Report: Women on the rise in post-Katrina New Orleans politics

A demonstrator holds a sign at a 2017 protest for International Women's Day. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST A demonstrator holds a sign at a 2017 protest for International Women’s Day.

A new Tulane University report finds that women are both running for office more frequently and winning more elections in New Orleans in the years since Hurricane Katrina.

In “Assessing Equity in Political Representation in New Orleans,” authors Mirya R. Holman and Chloe Schwanz found that women made up the majority of the New Orleans City Council in every council cycle since Katrina, whereas other city councils nationally are typically 25 to 30 percent female. (Three of seven, or 42 percent, of incoming council members are women.)

New Orleans also has elected an average of two women per election since 2005, up from 1.17 women in the pre-Katrina years.

“As the proportion of women and African-American council members increase, so do the policies that benefit constituents of these groups, increasing equity,” the authors wrote. “With the election of our first woman mayor, along with a majority women and people of color city council, New Orleans moves into a new era of representation.”

The report contrasts New Orleans with both state and national trends in representation for both women and people of color. In particular, New Orleans’ majority-black council is “markedly different from many other major cities in the United States,” the authors said. The…

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