Land of Opportunity

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Kawana Jasper


A mother fights to preserve her community and raise her children

Kawana Jasper always wanted the best for her children, even if it meant leaving the St. Bernard community where she was born and raised. But when the federal and local government closed off her public housing community and others like it in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Kawana realized she “never thought” she’d miss it as much as she did. She feels that people like her, the poor working class of the city, are “not welcome…they want to make it more for tourists, trying to make it like Las Vegas…”. As she fights in public, she also continues to raise her children as a single mother.

Alongside her mother, Sharon she fights to dispel the stereotypes that people in public housing are lazy and don’t want what is best for their families.

Where is she now?

Kawana continues to speak out against the policies of the new, privatized mixed-income development that replaced her St. Bernard community while raising three children. She regularly continues to attend meetings of the Housing Authority and organizes former Public Housing tenants in New Orleans with several different groups.