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The Next 10 Years, a Panel Discussion featuring Faculty member Richard Campanella and Ramiro Diaz, TSA '00

Senior Professor of Practice, Richard Campanella publishes two articles on New Orleans after the storm

"A Katrina Lexicon - How we talk about a disaster so monumental we can’t agree on what to call it," Places Journal

Disasters, which by definition are social experiences, invigorate the human need to communicate. This is clearly the case during the rescue phase, when mismatched radio frequencies or murmurs from beneath the rubble can spell the difference between life and death. But our speech grows even more trenchant during the recovery and rebuilding phases, as grievances are addressed, restitutions (if any) are negotiated, claims to victimhood are laid (or questioned), and players maneuver for position in a supposed zero-sum game, where one’s successful recompense lowers the chances of another’s. This agitated discourse yields a vocabulary of names, idioms, metaphors, acronyms, jargon, rhetorical devices, and narratives — few of them universally shared and many ferociously contested even years later.

Here I examine the lexicon of Hurricane Katrina during its first ten years as a “spoken language” — a dialect — of greater New Orleans and the Gulf South region of the United States, with an emphasis on how speakers have disputed the naming (onomatology) of the incident, how they have crafted metaphors and other linguistic devices to discuss post-trauma topics, and how people outside of the victim/stakeholder population have used Katrina rhetorically to advance other agendas. As a geographer who has studied and written about New Orleans for two decades as well as a New Orleanian who witnessed the catastrophe and participated in the recovery, I have played the roles of speaker, documenter, and coiner of the Katrina lexicon. I am well aware that the writing of this article requires that I hopscotch between and among these roles, and in some cases that I “resolve” the very linguistic tensions I present as unresolved, including the use of the word “Katrina” in the title... Full Article Here

"The Laissez Faire Rebuilding Strategy Was Exactly That,” New Geography Journal

Urban risk may be understood as a function of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability.1 In metro New Orleans, Katrina-like storm surges constitute the premier hazard (threat); the exposure variable entails human occupancy of hazard-prone spaces; and vulnerability implies the ability to respond resiliently and adaptively—which itself is a function of education, income, age, social capital, and other factors—after having been exposed to the hazard.

This essay measures the extent to which, after the catastrophic deluge triggered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, residents of metro New Orleans have shifted their settlement patterns and how these movements may affect future urban risk.2 What comes to light is that, at least in terms of residential settlement geographies, the laissez faire rebuilding strategy for flooded neighborhoods proved to be exactly that... Full Article Here

The Great Katrina Footprint Debate 10 years later: Richard Campanella

By Richard Campanella 

In the heady aftermath of the Katrina deluge, New Orleanians grappled with the possibility that certain neighborhoods would be expropriated for green space and their city's urban footprint "shrunk." As a participant-observer in that debate, I penned a guest editorial for The Times-Picayune in April 2006 that aimed to capture the range of arguments. 

At one end, I wrote, were the "abandonists," who contended greater New Orleans wasgeophysically unsustainable and, as one geologist put it, we best "cut our losses now and move ... to higher ground." This side usually argued from a purely scientific stance, and put little thought into the implications or alternatives to abandoning a city.

At the opposite end were those who advocated for maintaining the entire urban footprint at all costs. Seeing this debate as primarily a social question, "maintainers" argued that everyone had a right to return, and that adequate levees could and should be built around everyone... Full Article Here

Architecture Faculty and Alumni Featured in Architectural Record Article on Post-Katrina New Orleans

Several faculty members and alumni are quoted in an article on in-demand cities in the October 2014 edition of Architectural Record. These include Richard Campanella, Senior Professor of Practice; Maurice Cox, Director of the Tulane City Center (TCC) and Associate Dean for Community Engagement; Jeff Hebert, Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and adjunct faculty in the Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development (MSRED) program; and Neal Morris, former MSRED faculty member and Loeb Fellow; and School of Architecture alumni Wayne Troyer AIA, TSA ’83; and Eric Kronberg TSA '97.

Architectural Record:

The report's in! Preservation Matters III

Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Tulane School of Architecture Geographer Richard Campanella's proceedings report for Preservation Matters III: The Economics of Authenticity, a symposium co-hosted this April by Tulane's Master of Preservation Studies program and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. Read what the dynamic and nationally-renowned speakers had to say about sustainable development, historic preservation's role in economic development initiatives, the future of New Orleans' urban built environment, and more.

Download the Report

Tulane professor pens scholarly book on Bourbon Street

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Arthur Nead

Richard Campanella’s new book, Bourbon Street: A History, is the first truly scholarly work about the French Quarter street that has become for millions worldwide a symbol—for better or worse—of the culture of New Orleans.

Campanella, a Tulane School of Architecture professor, traces the history of Bourbon Street starting with the surveying of the city’s street plan and following its evolution from a quiet residential thoroughfare to the object of heated controversies about local culture and the images that New Orleans ought to project.

“The first inflection point in Bourbon Street’s trajectory from normalcy to deviancy occurred in the 1860s, on the heels of the Civil War,” explains Campanella, “when middle- and upper-class residents departed the inner city and elements of the nocturnal entertainment scene established themselves in and around the upper French Quarter.” 

Then with the closure of Storyville in 1917, the nighttime scene began to shift back toward Bourbon Street. “Bourbon seized it by landing one of the first modern 'nightclubs,' Maxime’s, which welcomed couples and parlayed perfectly into the ‘dating’ and speakeasy scene of the 1920s Prohibition Era,” Campanella says.

“The third major inflection point was World War II, when millions of war workers and troops transited through New Orleans and gravitated to the cluster of bars and clubs that had gathered on Bourbon,” according to Campanella. “After WWII, Bourbon gained—and kept—national fame, and increasingly, local infamy.”

“I’m intrigued that people either love or hate Bourbon Street,” Campanella says. “I hope that readers come to discover, as I did, that there are some fascinating—and in my mind, vindicating, aspects—to Bourbon Street.Places Journal recently published an excerpt from my book, a chapter entitled 'Hating Bourbon Street.' In the various tweets that circulated in response, one person wrote, ‘Didn't think anyone could ever sway my disdain for Bourbon Street, but @nolacampanella has managed to.’ I liked that.”


Richard Campanella discusses highlights from the After Katrina Conference

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After Katrina, strength in a vibrant culture

November 20, 2013 8:45 AM

Elisabeth Morgan

“What is life without a home? And how long does it take to grow a new one?” asked writer and filmmaker Kalumu ya Salaam at the conference, After Katrina: Transnational Perspectives on the Futures of the Gulf Coast, held on the Tulane University uptown campus on Friday (Nov. 15).  

Sponsored by the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and organized by Anna Hartnell, a visiting scholar from the University of London, the daylong conference brought together local activists, artists, lawyers and academics. 

“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.
“It’s an insane society that doesn’t provide for its own mental health,” said Ya Salaam.

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.



Readers of this forum have probably heard rumors of gentrification in post-Katrina New Orleans. Residential shifts playing out in the Crescent City share many commonalities with those elsewhere, but also bear some distinctions and paradoxes. I offer these observations from the so-called Williamsburg of the South, a neighborhood called Bywater.

Gentrification arrived rather early to New Orleans, a generation before the term was coined. Writers and artists settled in the French Quarter in the 1920s and 1930s, drawn by the appeal of its expatriated Mediterranean atmosphere, not to mention its cheap rent, good food, and abundant alcohol despite Prohibition. Initial restorations of historic structures ensued, although it was not until after World War II that wealthier, educated newcomers began steadily supplanting working-class Sicilian and black Creole natives.

By the 1970s, the French Quarter was largely gentrified, and the process continued downriver into the adjacent Faubourg Marigny (a historical moniker revived by Francophile preservationists and savvy real estate agents) and upriver into the Lower Garden District (also a new toponym: gentrification has a vocabulary as well as a geography). It progressed through the 1980s-2000s but only modestly, slowed by the city’s abundant social problems and limited economic opportunity. New Orleans in this era ranked as the Sun Belt’s premier shrinking city, losing 170,000 residents between 1960 and 2005. The relatively few newcomers tended to be gentrifiers, and gentrifiers today are overwhelmingly transplants. I, for example, am both, and I use the terms interchangeably in this piece... Full Article HERE