Photos and article by Charlie London
A man is living here on the Lafitte Corridor. A Cadillac parked out front may indicate a life that once had prosperity. Now it is a glaring contrast of opulence against the shanty the man now lives in.
What brought this man to this space in time? He is industrious enough to build a small shack and compound and keep his car but unable to make enough money to afford a home of his own.
Those old enough to remember and those who’ve studied history know that shanty towns were prevalent during the Great Depression. Is history repeating itself? Or is this just an anomaly that has cropped up at 2400 St. Louis Street?
“During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the unemployment rate rose to a high of 24.9% in 1933, fell to 14.3% in 1937, and rose again to 19.0% in 1938 after six years of Keynesian tinkering by the Roosevelt administration. By contrast, current jobless rates, hovering at just under 10% are, at first glance, much less severe. However, it should be noted that Americans of today live much closer to the “edge” than did our parents and grandparents. We save much less for a “rainy day” and we buy many more luxuries on credit than any past generation.
During the 1930s, as plants closed and men lost their jobs, homes were lost to foreclosure and family units disintegrated. While the women of the family moved in with friends and relatives, the men of the family took to the road looking for work. Many found temporary shelter in shanty towns called Hoovervilles… named, cynically, after Republican President Herbert Hoover, whom Democrats blamed for the economic collapse.” From an article by Paul Hollrah.