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Culture after the Hurricanes

Rhetoric and Reinvention on the Gulf Coast

M. B. Hackler

Publication Year: 2010

Rebuilding in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita presented some very thorny issues. Certain cultural projects benefited from immediate attention and funding while others, with equal cases for assistance but with less attraction to future tourist dollars, languished.New Orleans and its surroundings contain a diverse mixture of Native Americans, African Americans, Creoles, Cajuns, Isleños with roots in the Canary Islands, and the descendants of Italian, Irish, English, Croatian, and German immigrants, among others. Since 2005 much is now different for the people of the Gulf Coast, and much more stands to change as governments, national and international nonprofit organizations, churches, and community groups determine how and even where life will continue. This collection elucidates how this process occurs and seeks to understand the cultures that may be saved through assistance or may be allowed to fade away through neglect.Essays inCulture after the Hurricanesexamine the ways in which a wide variety of stakeholders---community activists, elected officials, artists, and policy administrators---describe, quantify, and understand the unique assets of the region. Contributors question the process of cultural planning by analyzing the language employed in decision making. They attempt to navigate between rhetoric and the actual experience of ordinary citizens, examining the long-term implications for those who call the Gulf Coast home.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

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pp. vii

This collection would not have been possible without the time, advice, and expertise of a number of people. I am indebted to Marcia Gaudet and John Laudun for their instruction and support during my time at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Craig Gill has been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition, and I am deeply grateful for his kind and generous stew-...

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Introduction: “Louisiana’s New Oil:” Planning for Culture on the New Gulf Coast

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pp. 3-16

Several years after the devastating Gulf Coast storms of 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have left a discursive legacy that may prove more pervasive and longer lasting than their imprint of mud and water on the communities they ravaged. Indeed, for stakeholders along the Gulf Coast, navigating the books, articles, reports, and declarations may prove as disorienting and ...

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1. Civic Culture and the Politics of Planning for Neighborhoods and Housing in Post-Katrina New Orleans

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pp. 17-43

The United States is enamored of the culture of opportunity, usually cast as the chance for individuals to improve their economic lots in life. In this culture, individuals can always remake themselves. And in rare circumstances, cities can, too. While the opportunity to remake implies betterment, it can involve erasure of things people take to be central to their lives. When ...

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2. New Orleans Shotgun: A Historic Cultural Geography

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pp. 44-90

How are priorities established for saving different kinds of houses and neighborhoods in New Orleans? This issue has risen to the forefront following Hurricane Katrina because in a triage-type environment in which there is limited funding, planning commissions and governmental bodies must make Solomonic decisions about what is to be saved and what is to be ...

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3. Soul Food: Katrina and the Culinary Arts

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pp. 91-106

May 2007, Cambridge, England. There’s a restaurant, Old Orleans, not far from my house. It’s a chain theme restaurant owned by the Regent Inns conglomerate in the United Kingdom. Normally I walk right past it on the way home from work, but today my friend and I are thirsty, so, stepping inside and bellying up to the bar, we mournfully survey our options—Carling, ...

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4. Making Groceries: Food, Neighborhood Markets, and Neighborhood Recovery in Post-Katrina New Orleans

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pp. 107-138

On 30 August 2005, yahoo.com published two photographs showing people wading through Katrina’s floodwaters, groceries in tow. Superficially, the only difference between the two images is that one depicts a young black man, while the other portrays two young white adults. Yet in what became one of the better-known story lines of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane ...

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5. Losing Ground: The Cultural Politics of Cultural Landscapes in Plaquemines Parish

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pp. 139-165

The weeks following Katrina brought floods of discourse nearly equal to the floods of brackish water drowning Louisiana and Mississippi. National sorrow, indignation, and rage at the conditions of life in New Orleans eventually receded into deep concern over the city’s continued existence, particularly the survival of the city’s rich and unique cultural life ...

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6. Hurricane Rita and the New Normal: Modified Communication and New Traditions in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes

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pp. 166-186

Days, weeks, months after Hurricane Rita, this dialogue remained a familiar conversation starter in the areas of southwest Louisiana hardest hit by the storm. As they waited in line at the post office, gas station, or grocery store or returned to work or school, Calcasieu and Cameron Parish residents often encountered old friends, neighbors, schoolmates, or ...


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pp. 187-188


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pp. 189-194

E-ISBN-13: 9781604734911
E-ISBN-10: 1604734914
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604734904
Print-ISBN-10: 1604734906

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2010