I ended up learning more about the challenges residents face as they try to rebuild their homes and neighborhoods.
The students expressed frustration with the claim that "this town is coming back." One student said, "When I hear that New Orleans is back, on my street lawns haven't been touched. We need help coping with the issue. It's not simple when you see it on a daily basis."
They cited the day-to-day reality of living in "The City that Care Forgot":
- lack of affordable housing
- public schools without supplies
- crumbling infrastructure
- blighted houses
- constant depression
I asked about the impact of New Orleans high crime rates. They noted the link between abandoned houses and crime. "There’s no public safety. Be home by 8."
They dismissed the candidates' promise of, ahem, gumbo in every pot as pandering. Hillary Clinton's and Barack Obama's sincerity was questioned in part because they have affected a preacher's cadence when speaking before predominantly black audiences.