Richard Campanella discusses highlights from the After Katrina Conference
After Katrina, strength in a vibrant culture
November 20, 2013 8:45 AM
“My research is attempting to trace the ways in which post-Katrina New Orleans might offer a commentary on the contemporary United States,” said Hartnell.
“The conference confirmed my sense that studying post-Katrina New Orleans cannot remain a purely academic endeavor: It has to engage with the perspectives of artists, activists and organizers ‘on the ground’ who are directly experiencing the ways that the city has been reshaped after the storm.”
Ya Salaam pointed to the mental anguish that is still present in the community, with psychiatric units in hospitals running at capacity.
Panelists at the conference dissected propositions on how to repair a city that could still be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, despite the recent blossoming of the tourism and restaurant industries.
They questioned how to reconstruct New Orleans as a place to call “home,” and not an artificially preserved tourist destination, or as keynote speaker, Richard Campanella, a geographer and senior professor of practice in the School of Architecture, put it, “a Venetian-like boutique.”
Many speakers suggested that the answer lies in promoting safe and authentic cultural outlets, like street music, arts organizations and local businesses, in order to construct the fabric of a strong and vital community.
Elisabeth Morgan is a freelance writer living in New Orleans. She graduated from Tulane University in 2011 with a BA in French and English.
- Richard Campanella