As the old Lafitte Public Housing Development was torn down and Faubourg Lafitte began to go up, Cornerstones, the Neighborhood Story Project, and Spyboy Productions were commissioned to document what the development had meant to New Orleans. Working with former Lafitte residents, artists, archaeologists, ethnographers, community activists, musicians, and archivists, we reconstructed the history of an area deeply tied to the cultural and social movements of the city.
The book starts with the creation of the Carondelet Canal and the formation of the racially mixed community of Faubourg Treme that built up around it. The neighborhood was torn down in the early 1940s to build public housing for African-American families. The film showcases historic images and documentary footage of the neighborhood from the early days of public housing through Hurricane Katrina. Extensive oral histories with Lafitte residents help shape the story of the community and the struggle for affordable housing after the storm
Rachel Breunlin is currently the ethnographer-in-residence in the Anthropology Department at the University of New Orleans where she teaches courses on public culture and collaborative ethnography. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.