New Orleans

The Data Center

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Lamar Gardere, Executive Director

The Data Center is the most trusted resource for data about greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana. Founded in 1997, we are fully independent and we are experts at bringing data together from multiple sources. In doing so, we are uniquely able to step beyond the limits of analyzing data from just one perspective and take a 360–degree look at issues that matter most to our region from the government, business, nonprofit, and community perspective. In these ways The Data Center realizes its mission to build prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable communities by making informed decisions possible.

What We Do

The Data Center approaches its work from three levels:

  • First, we analyze and monitor a set of key indicators in order to build foundational knowledge about the strength and vibrancy of greater New Orleans.
  • Second, where there is a match between community interest and our expertise, The Data Center uses action-oriented research to take a deeper look at a specific issue.
  • Third, because we live in a time when government cannot fix things on its own, we ensure our findings reach not only elected officials, but also community leaders, neighborhood activists, members of the media, and business executives.

The Data Center’s areas of expertise include disaster recovery, regional economic analysis, workforce development, racial disparity indicators, blight reduction, affordable housing, and coastal population movements. Regardless of the subject area, The Data Center brings together data from multiple sources in a way that connects the dots beyond simply a public or private sector perspective.

Why We Do It

The Data Center believes that reliable data, analyzed by an independent team of experts that know New Orleans and the region, makes good decisionmaking possible. Our work provides a tool box of fact–driven, well–researched data that moves beyond anecdotal experiences and goes deeper than national reports which, too often, miss community nuances that are unique to our region and key to understanding the root causes of our challenges. A core part of The Data Center’s mission is to transform local culture from being data–adverse to embracing data as an intrinsic component of sound policy development. This transformation gained steam significantly after Hurricane Katrina when The Data Center created “The New Orleans Index” to measure key indicators towards recovery.

How We Do It

The Data Center compiles, monitors, and analyzes data each and every day. We put our work in the hands of local and national stakeholders in the following ways:

  • Our “New Orleans Index,” a now biennial publication developed in collaboration with the Brookings Institution only a few months after Hurricane Katrina, tracks progress towards prosperity by looking at indicators that measure economic growth, sustainability, inclusive growth, and quality of life.
  • Throughout the year The Data Center is busy researching, analyzing, and releasing a number of other valuable tools for our region.
  • Each year we publish “Who Lives in the New Orleans Metro Area Now?” — an analysis of key demographic trends in areas such as race, age, ethnicity and national origin, education, poverty, income, homeownership, and transportation.
  • On a monthly basis we publish U.S. Postal Service counts of households actively receiving mail as an indicator of repopulation for every ZIP code across the seven parishes of the metro area.
  • On a regular basis our “Numbers Talk” e–newsletter provides up–to–date information on data trends in critical areas.

Who We Serve

The Data Center serves everyone who needs data to do their work. This includes government agencies, business leaders, neighborhood associations, local nonprofits, and members of the media. We distribute our data across a range of channels, including our website (100,000 unique visitors/year), our e–newsletter (4,000 subscribers), the media (500+ mentions/year), print publications, speaking engagements, and decisionmaker briefings. By doing so, The Data Center helps inform a common understanding of progress and challenges in key areas of interest. This understanding, in turn, can lay a solid foundation for sustainable progress towards a prosperous and inclusive region.

Measuring Our Impact

By keeping facts on the table, The Data Center regularly gives local, regional, and national leaders the tools they need to make the strategic, programmatic, and fiscal decisions that are building a sustainable greater New Orleans.

  • “The New Orleans Index” was the most widely used means of tracking rebuilding efforts in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina and has set a new national standard for measuring disaster recovery.
  • In the first post–Katrina U.S. Census, The Data Center provided City Hall with facts that showed a larger population than portrayed, halting a possible loss of $61 million in federal funding.
  • Our “Neighborhood Profiles” give community leaders and local residents the facts they need to set block by block priorities, become effective advocates, and secure funding; our clear process for tracking blight reduction has created a shared understanding of progress at City Hall; and our comprehensive look at income levels in New Orleans is bringing leaders together to see that low wages, not high rents, are a key factor in New Orleans’ future success.

Let The Data Center help you make informed decisions! Sign–up for our “Numbers Talk” e–newsletter so that you are alerted whenever the Data Center publishes new data and reports.

Katrina Andry
Project and Publications Manager
Thomas Wilson
Thomas Wilson
Data Warehouse Manager
Lamar Gardere
Executive Director
Allison Plyer
Chief Demographer
Dabne Whitemore
Development and Finance Director
Jenna Losh
Senior Data Analyst


December 6, 2023
Lamar Gardere, executive director of the The Data Center, joined Katherine Oliver, Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, and Darrick Hamilton, the Founding... [read more]
October 1, 2023
Over the past few months NNIP Partners have been using data to explore drivers of Black wealth to better understand the dynamics of wealth and inform strategies to build wealth. We highlight a few... [read more]
January 2023 - March 2023
In the first video, learn about real-world examples of data practices at the federal, state, and... [read more]


April 2, 2024
Blog post - By: Allison Plyer

The Data Center

Blog Post
November 9, 2023
Meeting Materials - By: Leah Hendey, Lamar Gardere

Urban Institute, The Data Center

January 24, 2023
Video - By: Black Wealth Data Center

The Data Center

October 27, 2022
Presentation - By: Jenna Losh

The Data Center

October 27, 2022
Video - By: Sara Jaye Sanford, Cheryl Knott, Elly Schoen, Jenna Losh, Elizabeth Burton (Moderator)

Urban Institute, Communities Count, Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Neighborhood Data for Social Change, The Data Center

Partner Webinars

February 18, 2016 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

As announced earlier in January, we are continuing the NNIP Idea Showcases to give partners the opportunity for more connections and conversations in between in-person meetings. Please register... [read more]

Presenters Katya Abazajian, Megan Swindal, Katie Pritchard, Rob Pitingolo, Caroline Heffernan
April 16, 2015 - 1:00pm

In May and August, after partners expressed the desire for more interactions among partners between in-person meetings, we held our first two virtual idea showcases. It gave several partners the... [read more]

Presenters Kathy Pettit, Leah Hendey, Peter Tatian, Beth Anthony, Taryn Gress, Vicki Mack, Clarissa Ozuna