Abstract

The flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005 uncovered critical issues in local, state, and national strategies for emergency preparedness and disaster relief. The Katrina disaster reveals the persistent racial inequality and economic disparities in American society. This paper examines the pre-Katrina socio-spatial configuration of the African-American and Vietnamese-American communities in an eastern New Orleans suburb. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data and compare the two groups, our study reveals media are the first and foremost information sources for both groups. Many Katrina victims evacuated more than once, some not with their families during their first and subsequent relocations. However, the communities mobilized to provide intra- and inter-group self-help among families and relatives, friends and neighbors, while receiving assistance from community organizations, religious institutions, and the government. Compared to African Americans, there were higher percentages of Vietnamese Americans learning about Katrina's impending landfall from government sources, evacuating before Katrina's landfall, and being more satisfied with assistance provided by the government. Those who are lacking in English skills reported more difficulties compared to their co-ethnics. These findings lead to several policy recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-286
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Fingerprint

African American
mobilization
disaster
assistance
disaster relief
community
national strategy
self-help group
self help
community organization
move
study group
relocation
quantitative method
suburb
qualitative method
hurricane
flooding
Group
learning

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Evacuation
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • New Orleans
  • Vietnamese Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Surviving Katrina and its aftermath : Evacuation and community mobilization by Vietnamese Americans and African Americans. / Li, Wei; Airriess, Christopher; Chen, Angela; Leong, Karen; Keith, Verna M.; Adams, Karen.

In: Journal of Cultural Geography, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2008, p. 263-286.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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