"The Special Committee on Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans Universities of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) finds that there was 'nearly universal departure from (or in some cases complete abandonment of) personnel and other policies' by five New Orleans institutions―the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, the University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, and Tulane University―as they contended with the disaster that befell the city and its universities.
"The report identifies several specific areas of widespread dereliction:
The number of faculty terminations 'exceeded the inescapable or minimal needs of the institution, sometimes substantially';
The notice and timing of personnel actions 'also failed to meet AAUP standards and created needless, even at times unconscionable, uncertainty';
Alternative placement of affected faculty 'universally fell below AAUP standards, but also fell short of the institutions' apparent capacity to mitigate the harshest effects of inevitable personnel reductions';
The opportunity for internal review of adverse judgments 'failed to meet most accepted standards of due process as well as the institutions' own established review procedures';
Faculty tenure (which all these institutions had previously recognized and by and large respected) 'received far less deference than AAUP policy and prior practice [on these campuses] would have required.'" —Press release
+Amy Liu, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program & Allison Plyer, Deputy Director, Greater New Orleans Nonprofit Knowledge Works, Brookings Institution and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, The New Orleans Index at Five (August 2010)
"Five years following Hurricane Katrina—a tragedy compounded and made more complex by the Great Recession and the current Gulf oil spill—new evidence shows that greater New Orleans is emerging as a healthier, more resilient region. Yet, this year’s New Orleans Index at Five, which combines comprehensive trends analyses with seven scholar essays on key post-Katrina reforms, reveals that much work lies ahead if this metropolis is to emerge with a stronger economy, better opportunities for its residents, and a more sustainable future. The Gulf oil spill creates an opportunity for New Orleanians, and their government, philanthropic and private sector partners, to build on the progress made since Katrina." (August 4, 2010)
"What follows is the story of the first year and the gigantic struggle to save and rebuild New Orleans and the right of its residents—those living here and those we organized as part of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association—to have a voice, and to insist in every way possible, whether through tears or screams, that New Orleans is their city. They must be heard, and they will return."—Introduction.
This special issue features articles on the economic loss impact of Hurricane Katrina. Contents include: Bradley T. Ewing, Jamie Brown Kruse & Daniel Sutter, An Overview of Hurricane Katrina and Economic Loss; William A. Carden, Sound and Fury: Rhetoric and Rebound after Katrina; Kivanc Kirgiz, Michelle Burtis & David A. Lunin, Petroleum-Refining Industry Business Interruption Losses due to Hurricane Katrina; Mark J. Kaiser, David E. Dismukes & Yunke Yu, The Value of Lost Production from the 2004-2005 Hurricane Seasons in the Gulf of Mexico; Mark A. Thompson, Hurricane Katrina and Economic Loss: An Alternative Measure of Economic Activity; Benjamin Kleidt, Dirk Schiereck & Christof Sigl-Grueb, Rationality at the Eve of Destruction: Insurance Stocks and Huge Catastrophic Events; Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma on Business Establishments; Mark A. Yanochik & Risa Kumazawa, Interest Rate Manipulation, Environmental Damage, and Loss Valuation; Douglas M. Walker & John D. Jackson, Katrina and the Gulf States Casino Industry; and Apoorv Dabral & Bradley T. Ewing, Analysis of Wind-Induced Economic Losses Resulting from Roof Damage to a Metal Building.
"Drawing on an analysis of New Orleans' recent development history, [this report] shows how the region's past development trends exacerbated the catastrophe, and suggests how the region might rise again on a better footing by undoing the mistakes of the past."—Executive Summary. Links from the URL above include the full 45-page report (PDF), the Executive Summary, and related resources.
Funded by an NSF grant, this project will "identify which communities were most affected [by Katrina and Rita], which will be rebuilt and how they will be different from before." The project will also "incorporate perspectives from environmental science and ecology."
"The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. George Mason University's Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History and other partners, organized this project.
"The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. We hope to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.
"This project builds on prior work by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media, and other partners such as the Library of Congress and the Red Cross, to collect and preserve history online, especially through the ECHO project and the September 11 Digital Archive. It is part of a growing practice of using the Internet to preserve the past through "digital memory banks." —Website.
"Just compensation is critical to post disaster recovery in the wake of a devastating flood, especially when prior shortcomings of the government might be partially to blame. Assessing the full extent of compensation given to private landowners may help for future disaster flood recovery and planning. Despite profound geographic, demographic, and legal differences between France, Louisiana, and California a comparison of their post-disaster compensation models proves useful to identify past, present, and future models of a similar problem of postflood redevelopment compensation outside of private insurance schemes.
"Inquiring into eminent domain concepts surrounding just compensation principles in France, Louisiana, and California provides a framework for addressing post-disaster homeowner compensation. France supplies a model that demonstrates strong flood disaster prevention and land use planning measures alongside a full recovery compensation scheme. In contrast, Louisiana and California do not have explicit disaster compensation frameworks. Existing Louisiana law offers an existing legal and moral framework that can be applied by the state entity currently deliberating on post-disaster compensation program. California, on the other hand, currently offers the most unforgiving compensation scheme, but also has the time to adopt tailored flood compensation and planning principles."—Abstract.
"As of mid-June 2006, FEMA alone has spent $19 billion on emergency relief to victims, of which Congressional auditors now claim at least $2 billion (nearly 11 percent) represents wasteful, unjustified, or fraudulent spending. But this is only part of the story. Most of the money spent has been on massively expensive and gravely flawed plans to shelter evacuees in mobile homes and travel trailers."
"This report provides the first full picture of who lived in New Orleans and its region after the hurricanes of 2005, and what types of residents moved in, stayed, or remained displaced one year after the storm. This analysis is critical for moving beyond speculation to informed assessments about how best to serve both existing and displaced households in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita."—Press Release
The legal publisher BNA makes its Web Watch available for free. This posting includes links to federal government agencies and legislation, GAO reports, and a House committee report.
+Green, Stuart P., Looting, Law, and Lawlessness(provided by: SSRN) (Tulane Law Review, Vol. 81, Hurricane Katrina Symposium Issue, 2007) (PDF — 381K)
"As recent incidents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have illustrated, the moral content of looting spans a wide continuum: At one end are predatory and exploitative acts that seem deserving of even greater punishment than ordinary acts of burglary and larceny. At the other end are cases of necessity, involving otherwise law-abiding citizens who, as a result of forces beyond their control, find themselves hungry and exposed to the elements. In between these two poles lies a wide range of conduct that often involves impoverished and alienated citizens living on the edges of society, encouraged to engage in lawlessness by powerful group dynamics and the apparent suspension of civil order.
"This article begins by examining the various meanings - both literal and metaphorical - of looting. It then considers the factors that make bad looting so bad, and good looting less so. With respect to the latter, it considers the possibility that: (1) the disruption in normal social order might leave defendants in a state of nature, outside the jurisdictional reach of the court; (2) the defendant's criminal acts were necessary to avoid some greater harm from occurring; and (3) the otherwise law-abiding offender, suffering from a combination of fright, fatigue, hunger, exposure, and disorientation, should be at least partially excused on the grounds that his acts were out of character.
"The article concludes by considering some of the practical implications of the foregoing analysis, including the suggestion by various commentators that the proper response to looters is to shoot them on sight. It argues that such a policy would be profoundly misguided, both because the criminal law should not tolerate the disproportionate use of deadly force in response to what is essentially a property crime, and because of the obvious difficulties of distinguishing between bad and good looting, particularly under the kinds of emergency conditions in which such acts are committed."—Abstract.
"In the immediate aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the affected countries and their respective governments and civil society organisations had an opportunity to draw upon, and should have used existing humanitarian and human rights instruments to ensure that the dignity of those that survived is upheld. ... "The intention of this compilation is to draw attention to some of the numerous existing international human rights instruments, including guidelines adopted by UN agencies that should form the basis for ongoing post-tsunami rehabilitation work. The standards provided for in these instruments could be used to ensure that a human-rights-based approach is upheld and not compromised in the multiple agendas of competing relief agencies. These standards must also be used to spread learning and education amongst all actors involved in the post-tsunami efforts such that everyone works for the same purpose: the speedy attainment of human rights for all who are affected."—Foreword, Miloon Kothari.
"This house-to-house survey of people living in the New Orleans area examines the ongoing struggles of residents seeking to recover from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, including a detailed look at differences in views and experiences by race. Designed and analyzed by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation, the survey provides a portrait of the enormous needs of the population in order to inform recovery efforts and policy development on the Gulf Coast and in Washington.
"The survey of people living in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes documents the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina and the failure to respond quickly and effectively to it has had on the economic well-being, physical and mental health, and personal lives of the people of the New Orleans area. The survey also found a sharp divide in the way that African Americans and whites in the New Orleans area experienced the storm and perceive the recovery efforts, especially in hard-hit Orleans Parish. Future Kaiser surveys are planned in 18 months and 36 months to monitor progress and changes."
See also a related survey brief based on the data from this 2006 survey, The Future of New Orleans: Young Adults in the Greater New Orleans Area.
This article begins with a critical account of what occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This critique serves as the backdrop for a discussion of whether there are international laws or norms that give poor, black Katrina victims the right to return to and resettle in New Orleans. In framing this discussion, this article first briefly explores some of the housing deprivations suffered by Katrina survivors that have led to widespread displacement and dispossession. The article then discusses two of the chief barriers to the return of poor blacks to New Orleans: the broad perception of a race-crime nexus and the general effect of the imposition of outsider status on poor, black people by dominant groups. Finally, the article explores the international law concept of the right of return and its expression as a domestic, internal norm via standards addressing internally displaced persons, and considers how such a domestic right of return might be applicable to the Katrina victims."
"In August, September and October of 2005, the Monthly Surveys of Consumers fielded by the
University of Michigan included questions about the happiness of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. The date of each interview is known. Looking at the data week by week, reported happiness dipped significantly in the first week of September, after the seriousness of the damage done by Katrina became clear.... These results illustrate the potential of high-frequency happiness data to yield information about preferences over regional, national and international conditions by indicating the magnitude of the good or bad news conveyed by events."—Abstract.
"The 13th Amendment ban on involuntary servitude has new relevance as the U.S. grapples with national emergencies such as catastrophic hurricanes, flu pandemics, and terrorism. This Article considers work refusal and coerced work performance in life-threatening employment contexts. Overwhelmed by fear, hundreds of police officers and health care workers abandoned their jobs during Hurricane Katrina. Postal clerks worked against their will without masks in facilities with anthrax. A report by Congress worries that avian flu will cause sick and frightened medical personnel to stay away from work, thus jeopardizing a coherent response to a crisis.
"How far can the U.S. go in forcing reluctant civilians to perform essential jobs during a national emergency? I explore solutions to this question by hypothesizing a large release of radiation - whether by terror attack, or catastrophic accident, or major earthquake - in a vital Pacific port. These ports have a history of work stoppages that disrupt the nation's economy. I examine federal government responses if dock workers refused assignments until conditions were safe: (1) The President could declare a national emergency labor dispute under the Taft-Hartley Act, and seek an 80-day back-to-work injunction. (2) Congress could re-enact Section 8 of the War Labor Disputes Act, making it unlawful for dock workers to discontinue production for 30 days and subjecting violators to coercive damages. (3) The president could issue strong executive orders, backed by imprisonment, that regulate employment in ports.
"At the heart of my analysis, I ask: Would any of these responses violate the Thirteenth Amendment ban on involuntary servitude? Congress and the judiciary have broadened this law, and its enforcement counterpart in 18 U.S.C. ? 1584, beyond the abolition of African slave-holding. The Supreme Court in Kozminski defined involuntary servitude as forcing a person to work by physical or legal coercion.
"But the Supreme Court created 13th Amendment exceptions for transportation work. Robertson upholds a law that bars merchant seamen from quitting work, and imprisons deserters. Butler permits states to conscript citizens to work on highways, on pain of imprisonment. Dock work is similar because ports integrate ships and trucks in a transportation hub. Courts now apply these precedents to new compulsory activities, such as mandatory public service for graduation. Moreover, Kozminski reaffirmed Robertson and Butler as precedents.
"Thus, the Constitution would be unlikely to shield dock workers from involuntary labor. This has troubling implications for employees who have recently worked in national emergencies, and may do so again. Employees who work to alleviate avian flu or other catastrophic health threats are also at risk for compulsory labor that exposes them to extraordinary hazards.
"I conclude with a legislative proposal to strengthen individual rights. As my research shows, courts that are presented with national emergency disputes rarely side with the individual who stands in the way of the public's welfare. Without a more balanced labor policy to address emerging crises, the nation may realize belatedly that when we allow fundamental freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of real or perceived emergency, we invariably come to regret it." —Abstract.
"Section 502 of the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA) allows employees to stop working if they face 'abnormally dangerous conditions,' and a rule under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act creates an employee right to refuse work because of 'apprehension of death or injury.' Using a hypothetical scenario, I show that neither law would assist emergency workers who lack protective gear while responding to a terror attack.
"I propose an NLRB rule to strengthen Section 502, a 1947 law that is dormant but appropriate for these abnormal workplace dangers. Although part of my proposal draws on the experiences of 9/11, it is mainly founded on fundamental changes in job duties and government employment regulations that recognize a permanent threat to domestic security. The growing list of affected occupations includes dockworkers and doctors, subway and airport workers, power plant and postal employees, and more. However, my proposal excludes police, firefighters, and most paramedics. They perform immediate lifesaving services, and in any event, are excluded from the NLRB's jurisdiction because they are public employees.
"My proposal draws from the fruitless experience of appellate court decisions on Section 502. This caselaw is conflicted because courts disagree as to whether an employee must present proof in fact of an extreme risk, or be motivated by good faith belief. My proposal is also based on the intent of the drafters of Section 502. The two sponsors of this law were Republican senators who strongly opposed union interests. However, when proposing this law in the midst of enacting strike controls, they said 'it would be very unfair and very unjust to employees in any industry to penalize them, if, because of abnormal or unusually dangerous conditions, they should refrain from working.'
"Using evidence from recent GAO reports and other studies, I show that new types of emergency workers are poorly trained and equipped. For the few who train for a cataclysmic attack, their simulations are unrealistic. These employees— who, in their routine jobs do little or no life-threatening work— are not trained for their own fear and panic. Thus, there is too little attention to the possibility that these essential workers will refuse orders when their lives are endangered.
"By breathing life into Section 502, the NLRB would join the large circle of federal and state agencies that are currently immersed in this emergency planning. The purpose of my Article is not to spare a few careers that might otherwise be lost in a poor response to an attack. If these newly designated or de facto emergency workers are not extended a work refusal right, their employers will continue to be lax in improving protective equipment, communication systems, bio-terror inoculations, and work procedures. In the final analysis, proper training and protection of these new emergency workers is essential to deter, prevent, respond to, and mitigate an attack." —Abstract.
"This paper will review the federal, state, and local response to date as it relates to the important goal of creating a better New Orleans. This paper does not attempt to review every decision made on every aspect of the recovery, but instead tries to highlight areas of priority.
"The paper will begin with a quick overview of the federal, state, and local roles to date on post-Katrina recovery.
"It will then evaluate how well the overall recovery response has performed in meeting the three goals of a creating a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous New Orleans. In each of these goals, the paper reviews pre-Katrina conditions in New Orleans and puts forth a vision for the future. It then highlights those areas of meaningful progress at the federal, state, and local levels in support of those goals and closes with an action plan to further the recovery progress."—Introduction.
"This report begins by introducing the concept of a continuum of housing needs following a disaster. Displaced families' needs range from emergency shelter to temporary and permanent housing. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has primary responsibility for coordinating disaster relief efforts and providing certain services to help communities recover, other federal agencies, including HUD, also play an important role."—Summary.
+Peek, Lori (Editor), Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design, Special Issue: Children and Disasters Children, Youth and Environments Journal, v. 18, no.1 (2008)
This special issue includes a collection of 20 papers from around the world, 4 book reviews, a media review and and an annotated compilation of resources focusing on children and youth before, during and after disasters occur.
"The report, "Building a Better New Orleans: Hope Needs Help," highlights the tremendous strides made by some of the city's most vulnerable people and showcases the folks who helped make that progress possible. But the report also calls on the federal government, the private sector, and the public to do more to get New Orleans the help it needs to create a truly vibrant and equitable city."—-Press Release
"The awareness of federal, state and local governments of the potential for levees in New Orleans to fail and decimate poor neighborhoods of the city was widely reported following the hurricane Katrina disaster. Demographics in the areas likely to incur the most severe damage were known to be neighborhoods of predominately poor, black residents. In addition to understanding the likely geographical impact of the impending disaster, the federal government was aware of the extensive social science and legal challenges detailing the likelihood of minority citizens to experience the worst consequences and slowest recovery from natural disasters. Studies dating back to the 1950s and numerous reports of the Red Cross support this conclusion. FEMA itself was sued in federal court for its inadequate response to marginalized communities during hurricane Andrew in 1992. While the federal government may not be held legally responsible for its discretionary policies within the disaster relief context, the horror of hurricane Katrina surely calls for a long overdue re-thinking of the federal approach to assisting marginalized communities in disaster recovery. Social science, the practical problems raised within legal challenges, as well as successful strategies from other disasters and even within the Katrina tragedy offer numerous opportunities for such reform."—Abstract.