Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Ehrenfeucht, Renia

Second Advisor

Brand, Anna Livia

Third Advisor

Nelson, Marla


Since the 1970s, when neoliberal policies and changing consumer patterns began remaking cities, scholars have conducted research about gentrification. In New Orleans, these studies have helped explain the demographic and economic shifts in some neighborhoods. However, there has been limited focus on the built environment aspects of gentrification in New Orleans, specifically the interpretation of the external aesthetic shifts in streetscapes as part of the gentrification process. This thesis examines the relationship between these aesthetics, primarily graffiti and street art, and the gentrification process, as perceived by various stakeholders in two New Orleans neighborhoods: St. Roch and Bywater. Using empirical, qualitative evidence, this thesis argues that graffiti and street art signify a culture and aestheticization of gentrification. Research methods for this thesis include participant observation, semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis.

Keywords: Gentrification, New Orleans, Bywater, St. Roch, graffiti, street art, neighborhood change, blight, disinvestment, revitalization, creative class, neoliberalism, race, authenticity


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.