Happy Mardi Gras! And welcome to the State of the South blog!
Since its publication last year, MDC’s State of the South report on the upward mobility of Southern young people—or, rather, the lack of it—has touched a nerve across the region. Starting today, we want to use this website to keep the conversation going, looking at issues and data related to economic mobility, as well as highlighting examples and insights about the ways that Southern communities are building what we called in the report an “infrastructure of opportunity.”
And this being Mardi Gras, we begin by taking a look at income mobility data in New Orleans where, today, hundreds of thousands of people are celebrating as parades featuring pretend kings and royalty roll through the streets. New Orleans has always been a place that celebrates its unique history and character, and Mardi Gras is emblematic of that. But unfortunately, Mardi Gras also has become more of a reflection of the economic inequities that grew in the waning years of the 20th Century, as tourism and a service economy replaced the port and oil business as the city’s largest employers. The pretend gap between royalty and common folk has become, unfortunately, much more real.