Planning for Diaspora: New Orleans Before and After the Hurricanes

By Barbara Eckstein.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To plan for New Orleans and its exiled population requires placing this diaspora in the context of other diasporas. A 1990s intra-metro diaspora is offered as a telling example.

Keywords: Diaspora, New Orleans, HOPE-VI, St. Thomas Public Housing Development, American Routes

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp.23-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 766.462KB).

Barbara Eckstein

For the last decade I have been studying the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. My specific interest is the connection between what is sustained in local and outsiders' memories about the city and the sustainability of the city as environmental scientists, economists, and workers for social justice would understand that term. The result has been a book called Sustaining New Orleans: Literature, Local Memory, and the Fate of a City. While it is tempting to think of culture--story, music, food...--as having a healing effect, I argue that story and other elements of culture participate for good and ill in the fate of a place. I show this to be the case in New Orleans considering the interaction of popular literature set in the city, folklore, and particular material problems and responses to them. Ironically, poignantly, this book was completed just six months before the hurricanes that devastated the city and was published (Routledge) two months after the hurricane. The book's argument for the importance of local metis--local knowledge, local memory, local skills--is all the more necessary, I believe.

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