Mission: The Data Center aims to build prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities in New Orleans and the greater Southeast Louisiana region by making informed policy decisions possible through the collection, monitoring, and analysis of data.
Background: Founded in 1997 as the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, the Data Center works to transform the culture of the region from one that is data–averse to one that embraces data as an intrinsic component of sound policy development. To that end, the center works to collect, analyze, and monitor a set of key indicators in order to build foundational knowledge about the strength and vibrancy of the greater New Orleans area; uses action-oriented research to look deeply at specific issues; and ensure that its findings reach elected officials, community leaders, neighborhood activists, members of the media, and business executives. The center's efforts gained significant traction after Hurricane Katrina, when it created the New Orleans Index (now a biennial publication) as a way to track key indicators of post-storm recovery, and in the decade since its expertise has been extended to regional economic analysis and workforce development, blight reduction and affordable housing, coastal population movements, and racial disparities in the region.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the Data Center site are invited to learn more about New Orleans' post-Katrina recovery through a collection of reports and data analysis that explores more than thirty indicators designed to measure economic growth (and the inclusiveness of that growth), quality of life, and sustainability. Included are items that discuss pathways to job opportunities post-Katrina; the impact of low wages on the working poor; and expanding opportunity for minority-owned businesses in the region. In addition, visitors to the site can browse a collection of reports on New Orleans-related topics; share the center's data resources/findings; and explore and/or download the center's stunning collection of New Orleans-area maps, which includes maps illustrating the region's changing demographic landscape, housing development and abandonment in the city since 1960, and "geographies of poverty" in the city.