Constructions of Resilience: Ethnoracial Diversity, Inequality, and Post-Katrina Recovery, the Case of New Orleans
In this paper, we draw on multi-level census data, in-depth interviews, ethnographic and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) methods to examine the effects of median household income, ethnoracial diversity, and flood damage on rates of post-Katrina repopulation in New Orleans. Our main finding is that New Orleans neighborhoods have been experiencing modest increases in ethnoracial diversity as well as a retrenchment of socio-spatial inequalities, as measured by low diversity scores, low median household income levels, and high poverty rates. In addition to documenting the objective indicators of “recovery”, we draw attention to the socially constructed nature of resilience. Based on interviews and ethnographic field observations, we investigate how resident constructions of resilience shape their views of the post-Katrina recovery process, provide a compelling and reassuring story of community revitalization, and convey a sense of collective power and control despite continued vulnerability to hazards and disasters.
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