"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
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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