Life in the Katrina Diaspora
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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In October 2006, I joined members of the Social Science Research Council Research Network on Persons Displaced by Hurricane Katrina on a site visit to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to view the impact of the storm and floods. As someone who had first become acquainted with the project through an initial meeting convened by Jacquelyn Litt and Kai Erikson in...
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This edited volume and the collaboration of our research network would
not have been possible without the assistance and generosity of many
people and organizations.
As Chair of the Social Science Research Council’s (SSRC) Task Force on Katrina, Kai Erikson organized the first meetings, which spawned the research network, sought funding to support future meetings, and later...
1. Documenting Displacement: An Introduction
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On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated more than 90,000 square miles of the US Gulf Coast and, when the levee system gave way, drowned the city of New Orleans. Katrina...
2. The Research Network
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The research presented in this volume is the result of a collaboration among twelve feminist social scientists. From our initial meeting we realized that the process of engaging with this group would shape how we conducted our individual studies. And our collaboration changed not only what we were able to see in our own research, but also how we would interpret and...
I. Receiving Communities: Introduction
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People displaced by Hurricane Katrina landed in communities across the United States, and the six chapters in this section refer to nearly a dozen such locations. Some of the receiving communities described in this volume were similar to New Orleans in terms of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic composition, while others were significantly different. But in none...
3. They Call It "Katrina Fatigue": Displaced Families and Discrimination in Colorado
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In the months following Hurricane Katrina, more than 4,500 Gulf Coast families (approximately 14,000 individuals) relocated to Colorado.1 Although evacuees could be found in all sixty- four counties in Colorado, most landed in the two largest cities—Denver (6,500 evacuees) and Colorado Springs (4,000 evacuees)—with hundreds of others settling in midsize...
4. The Basement of Extreme Poverty: Katrina Survivors and Poverty Programs
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The problems faced by Americans who fall into destitution- level poverty are shared by many Katrina evacuees. Many Gulf Coast residents who had perfected strategies for maintaining and stabilizing households in poverty found themselves demoralized and in dire poverty months after their evacuation. As their stay in host cities extended beyond the availability of...
5. Living through Displacement: Housing Insecurity among Low-Income Evacuees
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The destruction of housing was among the most stunning material losses caused by Hurricane Katrina. Roughly 70 percent of the housing supply in New Orleans sustained some level of damage.1 This was devastating to a city that already had a shortage of affordable housing. Low- income and working- poor families were the people most significantly affected by this...
6. When Demand Exceeds Supply: Disaster Response and the Southern Political Economy
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Before Hurricane Katrina struck, the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama had among the highest levels of race, class, and gender inequality and the worst quality- of- life indicators in the nation for their poor, people of color, and women. The extreme inequality in these states reflects a Southern legacy of a government/elite/corporate alliance that...
7. Katrina Evacuee Reception in Rural East Texas: Rethinking Disaster "Recovery"
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People fleeing Katrina began to arrive in Huntsville as soon as the main shelter opened on August 30, 2005. This shelter, which is actually the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, is located two blocks from the town square, featuring the county courthouse surrounded by businesses and restaurants. Across the street from the Center is the First Baptist...
8. Permanent Temporariness: Displaced Children in Louisiana
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Over one million children lived in the Gulf Coast counties most directly affected by Katrina’s winds and waters. Early estimates suggested that 372,000 school- age children evacuated as a result of the storm,1 and 163,000 children between the ages of zero and nineteen years remained displaced months later.2 Like adults, those children were scattered throughout...
II. Social Networks: Introduction
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The survivors we meet in these chapters tell of a brutal (and in most cases almost endless) disruption of their everyday lives—a disruption severe enough to threaten their sense of identity, their well- being, and their confidence in the future. In the months and years that followed Katrina, the force of those winds and the rush of those waters were matched by a powerful...
9. Help from Family, Friends, and Strangers during Hurricane Katrina: Finding the Limits of Social Networks
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Faced with a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, people invariably turn to close family and friends to assist them in the evacuation and recovery.1 However, not all networks are equally able to assist those affected by disaster. Disaster researchers have found that racial minorities, the elderly, members of households headed by women, and members of low- income households...
10. "We need to get together with each other": Women's Narratives of Help in Katrina's Displacement
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While public images of African Americans in the immediate aftermath of Katrina resound with chaos and pathology, hidden stories of social support and mutual assistance challenge these stereotypes. The practices of informal assistance among African American women disaster survivors, for example, have received very little public attention, partly because these practices are...
11. The Women of Renaissance Village: From Homes in New Orleans to a Trailer Park in Baker, Louisiana
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This chapter introduces nine adult and aging African American women,1 who, after working their way through various situations, ended up in the largest Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer park in Louisiana for displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina. This park, located in Baker, came to be known as Renaissance Village, or just simply “the Park.”...
12. Twice Removed: New Orleans Garifuna in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
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In the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, journalists, social service providers, academics, and religious leaders urgently began collecting data on evacuees, their whereabouts, and their needs. These studies painted a picture of a New Orleans sharply divided along Black and White racial lines, a system that neglected its poor, and entire communities fallen prey to...
13. After the Flood: Faith in the Diaspora
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On this Wednesday night in April 2008, there are thirty people at the prayer service in Baton Rouge. It is nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina, and this congregation is one of several formed during the displacement of people from New Orleans. About half the people at the evening prayer service are Katrina survivors from New Orleans. The others are from Baton...
III. Charting a Path Forward: Introduction
The studies in this volume tell an important story about the practices, policies, and structures of systemic inequality that impeded resettlement and recovery for Katrina’s displaced. The previous chapters chronicle the experiences of socially vulnerable groups during disaster, as well as many obstacles to an effective and humane response—one that works for all of the...
14. Community Organizing in the Katrina Diaspora: Race, Gender, and the Case of the People's Hurricane Relief Fund
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Within hours of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, social justice organizers joined millions of Americans in responding to the humanitarian crisis precipitated by the storm. In addition to mobilizing to meet basic needs, however, organizers sought to cultivate a collective, political response to what they framed as government malfeasance before, during, and after the hurricane...
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Page Count: 284
Illustrations: 4 charts, 3 tables
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Katrina Bookshelf