Natural Hazards

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 355–364 | Cite as

Social memory and resilience in New Orleans

  • Craig E. Colten
  • Amy R. Sumpter
Original Paper


A key concept in resilience studies is that human societies can learn from hazard events and use their accumulated social memory to better contend with future catastrophes. This article explores the deliberate referral to historical records complied after Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and how they were used to prepare for tropical storms at the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Despite proclamations that Louisiana would not repeat its mistakes, hazards planners seriously neglected the historical record.


Resilience Social memory Hurricane Emergency preparations New Orleans Katrina 



This research was funded primarily by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Community and Regional Resilience Initiative. Clifford Duplechin provided the cartography.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and AnthropologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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