New Orleans after Katrina: Alternate Visions of Justice

John R. Logan, Brown University

This paper uses the views of people who have returned as one prism through which to understand what is at stake in the planning process in New Orleans. It is organized around what residents consider to be their rightful expectations about the society’s treatment of them and their neighborhoods. These fit into a framework of self-interest (the view that “I” have a right to return and that I should be made whole for the failures of government that were exposed by Katrina) and community interest (the view that not every neighborhood should be rebuilt but mine should upgraded). The paper will place these views in the context of a city whose black neighborhoods were disproportionately impacted, and where socially “neutral” policies – such as concentrating public investments and infrastructure in less damaged zones and restricting development in low-lying areas – have evident racial and class implications.

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Presented in Session 34: Impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Populations of the Affected Areas