Ten years ago, the outside world watched television screens in horror as Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and ravaged the Gulf Coast and other areas in the final days of August 2005. It was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States with $108 billion in damages and one of the most deadly hurricanes with at least 1,245 lives lost.
New Orleans took the brunt of it after its levee system failed, flooding most of the city and surrounding areas in what was eventually cited as the worst civil engineering disaster in U.S. history. As people in the area were swept away, trapped on roofs or packed into a convention center with no capacity to take care of them, the response seemed excruciatingly slow and inadequate.
The city’s surviving population was displaced and dispersed. The psychological, economic and social effects of the catastrophic upheaval are perhaps immeasurable, and efforts to rebuild and recover appear to have moved at a snail’s pace, though the area has shown some signs of rebounding.
Numerous books have been written on various aspects of the disaster and its consequences. Diversebooks.net has a number of books for teaching, counseling and general reading topics related to the disaster and recovery.
A Season of Night: New Orleans Life after Katrina, by Ian McNulty, $22.50, (List Price: $25), University of Mississippi Press, July 2008, ISBN: 9781934110911, pp. 176
After the Hurricane Katrina disaster, many of the displaced people began returning to New Orleans to rebuild as the floodwaters receded. Among them was Ian McNulty, a journalist, author and radio personality specializing in Louisiana culture. In the aftermath of the flooding, he lived on the second floor of his ravaged home, bought only a few years before. Lacking electricity like many other returnees, he says he wrote the book by candlelight using his laptop to capture the reconstruction of lives and neighborhoods around him. His memoir documents the devastation to infrastructure, the resilience of the population and the re-emergence of a unique city.
Perilous Place, Powerful Storms: Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana, by Craig E. Colten, $36 (List Price: $40), University of Mississippi Press, June 2009, ISBN: 9781604732382, pp. 92
The author traces the history behind the hurricane protection systems that failed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He examines how funding battles, politics and environmental challenges left a massive system of structures intended to protect the population from tropical storms incomplete and unequal to the challenge, 40 years after Congress approved it.
On Floods and Photo Ops: How Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush Exploited Catastrophes
Paul Martin Lester, $45, (List Price: $50), University of Mississippi Press, May 2012, ISBN: 9781604732863, pp. 240
Why do political leaders rush to scenes of a disaster in their jurisdictions, fly over wrecked landscapes, shake hands and mumble words of consolation? It’s for the photo-ops. This book looks at how two political figures, Herbert Clark Hoover and George Walker Bush, dealt with disasters, respectively the 1927 Mississippi River flood while Hoover was Commerce secretary and Hurricane Katrina while Bush was president. The author, a communications professor, focuses particularly on the use and misuse of photo ops during catastrophes and trains his eyes on what the study of photographs from these events can tell us about politics and history. The book includes 100 illustrations.
Handbook of Disaster and Emergency Policies and Institutions, by John Handmer and Stephen Dovers,
$94.50, (List Price: $105) Earthscan Publications Ltd., October 2007, ISBN: 9781844073597, pp. 60
The cost in lives and property that may result from natural and human-made disasters in the future is incalculable, especially in the face of dire predictions about the effects of climate change, impending earthquakes and terrorism. Poor planning and management of the consequences can only contribute to the toll. In this handbook, two leading authorities on disaster policy and management lay out a framework for developing policies and strategies to plan for and respond to disasters.
Terrorism, Trauma, and Tragedies: a Counselor’s Guide to Preparing and Responding, Third Edition
By Jane Webber and J. Barry Mascari, $35.95, (List Price: $39.95), American Counseling Association (ACA), ISBN: 9781556203084, January 2010, pp. 210
This book was first published to capture the lessons learned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Columbine high school shootings and other events of that era. It has been revised and updated with new sections and content. It outlines strategies for psychological counseling in the wake of large-scale trauma like Hurricane Katrina. It includes new chapters on supporting military personnel and their families, crisis counseling in colleges and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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