Dr. Richard Turner
Participation year
Project title

New Orleans: Culture of Poverty or a Culture of Resistance


The Black Culture of New Orleans and the negative media coverage and representation that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005 are the subjects of this research. I will analyze the representation by many media and news organizations that perpetuated stereotypes of New Orleans as a Black criminal “culture of poverty”. The purpose of this project is to understand Black New Orleans in a clearer cultural context. The analysis shows that although there are some impoverished Black communities with individuals who participate in crime, New Orleans cannot be defined culturally as a criminal “culture of poverty”. Instead, Black culture in New Orleans is a diverse culture with a history of political and cultural resistance against systemic racism and White Americanization, which is not understood by outsiders. It is expressed through religion, music, parades, performances, and community organizations which are symbolically rooted in and shaped by African Traditions. For this project, I researched the media coverage following Hurricane Katrina; completed a literature review on the culture of Black New Orleans; viewed the HBO series Treme’; Spike Lee’s, When the Levees Broke; and other documentary films of Black New Orleans.

Kenneth  Hodges
Beloit College