Research

The Louisiana State legislature’s firing of 8,500 predominantly Black New Orleans Franklineducators and administrators and subsequent closing of neighborhood schools added insult to injury following Hurricane Katrina. After one year of anthropological field work in the Gentilly and 7th Ward neighborhoods of New Orleans and using archival research, oral histories, participant observation, and geospatial analysis, I discovered that the destruction of traditional public schools has reshaped space and place-making in these multi-generational, predominantly Black areas. I argue that the invasion of charter schools into these neighborhoods facilitate the late capitalist dispossession and speculative property development regimes that work to fracture, constrain, and often obliterate Black social life from a post-Katrina landscape. This project incorporates perspectives from Black Cultural Studies, cultural geography, and cultural anthropology.[1] In my work, I use geospatial technologies and digital humanities to enrich my project, allowing me to keep up with the constant changes that charter schools induce upon New Orleans’ social topography, make my work more accessible to the communities that I work in and to diverse publics, and help me begin a restorative project for the communities affected by Katrina.

[1] My research is largely informed by the works of Frantz Fanon, Katherine McKittrick, Hortense Spillers, Deborah A. Thomas, Clyde Woods, and Sylvia Wynter.

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