Date of Award

Summer 8-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Hirsch, Arnold R.; Mizell-Nelson, Michael

Second Advisor

Brown, Nikki

Third Advisor

Mitchell, Mary N.


The Desire Housing Project opened in 1956 as a segregated public housing development in New Orleans‟ Upper Ninth Ward. The Desire neighborhood, one of the few neighborhoods in the city where black homeownership had been encouraged, was transformed by the project. Hundreds of former Desire residents were displaced by the mammoth project, which became home to more than 13,000 residents by 1958. Built on what had once been a landfill, the Desire Housing Project came to epitomize the worst in public housing, before it was torn down by 2001. Although the project was isolated from the rest of the city and lacked basic services, residents worked to create a viable community, in spite of the pitfalls of segregation. Within the context of the civil rights movement, Desire residents fought to bring in basic services, pushing local government to more fully develop their neighborhood.


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