Abstract

Hurricane Katrina constitutes the most costly natural as well as technology-induced disaster, in terms of both human suffering and financial loss in the history of the United States. Even years later, it continues to profoundly impact the livelihoods and the mental and physical health of those who have experienced evacuation and return and those who have begun lives anew elsewhere. Our study focuses on these geographical processes associated with the Katrina disaster experiences of African Americans and Vietnamese Americans comprising an overwhelming majority (93.4 percent) of residents in a racially mixed pre-Katrina eastern New Orleans neighborhood. We examine the spatial morphology of routes, volumes, and frequencies of evacuees; their return rates and experiences; and rationales and motivations to return or stay. The conceptual framework is based on the disaster migration, place attachment, and social network literature. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence indicates that the evacuation and return experiences of each minority group substantially differed, especially among African American women, and this was strongly influenced by existing social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-118
Number of pages16
JournalProfessional Geographer
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2010

Keywords

  • African American
  • Evacuation and return
  • Katrina
  • New Orleans
  • Vietnamese American

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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