Post-Katrina, New Orleans, Disaster studies
I recently took a group of students to New Orleans over our spring break for an interdisciplinary class on the relationships between space, culture, and media industries in cities. It was a trip that promised to be both wonderful and terrifying—wonderful in the sense of students living an embodied education of not only the history, politics, and culture of the city, but also of the sights, sounds, smells, and physical encounters that make up those histories, politics, and cultures; yet terrifying in the sense that the students might miss the significance of how these same sounds, sights, smells, and physical encounters speak to histories of inequity, injustice, and struggle that manifest themselves in renewed struggles over privatization, insecurity, and loss in the post-Katrina aftermath. Carrying Vincanne Adams’ book in my bag throughout the trip (as I was toting it around as a reminder of the need to complete this review) felt like more than the weight of the physical pages on my shoulder. The book weighed on me as a responsibility to ensure students understood the significance of what they were witnessing — that the seeds of ‘recovery’ we were seeing in New Orleans were part of what Adams refers to as a ‘second order disaster,’ one that ‘had its own logic and rationales that were nearly as deadly as those that produced the floods in the first place’ (Adams, 2013: 4). So as the students stumbled home from Bourbon or Frenchman Streets in the wee hours of morning, toting daiquiri cups and other signs that they were living the motto of les bon temps rouler, I took up their days trying to drive home the viciousness of neoliberal economics.
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Morgan Parmett, Helen, "Review of Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Fairth: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina by Vincanne Adams" (2014). Communication Studies. 2.