Joplin is heralded as a model of successful recovery following the 2011 tornado that killed 161 people and damaged or destroyed over 8,000 structures, a third of the city’s built environment. The process of recovery benefited enormously from survivor narratives and community organization that were readily identifiable and relatable. For the almost entirely middleclass nuclear families in the effected areas of the city, their recovery process used language and organizing activities that aligned fairly smoothly with outside organizations’ existing templates for reconstruction and support. These commonalities were cultural. Highlighting the specificity of Joplin’s success is neighboring Duquesne. The town’s more economically diverse population shared the same tornado devastation and recovery programs, but not the same smooth recovery outcomes.