Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Resilience Social memory Hurricane Emergency preparations New Orleans Katrina 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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

References

  1. Adger WN (2000) Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Prog Hum Geogr 24(3):347–364. doi: 10.1191/030913200701540465 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adger WN, Hughes TP, Folke C, Carpenter SR, Rockstrom J (2005) Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science 308(August 12):1036–1039CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Airriess CA, Li W, Leong KJ, Chen AC, Keith VM (2007) Church-based social capital, networks and geographical scale: Katrina evacuation, relocation, and recovery in a New Orleans Vietnamese American community. Geoforum 39(3):1333–1346. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.11.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barredo JI (2007) Major flood disasters in Europe. Nat Hazards 42:125–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barry J (1997) Rising tide: the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Burby RJ (2006) Hurricane Katrina and the paradoxes of government disaster policy: bringing about wise government decisions for hazardous areas. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci 604:171–191. doi: 10.1177/0002716205284676 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burby RJ, Arthur CN, Thomas WS (2006) The problems of containment and the promise of planning. In: Birch EL, Wachter SM (eds) Rebuilding urban places after disaster: lessons from hurricane Katrina. University of Pennsylvania Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  8. Castonguay S (2007) The production of flood as a natural catastrophe: extreme events and the construction of vulnerability in the drainage basin of the St. Francis River. Environ Hist 12(4):820–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Colten CE (1992) Historical hazards: the geography of relict industrial wastes. Prof Geogr 42:143–156. doi: 10.1111/j.0033-0124.1990.00143.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Colten CE (2005) Unnatural metropolis: wresting New Orleans from nature. LSU Press, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  11. Colten CE (2006) Powerful storms and perilous place: hurricane protection in southeast Louisiana, 1947–2005. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of History, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  12. Colten CE (2007) Environmental justice in a landscape of tragedy. Technol Soc 29(2):173–179. doi: 10.1016/j.techsoc.2007.01.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Colten CE, Welch J (2003) Hurricane Betsy and its effects on the architectural integrity of the Bywater neighborhood (New Orleans, Louisiana). Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  14. Colten CE, Kates RW, Laska SL (forthcoming) Community resilience: lessons from New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Community and Regional Resilience Initiative, Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Cronon W (1992) A place for stories: nature, history and narrative. J Am Hist 78(4):1347–1376. doi: 10.2307/2079346 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cutter SL, Mitchell JT, Scott MS (2000) Revealing the vulnerability of people and places: a case study of Georgetown County, South Carolina. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 90(4):713–738. doi: 10.1111/0004-5608.00219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunn GE, Miller BI (1960) Atlantic hurricanes. Louisiana State University Press, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  18. Enfield GH, Tejedo IF, O’Hara SL (2004a) Drought and disputes, deluge and dearth: climatic variability and human response in colonial Oaxaca, Mexico. J Hist Geogr 30:249–276. doi: 10.1016/S0305-7488(03)00023-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Enfield GH, Tejedo IF, O’Hara SL (2004b) Conflict and cooperation: water, floods and social response in colonial Guanajuato, Mexico. Environ Hist 9(2):221–247. doi: 10.2307/3986085 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Federal Emergency Managent Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1994) Southeast Louisiana hurricane preparedness study. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New OrleansGoogle Scholar
  21. Folke C, Hahn T, Olsson P, Norbert J (2005) Adaptive governance of social ecological systems. Annu Rev Environ Resour 30:441–473. doi: 10.1146/annurev.energy.30.050504.144511 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Godschalk DR (2003) Urban hazard mitigation: creating resilient cities. Nat Hazards Rev 4:136–143. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)1527-6988(2003)4:3(136) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Graci et al. v. U.S. (1977) 435 F. Supp. 189Google Scholar
  24. Haas JE, Kates RW, Bowden MJ (1977) Reconstruction following disaster. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Haque CE, Etkin D (2007) People and community as constituent parts of hazards: the significance of societal dimension in hazards analysis. Nat Hazards 41:217–282Google Scholar
  26. Holling CS (1973) Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 4:1–23. doi: 10.1146/annurev.es.04.110173.000245 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. IEM (Innovative Emergency Management) (2004) Southeast Louisiana catastrophic hurricane functional plan (draft). IEM, Baton RougeGoogle Scholar
  28. Landphair J (2007) The forgotten people of New Orleans: community, vulnerability, and the Lower Ninth Ward. J Am Hist 94(3):837–845Google Scholar
  29. Mazmanian DA (1979) Can organizations change? Environmental protection, citizen participation and the Corps of Engineers. Brookings Institution, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  30. McIntosh RJ (2000) Social memory in Mande. In: McIntosh RJ, Tainter JA, McIntosh SK (eds) The way the wind blows: climate, history, and human action. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 141–180Google Scholar
  31. Meinig DW (1989) The historical geography imperative. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 79(1):79–87. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8306.1989.tb00251.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mileti D (1999) Disasters by design: a reassessment of natural hazards in the United States. Joseph Henry, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  33. NOCPC (New Orleans City Planning Commission) (1975) Coastal zone management plan 1975, vol 1. New Orleans City Planning Commission, New OrleansGoogle Scholar
  34. New Orleans Department of Sanitation (1965) Report on Hurricane Betsy. Department of Sanitation, New OrleansGoogle Scholar
  35. NOTP (New Orleans Times Picayune) (1965) Specific dates and pages indicated in textGoogle Scholar
  36. Pelling M (2003) The vulnerability of cities: natural disasters and social resilience. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Steinberg T (2000) Acts of god: the unnatural history of natural disaster in America. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Tobin GA, Montz BE (1997) Natural hazards: explanation and integration. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Turner BLII, Kasperson RE, Matson PA, McCarty JJ, Corell RW, Christensen L et al (2003) A framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100(14):8074–8079. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1231335100 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (2007) Performance evaluation of the New Orleans and southeast Louisiana hurricane protection system: final report of the interagency performance evaluation task force, vol III. https://ipet.wes.army.mil/
  41. USACE (1965) Report on Hurricane Betsy: 8–11 September 1965. USACE, New OrleansGoogle Scholar
  42. USACE (1972) Hurricane study: history of hurricane occurrences along coastal Louisiana. USACE, New Orleans District, New OrleansGoogle Scholar
  43. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives (1965) Hurricane Betsy disaster of September 1965. 89th Congress, 1st session. WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  44. U.S. Department of Commerce (1959) A model hurricane plan for a coastal community. Weather Bureau, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. U.S. Congress, Select Bipartisan Committee (2006) A failure of initiative. 109th Congress, 2nd sessions. WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  46. Vale LJ, Campanella TJ (2005) The resilient city: how modern cities recover from disaster. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. White GF (1945) Human adjustment to floods: a geographical approach to the flood problem in the United States. University of Chicago, Department of Geography, Research Paper 29, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  48. White GF, Calef WC, Hudson JW, Mayer HM, Shaeffer JR, Volk DJ (1958) Changes in urban occupance of flood plains in the United States. Department of Geography, University of Chicago, Research Paper 57, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  49. Wisner B, Blaikie P, Cannon T, Davis I (2004) At risk: natural hazards, people’s vulnerability, and disasters, 2nd edn. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations