This paper looks at the challenges of scalar politics from the grassroots by examining the pro-tracted struggle of public housing in New Orleans postHurricane Katrina. Much of the work on scalar politics does not fully take into account systems of domination outside of class, and many address scale only from the intersection of the urban with the global. However, when we con-sider politics from the ground up and the possibility of scalar political action, the way in which race operates adds a complicated set of challenges to class-based tactics. In New Orleans the stigma of public housing residents was layered upon claims that the housing units had been de-stroyed in the flood. This complicated one of the key tactics, that of occupation, as racialized discourses were mobilized to delegitimize the protest actions and delegitimized some of the broader (scalar) claims. The article follows a struggle that embodied the complexity of the claims around participation and belonging at the heart of a scalar politics.