News Release: Faculty Experts

Aug. 13,  2010

Katrina Fifth Anniversary: Emory Experts Address Issues

Hurricane Katrina, one of the costliest and deadliest disasters in U.S. history, left a wake of destruction in August 2005 along the Gulf of Mexico coast and the city of New Orleans underwater. At the fifth anniversary mark, Emory faculty experts are available to offer insight and perspective on where New Orleans is today and what remains to be done in rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, housing and culture. 

Mississippi Gulf Coast, Memory and Reflection

Natasha Trethewey Natasha Trethewey

Renowned poet Natasha Trethewey's new book, "Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," is her very personal profile of the Gulfport, Miss., area where she grew up, and the people and family there whose lives were changed forever by the storm.

Trethewey, who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her collection "Native Guard," is renowned for writing about the idea of home and memory. She holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory. She is available to discuss "Beyond Katrina" and her experiences.

Video Natasha Trethwey Discusses 'Beyond Katrina'

Video Natasha Trethewey Reads From 'Beyond Katrina''

Trethewey on NPR's "Fresh Air": Mississippi Meditation: A Poet Looks 'Beyond Katrina'

Mental Health, Coping and Resiliency

Nadine Kaslow Nadine Kaslow

Nadine Kaslow, professor and vice-chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, is an expert on helping families cope during times of tragedy. Kaslow says that we have seen tremendous resilience and psychological strength in people whose lives were touched by Katrina, despite the fact that there have been inadequate mental health resources, and they are a testament to human potential. For those who are still struggling with mental health symptoms, particularly with the added tragedy of the oil spill, there are many helpful, evidence-based health interventions that Kaslow can explain.

Politics, NOLA Index, Public Policy and Public Housing Reform

Michael Leo Owens Michael Leo Owens

Emory political scientist Michael Leo Owens is an urban politics and public policy expert.  He is the author of "God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America." Owens keeps a sharp eye on the "NOLA Index," which has come out every year since Hurricane Katrina. The index chronicles the changes taking place in New Orleans, and Owens says he sees some positive developments.

He can discuss the politics of New Orleans, public policy and public housing reform in the city, redevelopment challenges and the problem with federalism. He organized the "Storms of Inequality: Remembering Katrina and Rita as Political, Racial and Social Disasters" panel discussion for the forthcoming 2010 Meeting of the American Political Science Association in early September.

Video Michael Leo Owens: What We've Learned Since Katrina

Public Health, Mental Health and Emergency Preparedness

Linda McCauley Linda McCauley

Linda McCauley, dean of Emory's Nell Hogdson Woodruff School of Nursing and a renowned environmental health expert, can address the mental health issues related to Katrina and the public health infrastructure in that region. She is frequently asked to serve in an advisory role on national panels examining the impact of environmental threats on health, most recently in an Institute of Medicine workshop exploring the long- and short-term health effects of the Gulf Oil disaster.

Video Linda McCauley: Short- and Long-Term Health Impact of the Gulf Oil Disaster


Nursing professor Linda Spencer, is an expert in emergency preparedness and public health.  She received the highest award from the American Red Cross for her relief efforts post-Katrina, including her work as a Red Cross responder in Atlanta for Katrina evacuees.

Preparing for the Worst: Nurses on the Front Line (PDF 1.02 MB)

New Orleans History and Culture, Impact of Katrina

Leslie Harris Leslie Harris

Emory historian and New Orleans native Leslie Harris is the founder of the New Orleans Research Collaborative and author of a forthcoming memoir about her family’s history in the city from 1965-2005. In the book, she seeks to explain and understand the storm and its aftermath.

She started the New Orleans Research Collaborative with other academics to "have deeper conversations about [the city's] issues and a deeper understanding of New Orleans."  Harris can discuss the history of New Orleans, the issue of "white flight," how the city has changed since the storm, and why she feels New Orleans won’t go back to the way it was.

Video Leslie Harris on the New Orleans Research Collaborative and forthcoming memoir

Community Building, Gulf Opportunity Zones

Michael Rich Michael Rich

Emory political scientist Michael Rich is one of the foremost experts on community building, poverty, public housing and gentrification in the country. He also is director of Emory’s Office of University-Community Partnerships. He did research in the aftermath of Katrina on "Gulf Opportunity Zones" and federal tax incentives, and can discuss community building, public policy and poverty as it relates to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.


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