SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - “When you look at how little people have and what we do to provide access to improvement, you may say that we have a hostile outlook on people who have less,” said Shreveport city councilwoman LeVette Fuller, District B.
Caddo Parish lags behind Louisiana as a whole when it comes to well-being, according to a study by Measure of America. Researchers evaluated well-being nationwide, and determined that on a 10-point scale, the state sits at 4.35, compared to Caddo Parish’s 3.56.
These numbers are calculated by measuring health, education and income in each geographic location.
“The main reason is there are shorter life expectancies and lower median incomes,” Kristen Lewis, director of Measure of America, said.
Community activist Will James said the stark disparities within Caddo Parish is evident between neighborhoods.
“If you actually observe and do a drive-through of each neighborhood and actually take in, ‘Oh, there’s plenty of parks here that are taken care of, or this neighborhood has manicured lawns,’ as opposed to another neighborhood parks where the weeds and grass at some of these parks is 2 to 3 feet high.”
James said he wants to see people in the community get involved with public meetings and be vocal towards their elected officials.
Much of the segregation comes from decades-old policies, Lewis said. During the New Deal era, people in certain neighborhoods had the ability to take out home mortgage loans, while others could not, like South Highlands vs. Caddo Heights, for example.
“They would be able to get a mortgage, able to build wealth, able to build assets,” she explained.
Lewis said it’s time to make a change.
“The kind of inequality we see is not inevitable but is the result of policy decisions,” she said.