Resilience and Opportunity

Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 294
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  • Book Info
    Resilience and Opportunity
    Book Description:

    Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. Commentary and analysis typically focused on what went wrong in the post-disaster emergency response. This forward-looking book, however, presents a more cautiously optimistic view about the region's ability to bounce back after multiple disasters.

    Catastrophes come in different forms -hurricanes, recessions, and oil spills, to name a few. It is imperative that we learn how best to rebuild in the wake of disasters and what capacities and conditions are needed to improve future resilience. Since the devastating summer of 2005, leaders have made important inroads to restoring communities in more prosperous ways.Resilience and Opportunityis an important contribution to our collective learning from a teachable moment.

    Contributors: Ivye Allen, Foundation for the Mid South; Lance Buhl, Duke University; Ann Carpenter, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Robert A. Collins, Dillard University; Mark S. Davis, Tulane University Law School; Breonne DeDecker, Brandeis University; Karen B. DeSalvo, Tulane University School of Medicine; Kathryn A. Foster, University at Buffalo Regional Institute, SUNY; Linetta Gilbert, The Declaration Initiative; Ambassador James Joseph, Duke University; Mukesh Kumar, Jackson State University; Luceia LeDoux, Baptist Communities Ministries; Silas Lee III, Xavier University of Louisiana; David A. Marcello, Tulane University; Richard McCline, Southern University; Nancy T. Montoya, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Reilly Morse, Mississippi Center for Justice; Elaine Ortiz, Greater New Orleans Community Data Center; Andre Perry, Loyola University, New Orleans; John L. Renne, University of New Orleans; Kalima Rose, PolicyLink; Michael Schwam-Baird, Tulane University; Jasmine M. Waddell, Brandeis University; Nadiene Van Dyke, New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation; Alandra Washington, W. K. Kellogg Foundation; Frederick Weil, Louisiana State University; Leslie Willams, LeaderShift Consulting; Jon Wool, Vera Institute of Justice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2150-5
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Amy Liu, Roland V. Anglin, Richard M. Mizelle Jr. and Allison Plyer

    Policy analysts, historians, and social commentators will analyze the impact of the 2005 storms on the Gulf region for years to come. It is important that they do, because the 2005 catastrophe will not be a unique event in human history. Since 2005 the United States has felt the wrath of more than one natural disaster, including massive wildfires in southern California in 2007, hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008, and the multiple tornadoes that struck in spring 2011. In 2010 Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. And in March 2011, Japan suffered a catastrophic triple punch: earthquake,...

  5. PART 1. Defining Resilience

    • 2 Professing Regional Resilience
      (pp. 17-28)
      Kathryn A. Foster

      In marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, leaders often credited recovery to one key attribute—resilience.

      Speaking at Xavier University, President Barack Obama said of New Orleans, “This city has become a symbol of resilience and of community and of the fundamental responsibility that we have to one another.”¹ Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi credited progress on the Gulf Coast to “the resilient, hard-working people of Mississippi [who] took a tremendous body blow during the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history, and then we got up, hitched up our britches and went to work.”² Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)...

  6. PART 2. Building Resilience and Opportunity through Policy and Planning

    • 3 School by School: The Transformation of New Orleans Public Education
      (pp. 31-44)
      Andre Perry and Michael Schwam-Baird

      Education reform in New Orleans is often cited as one of the brighter spots in the city’s uneven post– Hurricane Katrina recovery. New Orleans is an interesting case because of the speed and scope of the changes in its public education system, including the following:

      —State takeover of low-performing schools.In other district takeovers, states typically take control of the entire school district apparatus, including the central office. In New Orleans, the state of Louisiana took over individual schools based on their performance while leaving the local school board and its central office intact, albeit with far fewer schools...

    • 4 Delivering High-Quality, Accessible Health Care: The Rise of Community Centers
      (pp. 45-63)
      Karen DeSalvo

      In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina unleashed a series of catastrophic levee breaks that resulted in widespread, devastating flooding in the greater New Orleans area. The city was under a mandatory evacuation order for thirty days, and the water inundated the infrastructure to such an extent that the health sector was completely disrupted across the continuum of care, from basic 911 services to specialty care to hospital services.¹ Hospital and ambulatory facilities in the city were severely damaged, some beyond repair, and many remained closed for months. For weeks, only three of sixteen hospitals remained in even limited operation, and they...

    • 5 Criminal Justice Reforms
      (pp. 64-81)
      Nadiene Van Dyke, Jon Wool and Luceia LeDoux

      “Stop the Killing,” “No More Excuses,” and, simply, “Enough” demanded the signs held high during the March for Survival on January 11, 2007.¹ Three thousand people filed through the streets of downtown New Orleans, a cathartic demonstration by a citizenry weary of loss. Suited businessmen, groups of uniformed schoolchildren, mothers with infants in arms, elderly couples, and anti-crime activists converged on City Hall from diverse neighborhoods all over the city. Overflowing the steps of City Hall, march organizers commanded the microphone as stone-faced elected officials stood by silently.

      Organized in response to the murders of Helen Hill, a local activist,...

    • 6 Systemic Ethics Reform in Katrina’s Aftermath
      (pp. 82-98)
      David A. Marcello

      Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans on August 29, 2005.¹ Three weeks later, Hurricane Rita came ashore near Lake Charles. Together, these hurricanes delivered a devastating one-two punch.² But they ravaged more than the physical landscape of South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.³ They also unsettled the established political order.

      This chapter examines how state and local ethics reform took place in Katrina’s aftermath. Accordingly, it is useful to clarify at the outset what is meant by the term “ethics reform.” Ethics reform does not mean that people start behaving better. Ethics reform means that systems are put in place...

    • 7 Bringing New Orleans Home: Community, Faith, and Nonprofit-Driven Housing Recovery
      (pp. 99-119)
      Kalima Rose

      There is no doubt that the loss of home and all that went with it—the dispersion of families, neighbors, social networks; the loss of family records and cultural histories to the flood waters; and the loss of loved ones—was the most wrenching and traumatizing part of Hurricane Katrina and the floods of 2005. Over 200,000 households faced major or severe damage to their homes.¹ In New Orleans alone, 134,000 housing units—70 percent of all occupied units—suffered damage from Katrina and the subsequent flooding.²

      In the five years following that loss, residents, friends, families, neighborhoods, organizations, volunteers,...

    • 8 Evacuation Planning for Vulnerable Populations: Lessons from the New Orleans City Assisted Evacuation Plan
      (pp. 120-130)
      John L. Renne

      Mass evacuations due to natural disasters and anthropogenic events, including accidental and terrorism-related disasters, have become an increasingly important topic in the United States, especially since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Given these events, many planners and policymakers realize the importance of evacuation planning, particularly for vulnerable populations, in creating resilient cities. Vulnerable populations include but are not limited to people who are unable to self-evacuate in a car and those with specific or functional needs. Moreover, vulnerability is dynamic, and it can be created by a disaster, impacting tourists and residents who...

    • 9 Come On in This House: Advancing Social Equity in Post-Katrina Mississippi
      (pp. 131-147)
      Reilly Morse

      The staggering spectacle of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast—entire coastal communities obliterated, tens of thousands of houses demolished, lives washed away—was not even a day old when it was overtaken by the levee failures and drowning of the nearby city of New Orleans. “If the levees had held in New Orleans,” wrote theNew York Times,“the destruction wrought on the Mississippi Gulf Coast . . . would have been the most astonishing storm story of a generation.”² As major news outlets increasingly erased Mississippi from the Katrina narrative, a Biloxi newspaper’s front page editorial,...

    • 10 A Tale of Uneven Comebacks: Community Planning and Neighborhood Design on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
      (pp. 148-160)
      Mukesh Kumar

      The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was soon followed by optimistic public statements regarding recovery and renewal. The Mississippi Renewal Forum, organized by the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal and the Congress for New Urbanism in October 2005, brought visions of a better future for the coast. The so-called design charrette sought to provide clarity on directions for rebuilding, largely influenced by the principles often found in the new urbanism paradigm. But experiences along the Gulf Coast since then have varied according to local preferences for urban forms instead of adhering to the...

    • 11 No More “Planning by Surprise”: Post-Katrina Land Use Planning in New Orleans
      (pp. 161-172)
      Robert A. Collins

      Planning for the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was the largest post-disaster urban planning effort undertaken in recent American history. The challenge was made more daunting by the fact that before the storm the city lacked a history of strong traditional urban planning practices. As a result, most processes had to be constructed from scratch. Despite few financial resources and a series of stops and starts, the overall planning process was successful in that as of August 2010 the city had a master plan with the force of law. The New Orleans experience can inform other communities about...

    • 12 Coastal Restoration and Protection and the Future of New Orleans
      (pp. 173-184)
      Mark S. Davis

      New Orleans and coastal Louisiana are joined at the hip. It is impossible to understand New Orleans apart from the coast, and the fate and future of each is inextricably tied to that of the other. Those ties, often invisible to many—even to a generation or more of the city’s own residents and leaders—have come into much clearer focus following the 2005 and 2008 hurricane seasons and the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon blowout, an entirely manmade disaster. Those painfully acute catastrophes have combined with the chronic and largely induced collapse of coastal Louisiana, one of the continent’s greatest...

  7. PART 3. Building Resilience and Opportunity through Civil Society

    • 13 Building Data Capacity to Foster Resilient Communities
      (pp. 187-200)
      Allison Plyer and Elaine Ortiz

      Today data are an essential input to nearly every kind of decision made or action taken. To supply data that will inform a myriad of private sector activities as well as policy decisions, the federal government invests some $3 billion every year to support a dozen federal statistical agencies (and billions more every ten years to conduct the decennial census).¹ The volume of data publicly available from federal sources is so large that expertise is required to understand the totality of what is available, to identify the most appropriate data source for the decision at hand, and to know how...

    • 14 Rise of Community Organizations, Citizen Engagement, and New Institutions
      (pp. 201-219)
      Frederick Weil

      Following Hurricane Katrina, observers worried that New Orleans might continue on the path of citizen passivity, intercommunal conflict, and corruption that was a long-standing part of its reputation. Instead, observers have been struck by the outpouring of citizen engagement, the rise of new or reinvigorated community organizations, and the calls for government responsiveness.

      By many accounts, New Orleans had never developed a robust civil society in its long history before Hurricane Katrina.¹ Its elites were a closed group, its government was unresponsive, and most of its citizens swung between passivity and angry protest. As is typical of communities with closed...

    • 15 Plugging into the Power of Community: How Social Networks Energize Recovery
      (pp. 220-234)
      Ann Carpenter and Nancy Montoya

      In times of conflict, what qualities do residents value most in their communities? What qualities do they rely on for survival? The increasing magnitude of recent disasters has challenged the limits of resilience in communities along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in the United States, resulting in dispiriting obstacles to recovery. However, despite the extreme physical damage inflicted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a surprising number of Gulf Coast residents remained connected to their communities. By nurturing those connections, residents were able to use them to help determine whether or not to return and, in most cases, to recommit to...

    • 16 Interracial Alliance Building in a Resilient New Orleans
      (pp. 235-246)
      Jasmine Waddell, Silas Lee and Breonne DeDecker

      The rebuilding and recovery process after hurricanes Katrina and Rita was a catalyst for conceptual changes in the discussion and analysis of planning for resilient communities in the context of place, race, and class.¹ Factors that improve resiliency capacity include low poverty rates, income equality, civic engagement, and social trust, to name a few.² The 2005 disasters illuminated the need for the Gulf Coast region to develop an agenda that reflects its demographic diversity and entrenched poverty. In this chapter we make a case for interracial alliances, in particular between African Americans and Hispanics, as a key ingredient for creating...

    • 17 Leadership for a More Equitable Louisiana
      (pp. 247-259)
      James A. Joseph, Lance C. Buhl, Richard L. McCline and Leslie Williams

      Louisiana’s great challenge is to overcome the enormous physical and psychic problems created by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in ways that serve all its people over the long run. To succeed, Louisiana—indeed, any jurisdiction aiming to increase the effectiveness and scope of its service to constituents—urgently requires leaders who emulate consistently the qualities that Nelson Mandela exhibited in leading the anti-apartheid struggle and in serving as first president of the new South Africa (1994–99). He led both during the “storm” of protracted battle over starkly opposing definitions of justice—and did so twenty-seven years of that time...

    • 18 The Role of Philanthropy in Reducing Vulnerability and Promoting Opportunity in the Gulf South
      (pp. 260-274)
      Ivye Allen, Linetta Gilbert and Alandra Washington

      The philanthropic sector responded in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in ways that government and the private sector were not well-equipped to respond. In less than one month, 90,000 square miles from Texas to Alabama had become ground zero for what would be the largest and costliest natural disaster in the United States.¹ Faced with this catastrophe, the philanthropic sector, defined in many different forms, responded with financial support, in-kind help, and personal involvement. At the time, organized philanthropy at all levels faced the difficult question of where to begin. How could philanthropic groups use their resources strategically...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 275-276)
  9. Index
    (pp. 277-294)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-296)