My forthcoming book A City Without Care: Racialized Health Care, Racial Health Disparities, and Black Health Activism in New Orleans 1718-2018 (University of North Carolina Press, Fall 2022) examines the rise and perpetuation of the racialized health care system in New Orleans from the city’s founding through the present. This system has largely exploited and excluded African Americans as patients and practitioners. The work explores how racialized health care served as a key component of the slave-based economy, became institutionalized with the end of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, helped make and supported segregation, and still exists. The book details the way that the historically white medical system financially benefitted benefitted members of the medical community, accommodated and supported a racist economic system, and benefitted from municipal, state, and federal funding and policies. The work also examines the impact on on Black residents, including disparities in disease and mortality rates; and the Black struggle for access to healthcare and improved health, including the creation of an alternate Black medical district centered around Flint Goodridge Hospital.

Current Book Project

My ongoing research project focuses on a small period in New Orleans that I briefly address in my first book—the year 1994-95—which witnessed a peak in several public health epidemics: gun-related homicides; HIV/AIDs cases and deaths; and exposure to lead poisoning and other toxins. The work will utilize a historical epidemiological approach to analyze the factors that led to this syndemic and its impact, as well as explore how the African American community responded to these events in terms of both activism—including resident-initiated lawsuits against the municipal government—and cultural expression. I plan to add two other cities as case studies.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals 

  • More than Recreation: Black Parks and Playgrounds in Jim Crow New Orleans” examines the struggle over access to parks and playgrounds in Jim Crow New Orleans from the late nineteenth century through World War II. It looks at how and why city officials and white residents restricted African American recreational space and the ways that Black New Orleanians challenged this exclusion. Louisiana History Volume 60, No. 5 (Fall 2019): 437-478.  
  • Flint Goodridge Hospital and Black Healthcare in Twentieth Century New Orleans” examines the role of Flint Goodridge Hospital, the only hospital in the Deep South with Black physicians during much of the Jim Crow period. The article details the institution’s significant public health initiatives, including one of the country’s earliest hospital insurance programs, as well as the limitations imposed by the racist hierarchy. Journal of African American History Volume 103, No. 4 (Winter 2018): 581-608. 
  • Freedpeople and the Federal Government’s First Public Housing in Washington D.C” details the federal government’s first public housing buildings, units constructed in D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for formerly enslaved African Americans after the Civil War. Federal History Issue 10 (April 2018): 61-77.
  • Zulu: A Transnational History of a New Orleans Mardi Gras Krewe” explores the transnational ties, both real and imagined, between New Orleans and South Africa through the lens of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, an African American Mardi Gras krewe founded in 1909 and based on the popular conception of the South African Zulu of the era. Safundi: The Journal of South African and American StudiesVolume 19, Issue 2(April 2018)139-163.  

Book Chapters

Book Review