Listen to Selear's story. Audio Producer: Laura Bult

Selear Smith and her 9-year old son Shamuar live in New Orleans East, which never fully recovered after Katrina. “It’s a ghost town now,” she says. Selear is a single mom. She works part-time at Lowes. Has no health insurance. Her family was rescued on the rooftop of a hotel during Katrina. They lost their home. To make matters worse, her father died in a boating accident on father’s day last year. Her mother is depressed. Her brother is mentally retarded. Her son is bi-polar and on heavy medication. (He shut himself in the closet while we were visiting and was crying. He said he wanted to see his father, who Selear describes as a “deadbeat.”
Talking about her situation, Selear says “It feels like we are in a hole that is closing in on us.”

 

Your Story

Share your story of hope and hard times with us, how you survived, if someone helped you and what the experience has meant to you. We will publish some of our favorites.

Contribute

Resources

“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

Investigate