A little over a month ago, I was in New Orleans for a conference. I took an Uber to the airport when I was leaving and the driver was a Latino guy. I had not been in New Orleans for many years, and did not recall seeing many Latinos the last time I was there. I asked the driver if there were a lot of Latinos living in New Orleans, and he said “there is now”. When I asked him to explain, he said that Latinos came to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina to help rebuild the city and many of them stayed. Today, Latinos in New Orleans are part of the fabric of the city’s local economy and are provide a foundation to its workforce and consumer base. This is a story that can be told for many of America’s great cities. The book Barrio America by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz chronicles how Latinos created the foundation that ultimately led to the revitalization of the now thriving downtown neighborhoods of Chicago and Dallas.
As experts ponder how America will pull itself out of the COVID-19 recession, one thing I know for certain is that Latino workers, homebuyers, and entrepreneurs will be at the epicenter of America’s renaissance. As this scenario comes to pass, I will use this blog and my upcoming podcast to share stories and help document this phenomenon. In fact, we all need to use our respective platforms to make sure that the contributions Latinos make in bringing America back don’t go unnoticed.