The Long Road Back: Signal Noise in the Post-Katrina Context

The Independent Institute, Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2008

See all articles by Emily Chamlee-Wright

Emily Chamlee-Wright

Beloit College - Department of Economics and Management


On August 29, 2005, the nation watched as Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, inflicting more than $100 billion of property damage across broad swaths of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama and ultimately claiming more than 1,600 lives (Franklin 2006; McMillan 2006). In the wake of this catastrophic destruction, hopeful signs of community resilience appeared. Within days of the storm, many residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast had come home and begun to rebuild. Soon after floodwaters had receded from devastated St. Bernard Parish, district officials announced they would reopen a school by November 14 and pledged to serve any child who returned to the community. In New Orleans East, members of the Vietnamese American community organized to gut, clean, and restore their homes and businesses, despite being told by city officials that it was unlikely they would be allowed to rebuild. Impressive as these and other efforts were, however, one cannot help but ask why, despite the community resilience visible in some areas, the overall pace of recovery has been so desperately slow.

Keywords: Post-Disaster Recovery, Signal Noise, Redevelopment Planning

Suggested Citation

Chamlee-Wright, Emily, The Long Road Back: Signal Noise in the Post-Katrina Context. The Independent Institute, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Emily Chamlee-Wright (Contact Author)

Beloit College - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

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