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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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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