Power

January 10, 2022

Mayors in the United States often have more influence on the day-to-day activities of residents within their unique jurisdictions thanany other elected office. While each U.S. president holds significant power as Commander-In-Chief, the primary direct interface mostcitizens have with the U.S. Government is either through its taxing function or by receiving some form of financial benefit such as SocialSecurity or Medicaid. Each governor has wide powers in determining state funding priorities for highways, healthcare, and education,but not all citizens rely on these services to the same degree. Mayors, however, have a say in the provision of the services that residents use every single day. This includes water, sewerage, electricity, sanitation, roads, and drainage, to name a few.1

City of New Orleans Racial Equity Toolkit

December 17, 2021

The city we are today has been shaped by our deep and complex 300-year history. From the first arrival of African Slaves to this region in 1718, our Black community has played an intrinsic role in forging the city structurally, economically, and culturally, and we remain the most Afro-centric city in the United States. New Orleanians are no strangers to tragedy, disruption, and sometimes deliberate actions to disadvantage Black residents and all residents of color.Racial injustice and inequality are pressing issues in our city, especially as it relates to how our residents interact with City government. We have a moral and principled obligation to ensure equal opportunity, economic, and social mobility for our residents of color. The path to achieve this requires us to meet our residents where they are by providing equitable services throughout our daily work in each and every department. 

The State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana 2021 – Adaptability And Racial Equity in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic

December 1, 2021

In June of 2020, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the University of New Orleans (UNO) released The State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana: The Impact of COVID–19. The report examined how our region's nonprofits were responding in the early months of the pandemic. In January and February of 2021, UNO's research team reached back out to nonprofits across our region for updates. We sought answers to two broad sets of questions about adaptability and racial equity in our region's nonprofit sector.OUR QUESTIONSHow have our region's nonprofits adapted to the pandemic, both financially and in terms of how they serve our community? What toll did the pandemic take on nonprofits? Did opportunities emerge from the challenge?What is the state of racial equity in our region's nonprofits, and how do funding opportunities and outcomes differ based on the racial identity of leaders? How did the amplified national conversation around racism impact nonprofits? 

The Benefits of Community-Driven Green Infrastructure

October 13, 2021

Communities across the nation are increasingly turning to green infrastructure solutions as part of a multi-pronged stormwater management strategy. Green infrastructure refers to a suite of installations that mimic natural processes to slow and reduce the stormwater volume flowing into traditional stormwater drainage systems. Every gallon diverted from flowing directly to existing drains eases the pressure on conveyance systems and reduces the severity of urban flooding caused by storm drain backups. New Orleans is especially vulnerable to flooding and stands to benefit in numerous ways from the continued installation of distributed green infrastructure.Water Wise Gulf South (WWGS) in partnership with Greater Tremé Consortium/Water Wise Tremé, Healthy Community Services/Water Wise 7th Ward, and Upper 9th Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association/Water Wise Upper 9th Ward has been installing green infrastructure projects in New Orleans since 2013. The Water Wise model relies on a partnership approach between community-based organizations that strive to reduce repetitive flooding, subsidence, and climate change impacts while also improving water quality. The partnership empowers diverse community members to implement green infrastructure solutions, addressing community concerns through educational and training support as well as community-building events.WWGS supports community-driven green infrastructure solutions that mitigate repetitive flooding and subsidence as well as improving water quality and reducing climate change impacts like sea-level rise. WWGS empowers individuals, neighbors, and communities through training and other events. As of 2020 the neighborhood organizations have conducted workshops, planted over 160 trees, and implemented over 142 green infrastructure projects that have added more than 48,450 gallons of stormwater retention capacity ranging. As the accompanying fact sheet shows, these neighborhood groups have completed other projects since 2020 that store thousands more gallons of stormwater. These projects include rain gardens, concrete removal, French drains, rain barrels, stormwater planter boxes, pervious pavement, and bioswales. Figure 1 shows completed projects and planned green infrastructure installations in these neighborhoods. To interact with this information and view the map in more detail please visit https://arcg.is/1XzC1v0.Earth Economics (EE) analyzed the value of current and future green infrastructure installations by Greater Tremé Consortium, Healthy Community Services, and Upper 9th Ward to ground WWGS's advocacy with data-driven evidence for engagement with the City of New Orleans and prospective funders to increase installations of community-driven biophilic solutions. This report supplements a fact sheet of the analysis by providing additional context and references.

Subsidized Jobs Program Spotlight: CEO Louisiana

September 20, 2021

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) works to reduce recidivism and increase employment among people impacted by the criminal legal system. CEO has branches in 31 cities across 12 states. CEO New Orleans launched in Louisiana in October2019. This program spotlight discusses CEO's subsidized jobs model and its impact and calls for federal investments in subsidized jobs to support jobseekers facing structural barriers to employment. 

Quality Health Care for Louisiana Kids

September 9, 2021

Medicaid and the Louisiana Child Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP) are the most common source of health coverage for low-income women and children in Louisiana - providing vital health care coverage to nearlya million children and mothers. This number has only grown amid theeconomic hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic. The quality of care provided through these programs has long-term implications for child, family and population health. This was true before the pandemic, from which the most-recent data was drawn, and will remain so as Louisiana emerges from the pandemic.The Child Core Set (CCS), developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), offers an annual glimpse into the quality of care provided to Medicaid and LaCHIP families across five care categories: Primary Care Access and Preventative Care, Maternal and Perinatal Health, Care of Acute and Chronic Conditions, Behavioral Health Care and Dental and Oral Health Services. Reporting is voluntary until 2024 when it becomes mandatory for all states.

Democracy Defended: Findings from the 2020 Election

September 2, 2021

Despite an unprecedented series of challenges—a global pandemic, extreme weather, rampant misinformation, voter intimidation, and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters of color—Black voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to have their voices heard in one of our nation's most important election years.But let's be clear. The election did not go smoothly. Record turnout nationally and in many states was only possible thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of many non-profit organizations and many thousands of individuals and volunteers, as well as the enormous sums of money spent on election security and countering misinformation.

Start Strong: The Case for Priority Investment in Louisiana Early Childhood Programs

August 4, 2021

No more excuses, Louisiana. The evidence and opportunity are clear. Research has shown that the quality of care and education during children's early years will influence their life outcomes as well as the condition of the society and workplaces of their generation. Unfortunately, quality early care and education is out of reach for many low-income families. About 173,000 children age birth to 3 who are considered in-need in Louisiana are unable to access this critical resource.

Overcoming the Unprecedented: Southern Voters’ Battle Against Voter Suppression, Intimidation, and a Virus

March 16, 2021

This report describes the 2020 elections in five Southern states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi—with a particular emphasis on election administration problems; voter suppression; the efforts of voting rights organizations to mobilize voters and protect their votes; and the actions of extremists who sought to intimidate voters and spread disinformation.As this report shows, it is abundantly clear that our electoral system needs repair. Numerous states have erected new barriers to voting since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 gutted a critical component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Many also cling to Jim Crow-era laws, such as felony disenfranchisement, that were specifically designed to suppress the Black vote—or they refuse to enact commonsense changes that would make voting easier and accessible to all citizens. At the same time, some states maintain archaic administrative systems that are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of voters today and ensure fair elections.This report provides a blueprint for reforming the electoral system. The Biden administration and Congress must act quickly to shore up the stability of the electoral process and put our democracy on a firmer footing. Passage of federal laws, including those that strengthen the Voting Rights Act, are necessary steps forward on the path to reform—toward ensuring that all Americans have easy and equal access to the ballot box.

Struggling to Recover: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children: Survey Findings from September 21 - October 6, 2020

January 1, 2021

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC), with partners, is conducting a series of surveys on the impact of the COVID-10 pandemic on child care in Louisiana. The first surveys focused on child care providers and captured how child care fared through the initial closure and subsequent reopening of the state.

Black Funding Denied: Community Foundation Support for Black Communities

August 1, 2020

In light of the national uprising sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and building on other recent tragic movement moments going back to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri), NCRP is analyzing grantmaking by community foundations across the country to find out exactly how much they are – or are not – investing in Black communities.We started by looking at the latest available grantmaking data (2016-2018) of 25 community foundations (CFs) – from Los Angeles to New Orleans to New York City to St. Paul. These foundations represent a cross section of some of the country's largest community foundations as well as foundations in communities where NCRP has Black-led nonprofit allies.

Police and Data Collection: Why Louisiana Needs Reform

June 17, 2020

If Louisiana were a country, it would have the second-highest incarceration rate in the world, behind only Oklahoma. In 2017, the state Legislature enacted long-overdue sentencing reforms to reduce the number of people in prison. Though laudable and necessary, the 2017 legislation is expected to reduce Louisiana's prison population by at most 10percent. It is therefore only the first of many reforms that are needed to shrink Louisiana's bloated prisons.Sentencing occurs at the end of the criminal justice process, after the accused individual has been apprehended and adjudicated. Policing occurs at the beginning of the process. An officer's decision of whom to stop, cite, and arrestis the gateway to the rest of the system.Yet Louisianans know shockingly little about police activities in the state – even when compared to other parts of the criminal justice system. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, for example, publishes quarterly updates on all prisoners placed under its jurisdiction, including their sex, race, convictions, and information about their physical and mental health.Without better data, Louisiana will not be able to evaluate whether or how its law enforcement officers contribute to the state's astronomical incarceration rate and what reforms should be prioritized. Police will not be able to improve their performance or refute criticisms that their practices unfairly target certain groups or that misconduct persists across an entire department. And communities will remain in the dark about how public servants who are licensed to use force carry out their duties.