Public health and education reform in post-Katrina New Orleans
This thesis argues that the reconstruction of New Orleans following Katrina is reminiscent of practices employed by a state colonizing another territory. This research applies widely used international development theories to New Orleans and demonstrates how privatization in the city excluded marginalized and underserved populations from access to basic rights, specifically education and healthcare. The foundational argument is that health and education are indeed critical material conditions that impact one's ability to exercise life choices, and the undermining of these sectors contributes to race and class-based inequalities. New Orleans’s majority-Black population has historically faced vast poverty and exclusion from social welfare, and the effects of Hurricane Katrina amplified these preexisting conditions. This paper demonstrates that New Orleans is a unique American case study for analyzing domestic development through the same lens the United States uses to regard the entire world. Addressing the challenges New Orleans faces requires a systemic approach that prioritizes the health and education of all individuals, and works to address structural inequalities that have been perpetuated by colonialism in the form of neoliberalism.