Photo: National Council of La Raza
Hundreds of U.S. political and community leaders are meeting in New Orleans for the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza, or NCLR, to analyze the course of immigration reform and other matters affecting the Hispanic community.
The annual meeting of the NCLR, one of the country’s oldest and most influential Hispanic organizations, will conclude on Tuesday, when first lady Michelle Obama delivers a speech to the assembled participants focusing on children’s health.
The group selected the emblematic southern city, known as “Crescent City,” in part to emphasize the contributions of Latinos to the resurgence of an urban area that in 2005 was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, NCLR president Janet Murguia told Efe.
“Since we began working with the Latino community in New Orleans several years ago, NCLR has sought ways to call national attention to the rapid growth of the Latino population in this city and, above all, to emphasize the contributions that Hispanic families and workers have made and continue to make in the entire Gulf (of Mexico) area,” Murguia said.
The conference kicked off with a forum on the reconstruction and rebirth of New Orleans, which in just 12 hours in August 2005 was reduced to ruins during Katrina’s passage.
In recent years, Latinos have been changing the face of the city and its environs, diversifying entire neighborhoods like Kenner, Terrytown, Mid-City and Metairie.
According to figures from the 2010 Census, since 2005, the number of Latinos in New Orleans has increased by 57 percent and now they make up slightly more than 5.2 percent of the city’s population.