Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban and Regional Planning


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Renia Ehrenfeucht

Second Advisor

Marla Nelson

Third Advisor

Endesha Juakali


On July 4th, 2007, a small group of housing activists set up a tent city encampment in a plaza adjacent to New Orleans City Hall. The action resulted in the creation of Homeless Pride, a small group of politicized Plaza residents. Six months later, hundreds of homeless people were moved from the park, and it was fenced off. Using archival videos, interviews, and news media, this thesis analyzes the opportunities and constraints that activists, service providers, and local officials faced in light of two intersecting and overlapping contexts. The first context is the immediate crisis of the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina, and the second is the longer-term national political-economic context of “neoliberal urbanism”. Because of dire short-term circumstances, Homeless Pride articulated a message of homelessness as a “crisis” even though they had larger structural goals and vision. In light of recent “Occupy” movements, this case study addresses crucial questions for organizers and policymakers attempting to combat poverty and wealth inequality.


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