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New Orleans Now: Immigrants, Labor Rights and the Human Cost of Rebuilding an American City – Part 2


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Source: Blair Wells

From top: Immigrant workers in New Orleans, Eva San Martin, Saket Soni. Source: Blair Wells

New Orleans is the largest construction site in the United States. Countless houses, businesses and public facilities are being rebuilt by an immigrant and migrant workforce that is mostly new to the area. Some were invited as part of the U.S. “Guest Worker” program. Some were already here in this country, and others came from hundreds of miles away, betting their futures on the promise of work and fair pay. The work is here, but too often the pay is not.

On this edition, part two of our immigration series, we hear from the people on the ground making a difference in the lives of these workers and from the workers themselves.

This series was made possible in part by the Open Society Institute.


Father Joe Benson, pastor, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Church; Eva San Martin, Hispanic Apostolate outreach worker; Francisco, migrant worker, Israel Lopez, Manuel, Lorenzo Alvarado Duran, and Rafael Sanchez, immigrant laborers; Luz Molina, director and founder, Workplace Justice Project, and Loyola Law School professor; Saket Soni, founder and organizer, New Orleans
Worker Center for Racial Justice.

Senior Producer/Host: Tena Rubio,Open Society Institute Fellow
Mixing Engineer: Phillip Babich
Interns: Alexis McCrimmon and Samson Reiny
Translation: Frank Rubio, Andrew Reisseger, Christine M. Rodriguez
Voiceover talent: Jose Ramirez, Dr. Joseph Khamsi, Paul Bieber, Samson Reiny, Steve Masar, Christopher Williams, Aaron Shuman, Joshua Grossman
Transcribing: Casting Word

Much appreciation to all the people who contributed their time, energy and support to this show, Eve Troeh, David Kunian, Claire Schoen, all of those listed above and especially to Steve Masar and Emily Polk.

For more information:

Workplace Justice Project
Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law
7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118

New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice (NOWJC)
The New Orleans Worker Justice Coalition

Hispanic Apostolate – Kenner, LA

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Church
3053 Dauphine St.
New Orleans, LA 70117-6794

National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Other helpful links:

Common Ground Health Clinic (Latino Health Outreach Project) – New Orleans, LA

The People’s Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF)
1418 N. Claiborne, Suite 2
New Orleans, LA 70116
504-301-0125; 1-888-310-PHRF;

Southern Poverty Law Center – Montgomery, AL

National Immigration Law Center – Los Angeles, CA

Hope House
916 Saint Andrew St
New Orleans, LA 70130

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