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The Significance of Race: Legislative Racial Discrimination in Louisiana 1803-1865

This article provides a survey of racially discriminatory legislation in Louisiana from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through the end of the Civil War in 1865.3 It reveals but a portion of the state history of official racial discrimination in that period. Court decisions, acts of local government, societal custom and culture must also be viewed to create a more complete picture.4
The historical period covered in this article reflects several phases of the development of Louisiana law. The first is the territorial period from 1803, when the Louisiana Purchase was concluded, through 1812, when Louisiana became a state. During this time, the legislative acts are those of the territorial legislature. The second is the period from statehood in 1812 through the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. The period from reconstruction to the 1970s will be addressed in a subsequent article.
As a result of the laws surveyed here, tens of thousands of people were held in slavery with the full support of the legislature *147 and its statutes. Free blacks were relegated to second class citizenship and kept few in number by other legislative acts.
While this review of legislative acts illustrates only a portion of the total picture of racial discrimination to which citizens of color were subjected, it does show the solemn legislative will determined to keep Louisiana’s citizens of color, free and unfree, as powerless and enslaved as possible.racial-discrimination-louisiana-1803-1865

Know Your Rights: Immigrants Affected by Federally Declared Disasters

NOWCRJ KYR Immigration and disaster relief (2)

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Complaint Affidavit

Affidavit Andrea Burton 8-18-16

Andrea Burton Federal Civil Rights Action Challenging the Judge who Jailed her for wearing a Black Lives Matter pin

USDC Complaint 8-18-16

Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers: Race and Class Gap Widening

 

By Bill Quigley.  Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans.

Summary.  Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago.  Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015.  Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community.  Child poverty is up, double the national average.   The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country.  The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening.   Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help.   Here are the numbers.

35           The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority reported that 62 percent of pre-Katrina service has been restored.  But Ride New Orleans, a transit rider organization, says streetcar rides targeted at tourists are fully restored but bus service for regular people is way down, still only at 35 percent of what it was before Katrina.   That may explain why there has been a big dip in the number of people using public transportation in New Orleans, down from 13 percent in 2000 to 9 percent now.

44           Over two of every five children in New Orleans lives in poverty about double the national rate.   The current rate of 44 percent is up 3 percentage points from 1999 and up 12 points from 2007.   Overall, there are 50,000 fewer children under the age of 18 living in New Orleans than there were in 2000.  In 2000 there were 129,408 and the latest numbers have dropped to 79,432 according to the Census figures reported by The Data Center.

50           Since Hurricane Katrina, home values have risen 54 percent and rent is up 50 percent. The annual household income needed to afford rent in New Orleans is $38,000, but 71 percent of workers earn on average $35,000. The average yearly income for service workers is $23,000 and only $10,000 for musicians. New Orleans has only 47 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income residents. Thirty-seven percent of households in the city are paying half of their income for housing, which is much higher than recommended.   36 percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, up from 24 percent in 2004.   The New Orleans metro area ranks second in the top ten worst metro areas for cash strapped renters, according to the Make Room Initiative.   Government leaders bulldozed over 3000 apartments of occupied public housing right after Katrina but now say there is a critical immediate need for at least 5000 affordable low income apartments.

93           Ninety three percent of New Orleans’ 48,000 public school students are in charter schools, the highest percentage in the US.   Before Katrina, there were over 65,000 students enrolled in New Orleans public schools, less than 1 percent in charter schools.  There are now 44 governing bodies for public schools in New Orleans.   There are seven types of charter schools in Louisiana.  The public schools are 87 percent African American.  Widespread charter school problems for students with disabilities are getting a little bit better according to a federal court monitor report.   The public has very mixed feelings about the system reflected in the most recent poll which shows 43 percent of whites think the schools are getting better compared to 31 percent of African Americans, while 23 percent of African-Americans thought schools were getting worse, in contrast to 15 percent of whites.

2,000     Black median income in New Orleans rose from $23,000 in 2005 to $25,000 eight years later while white median income rose by $11,000 from $49,000 to $60,000 during the same time.

6,811     White population of New Orleans is down from 128,871 in 2000 to 122,060 in 2015 according to The Data Center.

7,023     Hispanic population in New Orleans grew from 14,826 in 2000 to 21,849 in 2015.   There has been significant growth in the Hispanic population in metro New Orleans area from 58,545 in 2000 to 109,553 in 2015 mostly in Jefferson Parish.

64,000   Over 64,000 working women in New Orleans earn less than $17,500 per year.   One source of good jobs, working for the school board, was eliminated when 7500 employees were terminated right after Katrina.

95,057   The population of the City of New Orleans is 95,057 less in 2015 when it was 389,617 compared to 2000 when it was 484,674, according to the Data Center.

95,625   There are 95,625 fewer African Americans living in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) now than in the 2000 Census, according to Census figures reported by The Data Center.   The percentage of New Orleans that is African American has dropped from 66 percent to 58 percent.  Overall African American population in New Orleans dropped from 323,000 in 2000 to 227,000 in 2015.   Black residents of New Orleans continue to be unfairly and disproportionately stopped and searched by police and also more likely to be arrested for marijuana use than other residents.  That situation is even worse for other New Orleans metro residents as Gretna Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River, was recently cited as the arrest capital of the entire nation.

2,800,000             The US Department of Justice reported Louisiana has 2.8 million people in its criminal database.  There are 4.6 million people in Louisiana.

Last        Louisiana continues to rank dead last in poverty, racial disparities and exclusion of immigrants.  But New Orleans has plenty of wealthy people, in fact Bloomberg ranked New Orleans the worst in the entire country in income inequality.   Louisiana also ranks last in national rankings of the quality and safety of school systems.  Louisiana incarcerates more of its citizens than any of the other 50 states at a rate double the national average.  And Louisiana has the highest healthcare costs because of high rates of premature deaths, diabetes, and obesity.  In a welcome but too rare piece of good health news, Louisiana’s new Governor expanded Medicaid coverage and enrolled 250,000 additional people in the health care program in July 2016.

76 Billion dollars came to Louisiana because of Katrina.  This information makes it clear who did NOT get the money.

 

Special thanks to The Data Center a terrific source of information showing how the community is doing.

 

Called From Within: Harriet Bouslog

Called from Within- Early Women Lawyers of Hawaii

This is the chapter written by Professor Mari Matsuda

Report by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

Media Advisory for Monday July 11, 2016

Contact: Tracie Washington, tracie@louisianajusticeinstitute.org504-478-7009

 

Louisiana Police Violently Violate Constitutional Rights of Civilians Gathering Peacefully to Protest the Murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge

 

“WE WANTED TO BE SURE THAT PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO ENGAGE IN FIRST AMENDMENT ACTIVITY AND WERE INSTEAD MET BY AGGRESSIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT”

 

On Sunday thousands of protestors gathered in Baton Rouge to peacefully protest the killing of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge Parish Police Department. The large protests followed days of building local mobilization.

Between Friday and Sunday, more than 150 non-violent protesters were arrested, and dozens documented incidents of civil and constitutional violations including excessive use of force and unlawful infringement on First Amendment rights.  “Over the past few days, law enforcement in Baton Rouge have escalated every interaction with the public civilian population, creating a more dangerous environment for everyone,” says May Nguyen, Secretary of the National Lawyers Guild Louisiana Chapter.

On Saturday afternoon, following a permitted peaceful protest, protesters were met by more than 100 law enforcement officers including Baton Rouge sheriffs deputies, Louisiana State Police, and Baton Rouge Police in full riot gear and military assault rifles. Law enforcement formed deep lines that cornered hundreds of protesters onto the sidewalks of two residential streets, and a resident’s small front lawn, with permission but with no place to exit.  Anyone who moved was aggressively tackled to the ground and arrested.  Law enforcement also targeted snatch-and-grab arrests of individuals who posed no threat to public safety, charged at the demonstrators chasing them with assault rifles, and entered a resident’s home who had begun sheltering demonstrators.

Professionally-trained negotiators attempted to intervene with law enforcement at the confrontation, but they refused to cooperate and deescalate the situation.  Mandisa Moore-O’Neal, a local attorney and Vice President of the Louisiana National Lawyers Guild, said “myself and members of the NLG tried many times to intervene and ask law enforcement to de-escalate. Many of them were holding assault rifles with fingers on their triggers and those guns were pointed at the protesters. I had a clear view of both sides of the street; I did not see one thing was thrown by the protesters. I did not see any rocks or asphalt being thrown by protesters.”

Over the last few days, in addition to escalating the confrontation against peaceful protestors the police arrested at least two National Lawyers Guild legal observers and 3 members of the press including WWNO reporter Ryan Kailath.  “We are also seeing that protesters are being charged with crimes unrelated to any activity documented at the protests. A legal observer standing and documenting the protest was charged with obstruction of a highway and resisting an officer. Protesters who were dragged and tackled into the street are being charged with blocking traffic,” said Sima Atri, a civil rights attorney supporting local organizers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “Protesters are also being mistreated in jail after their arrest. We have documented reports of protesters engaging in peaceful vigil and song being maced, medication being withheld, 40 to 50 protesters being caged in small cells, and sheriffs making aggressive, violent, and discriminatory comments.”

Protesters continue to be held at East Baton Rouge Prison. None are being released without bond.

The National Lawyers Guild has been supporting individuals engaging in protest through legal observing, posting of bond, and additional criminal defense legal support. NLG is also operating a 24/7 Legal Hotline at225-341-2287.