Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Half Title, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

read more

Prologue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xvi

When I began my research on Hurricane Katrina, I didn’t set out to study privileged Southern women. The world of elites was not really one of my interests. As a student at Loyola University New Orleans in 2003, I even turned down an opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain of the city’s upper class. ...

Abbreviations

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xviii

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-16

On December 11, 2005, the New York Times printed an editorial titled “The Death of an American City,” which projected a dire outlook for post-Katrina New Orleans. The editors wrote, “We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, ...

read more

1. Emergence: In which it occurs to a New Orleans philanthropist, in the wake of disaster, to form a group

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-28

Women of the Storm emerged in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, catastrophic events followed by a slowed and flawed recovery.1 Consider for a moment the bleak conditions in New Orleans in January 2006. While post-Katrina repopulation estimates varied widely, officials estimated that the population of Orleans Parish on January 1 was about 134,000, or about 71 percent below the pre-Katrina level ...

read more

2. Bridgework: On the calling upon of old friends and new acquaintances to join together

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-39

In WOS’s earliest stages, the core leadership, all white women, carefully considered the group structure and composition, and they began recruiting women from New Orleans and south Louisiana to participate in their one-day trip to Washington, D.C., where they would deliver invitations to members of Congress to visit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. ...

read more

3. Making Plans, Going Public: On the crafting of a mission statement; descriptive of how the group’s roster is revealed, and then how the phones begin ringing

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 40-50

With much to do leading up to the group’s day in Washington, D.C., the newly formed WOS set to work immediately. In addition to participant recruitment, at least two important tasks needed attention: developing a statement of purpose and deciding how best to deliver the message.1 In looking at WOS’s internal dynamics, ...

read more

4. The Flight: Comprising a brief description of a journey to Washington and a few accounts of surviving the storm

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-61

On the morning of January 30, the day of WOS’s trip to Washington, one participant I spoke with, a black woman in her forties, woke up “before the crack of dawn” in the FEMA trailer stationed outside her flooded home. Five months after Katrina, electricity in her neighborhood had yet to be restored. She got into her car and picked up two women who were also part of WOS, ...

read more

5. The Press: Conference On political drama, performative utterances, and blue-­tarp umbrellas on Capital Hill

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 62-72

When WOS’s plane landed at Reagan National Airport, Pam Bryan turned on her cell phone and discovered two voicemails.1 She immediately listened to the messages, turned to her partner, Anne Milling, and exclaimed, “I did my job!” The voicemails were from the WWL-TV contact in New Orleans who had been making calls while WOS was in flight ...

read more

6. Hill Visits: Some accounts of invitations delivered to lawmakers; certain interactions prove successful, others misfire

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-82

After WOS’s press conference, the women split up into groups of two and three, fanning out to make their prearranged Capitol Hill visits. They were there to deliver invitations offering a comprehensive itinerary scheduled on four specific dates in the weeks that followed, which would include land tours of decimated neighborhoods and air tours in Blackhawk helicopters over eroding wetlands, ...

read more

7. Noblesse Oblige: On thank-­you notes and civic stewardship

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 83-90

The day after WOS’s trip, a small group of “expatriates,” New Orleans natives living in Washington, D.C., led by Miriam “Mimsy” Lindner, continued to deliver the remaining invitations to the almost 280 representatives in Washington who weren’t on the WOS list for face-to-face visits.1 Back in New Orleans, the women’s euphoria after the one-day trip to Washington ...

read more

8. Divergent Paths: In which some women focus on other things

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 91-99

As the women waited for lawmakers to visit New Orleans, they sought to recharge the sense of group unity they had felt during the Washington trip. At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, February 17, WOS attended a fund-raiser—the Blue Tarp Fashion Show and Luncheon. The tongue-in-cheek event combined culture and politics, using the peculiar sense of humor that proliferated in New Orleans’s post-Katrina culture ...

read more

9. Invitations Accepted: Relating the decisive first visits to the scenes of destruction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 100-106

WOS imagined that planeloads of lawmakers would seize the opportunity to visit post-Katrina New Orleans. But to the women’s disappointment, the vast majority of their invitations were turned down. In the first weeks of February 2006, WOS members called congressional offices and sent follow-up e-mails, pressing lawmakers to visit—“persistence,” they reasoned. ...

read more

10. New Orleans at Six Months: Amid Carnival, a city takes stock of the recovery, some plans unravel, and yet the women persist

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 107-116

In February 2006, six months after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans began counting down to its first Mardi Gras after the storm. The convergence of the six-month mark and Carnival meant that residents, the media, and city leaders were taking stock of the recovery. The Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch, a joint project between the Institute for Southern Studies and the institute’s journal, Southern Exposure, ...

read more

11. The Breach: Involving a visit by two important persons, a chance encounter, and a revelation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-123

The congressional visits by Westmoreland and Garrett, and then by dozens of House members, were major turning points for WOS. Another milestone came when senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited New Orleans in March 2006. Unlike the previous visits, the McCain and Graham tour featured a WOS press conference at the 17th Street Canal levee breach ...

read more

12. Going National: In which several women’s organizations lend support for the resurrection of New Orleans

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 124-127

On Sunday, March 26, Milling e-mailed WOS participants to announce a newly formed partnership with four national women’s organizations: Association of Junior Leagues International, the National Council of Jewish Women, The Links, and the Women’s Initiative of the United Way. Milling wrote, “We are going from a humble force of the initial 130 women who flew to D.C. on Jan. 30 to over 275,000 women!!! ...

read more

13. Storm Warnings: Containing a brief account of a media event

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 128-133

In late May, WOS met to consider how the June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season could be used to refocus national attention on its mission. Just the idea of another hurricane season evoked visceral reactions of fear and anxiety for many residents who had survived the destruction of the previous storm season. It reminded them that New Orleans remained vulnerable. ...

read more

14. Women of the Storm: Return Involving another trip to Washington and some concrete achievements

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 134-142

At the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, roughly 181,000 people were living in New Orleans. The repopulation was racialized: the city’s black population had decreased by 57 percent, while the white population dropped by only 36 percent.1 The post-Katrina population was also older, more educated, and more affluent than pre-Katrina, and its households were more likely to be childless. ...

read more

15. The Presidential Debate: On the crafting of another grand proposal, resulting in a bid, a rejection, and a rejoinder

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 143-156

In March 2007, in anticipation of the 2008 presidential elections, WOS took on another big project with the hope of keeping national attention on the Katrina recovery: a bid to host one of the presidential debates in New Orleans. By embarking on this new undertaking, WOS once again adapted to changing sociopolitical conditions and began to resemble what disaster sociologists call an “extending organization,” ...

read more

16. The BP Oil Spill and Beyond: How Women of the Storm become Women of the Spill; how a project is almost derailed; and how a third visit to Washington creates new alliances

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 157-167

The elation of the Saints’ 2010 Super Bowl win was soon countered by a devastating blow to the city’s morale. On April 20, 2010, the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing eleven men. Almost five million barrels of crude oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico in the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history. ...

read more

Conclusion: On moral selves and moral communities

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 168-176

On October 5, 2014, the New York Times Magazine turned its spotlight on Louisiana’s wetlands with its cover story, “Waterworld: The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever.” On the magazine’s cover was a sweeping, edge-to-edge color photo of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary in south Louisiana. ...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 177-180

This book has been a decade in the making. I began data collection while a PhD student in sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU). Over ten years later, I’ve come full circle, with a difference, completing the final manuscript as a faculty member in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the same institution. ...

Notes on Method

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-190

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-232

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-242

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF