Listen to Dakeia and her mother Patrina. Audio Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds

Dakeia Johnson and her daughter Jes-Zahre live with Dakeia’s mother in the Upper Ninth Ward in New Orleans. During Hurricane Katrina, a helicopter rescued the family off the roof of their floating home. Through “sweat labor”, they purchased a new house from an organization, but fear the home has toxic drywall like other homes built in the community. Dakeia earned a college degree in biology, but can barely make ends meet working as a substitute teacher. She says she takes anti-depressants to cope with her financial stress and grief after her brother was shot and killed by gunfire last year.

  • Dakeia Johnson and her daughter Jes-Zahre on the front porch of their upper Ninth Ward home.

  • Patrina Peters, Dakeia's mother, and her granddaughter Jes-Zahre in their home.

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“In 1978, it might have been economically feasible and perfectly legal for an executive to award himself a multimillion-dollar bonus while shedding 40 percent of his work force and requiring the survivors to take annual furloughs without pay. But no executive would have wanted the shame and outrage that would have followed any more than an executive today would want to be quoted using a racial slur or photographed with a paid escort.”

- The Broken Contract: Inequality and American Decline by George Packe

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