PROBLEMATIC RECOVERY

Hurricane Katrina, 2005
St. Bernard Parish
New Orleans, LA
USA

Problematic Recovery

To recover their lives after Katrina, many African Americans from St. Bernard Parish relocated to the 240 square-foot trailers provided by FEMA. Very large families rooted to the area for generations, comprised dozens and sometimes hundreds of related individuals living in close proximity. But their style of family organization did not fit into FEMA’s recovery template. There were no communal spaces for them to gather, share food, stories, and childcare. Nowhere to circulate essential information and renew bonds of interdependence. The resulting cultural blow led to widespread suffering–physical, mental, and emotional. These consequences also lengthened by years the time it took people to recover.