Listen to Rodney and his daughters. Audio Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds
Listen to Joe Berry's story. Audio Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds

New Orleans natives and cousins Rodney Woods and Joe Berry sometimes walk ten miles to a temp agency to look for work. Rodney, who resides in a two-room shotgun-style home with his wife and four of his six children, used to own a grocery store in the Ninth Ward before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Joe, on the other hand, worked at a printing shop before Katrina, but moved to Texas after the storm. He has not been able to find a job since he returned. He sometimes sleeps on Rodney’s porch or under a bridge, saying he lives “pillar to post.” His dream is to be a rapper.

 

  • Cousins Rodney Woods (left) and Joe Berry (right).

  • Rodney's daughters Khadeijah Woods, 14, Kiara Woods, 13 and Koran Woods 12, have big ambitions.

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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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