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Displaced New Orleans Residents in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: Results from a Pilot Survey

Publication Abstract

Sastry, Narayan. 2009. "Displaced New Orleans Residents in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: Results from a Pilot Survey." Organization and Environment, 22(4): 395-409.

This article introduces us to the complexities of conducting social scientific research in a major urban disaster zone and reports on results from the most systematic survey at the time aimed at tracking the whereabouts of pre-Katrina residents during the first year of recovery, the Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Survey. This survey drew an area-probability sample of pre-Katrina dwellings and set out to interview the residents approximately 12 months after the storm, when educated guesses placed the New Orleans's city population at roughly half its pre-Katrina total. Results confirm that early returnees tended to be disproportionately White, elderly, better educated, and far less likely to have homes rendered uninhabitable by the disaster. These patterns begin to show how demographic processes triggered by the disaster exacerbated existing inequalities in the region, allowing more advantaged residents to return while leaving less advantaged residents dispersed across numerous destinations.

DOI:10.1177/1086026609347183 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2846814. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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