The New Orleans Tricentennial Prosperity Index

Published: Aug 11, 2017

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The New Orleans Tricentennial Prosperity Index will examine the demographics of New Orleans across its 300 year history as well as historical systemic inequities, with a lens to how these inequities are playing out for New Orleanians today. The Data Center will analyze a rigorous set of indicators, establishing The Prosperity Index as a baseline to provide a common understanding of the region’s economic and equitable possibilities. A “request-for-papers” will identify applied research from local scholars with expertise in topics such as education, health, housing, criminal justice, employment, banking, and transportation. These essays will be published as companion pieces to The Prosperity Index. The Data Center will ensure that this contributed research is timely, relevant, and accessible to a wide audience.


Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans will celebrate its 300th anniversary. On many measures, New Orleans has done well. Jobs are above their 2008 levels, entrepreneurship is booming, and there is more private, public and philanthropic investment in the region than has been experienced in decades. Still, the prosperity these changes have produced has not been broadly shared. Barely half of black men are employed, the share of all receipts accruing to minority-owned businesses has remained stagnant at only 2 percent, and black households in the New Orleans metro earn 54 percent less than white households. Indeed, income disparities in the New Orleans metro are greater than the national average with African American households locally earning 20 percent less than African American households nationally. These stark racial disparities are particularly concerning for a future of New Orleans that includes broad based prosperity.

As leaders chart a course for New Orleans’ next 300 years, it is important to identify the historical and current policies and practices that have contributed to continuing disparities across education, health, housing, criminal justice, employment, banking, etc., and to highlight solutions that can reduce obstacles and ensure greater opportunities for all. Through The New Orleans Tricentennial Prosperity Index we hope to inform a future vision of New Orleans that equitably advances prosperity through rigorous, data informed analysis.

As companion pieces to this report, The Data Center seeks papers that assess specific systems or normative behaviors that have caused historical and contemporary inequities in defined populations in New Orleans. A sub-committee of the Steering Committee of The Tricentennial Prosperity Index initiative will review submitted abstracts and select 10-15 papers for publication leading up to the release of the report on April 16, 2018.

Upcoming Dates


 Request for papers circulated  August 11, 2017
 Deadline for abstract submission September 9, 2017
 Input from steering committee September 13, 2017
 Notification of abstract selection  September 25, 2017
 Input on papers September 28, 2017
 First draft of papers due  November 6, 2017
 External review  November 6 – December 11, 2017
 Final papers due January 22, 2018
 Publication of papers begin mid-March 2018
 The Prosperity Index published mid-April 2018


Steering Committee

              Name                                                                          Organization

Allen Square  Square Button Consulting
Andreanecia Morris HousingNOLA
Andy Kopplin Greater New Orleans Foundation
Annette Hollowell Converge
Bill Hines Jones Walker
Calvin Fayard Fayard Law
Carol Bebelle Ashe Cultural Center
Charles Beasley Baptist Community Ministries
Dwight Webster Christian Unity Baptist Church
Erika McConduit-Diggs Urban League of Louisiana
Flozell Daniels Foundation for Louisiana
Joan Davis Delgado
John Nicklow University of New Orleans
Judy Reese Morse City of New Orleans
Lanor Curole United Houma Nation
Linetta Gilbert Gilbert and Associates
Mark Romig New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
Mary Moran Nuestra Voz
Michael Fitts Tulane University
Michael Hecht Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Michael Smith Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
Michael Williamson United Way of Southeast Louisiana
Quentin Messer NOLA Business Alliance
Reynold Verret Xavier University
Sharon Courtney The Data Center board of directors
Shawn Anglim First Grace United Methodist Church
Walter Kimbrough Dillard University

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