Printer Friendly

A letter to social justice advocates: thirteen lessons learned by Katrina social justice advocates looking back ten years later.

Denise LeBoeuf

Denise "Denny" LeBoeuf, Director of the John Adams Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, was Director of the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana when Katrina hit. (178)

Denny evacuated to Peachtree City, Georgia with her sister who was very ill from cancer. (179) In the weeks she was displaced she was in numerous places including Tuscaloosa, Peachtree, New York, Cambridge, Baton Rouge, Indianapolis, Houston, and Vermont. (180) Then the deaths hit. In the space of a few months Denny lost: her "darling brother-in-law" who "died in a car crash, driving to rebuild their flooded home from temporary refuge in Baton Rouge;" her sister, from cancer; and her law partner, of a drug overdose. (181)

Katrina brought everything to a halt. As Denny recalls:
   No courts, no access to clients for months, no access to computers
   or files, no mail, no access to witnesses, family members, opposing
   counsel, clerks, each other. My office staff was scattered. One
   staff member, a young paralegal, had some terrifying experiences.
   She and her boyfriend had to leave their home by boat. They
   performed a number of rescues, then were menaced by people with
   guns and had to flee to an interstate overpass that was not
   submerged. Another staffer left the city with his granddaughters,
   one of whom was three days old, and an eighty-year-old friend. They
   spent the next 5 weeks in shelters, enduring great difficulties and
   privations. He was in his seventies, and in a wheelchair. When he
   asked if he could have a cot to sleep on, instead of a floor space,
   he was told 'You should have brought your cot with you." At one Red
   Cross shelter in a Baptist church in rural Avoyelles Parish, white
   church workers shone lights in their eyes every two hours to do a
   "bed check" of African-American children, as if they were
   incarcerated, not "sheltered."

   Practicing law post-Katrina [for the first several months] was in a
   word, challenging. From the day before the evacuation, until when I
   returned to the desk in my old office in December 2005, I had set
   up eight different places to work.

   For months, phones and fax machines did not work because of a
   telephone company problem that had an estimated repair date in
   February. A local law firm generously donated office space to us
   but their direct internet access was lost, and the vagaries of
   wireless access left us "down" a good bit of the time. We had to go
   to a trailer at the Superdome to ask for office mail. We went to a
   former discotheque to talk to opposing counsel. "Screening" of
   criminal cases was done at the end of the bar. Not making this up.

   Very early, within the first week after the storm, we managed to
   get word to our clients that there was a computerized version of
   their legal papers that had survived the storm. We were able to
   reassure them that no court action would be taken immediately, and
   that we would help those with friends and families in New Orleans
   locate their loved ones as soon as possible.

   The first in-person meeting of some of the Louisiana capital
   defense community was [five weeks later on] October 7th. We had to
   hold our Louisiana meeting in Houston, as there were no hotel rooms
   in New Orleans for the staffers whose homes had been destroyed. The
   damage to our homes ran the gamut. Both our deputy director and
   coordinator lost their homes. Two staffers who rented lost
   virtually every possession. Two of the people in our office could
   not come back to the city because they had no place to live, and
   apartments and houses are unconscionably expensive. Two have
   children who started new schools in September, and were uncertain
   about whether to uproot them again. Two, reluctantly, resigned. One
   young attorney's partner had to re-locate. Another who lost
   everything decided to begin life over somewhere else.

   For a few days in October, we were [allowed into our offices and]
   permitted to carry some files out to work on them in our borrowed
   temporary locations or at home. However, "carry" meant just that:
   we had to walk up and down sixteen flights of stairs to retrieve
   these papers. It was not until the first week of November, ten full
   weeks since the storm, that we had elevator access to our office.
   It was then we discovered that my computer hard drive was
   irreparably damaged and [was] a total loss. The most striking thing
   about this was the inconsequence of it. What would have distressed
   me for days before August 29th barely even registered.


   I think the personal devastation of Katrina [and the losses] in my
   life made me incapable of doing my best work for several years. I
   was too depressed. I also think the delays in the cases hurt some
   clients. I think one innocent client, released eventually in 2013,
   lost years in the fight to free him. However, sometimes delays are
   beneficial in capital cases. I think that may have affected one
   prosecutor's decision to agree to a life sentence.

   [Ironically, expertise in trauma was one of my core areas of
   competence before the storm. I know more now, and more about the
   fact that the intellect alone won't get you over trauma. (182)

Lessons learned?:
   If a disaster is imminent, there should be an effort to release all
   misdemeanor or "fines and fees" contempt prisoners at the local
   jail. (183) They can help their own families, and won't need
   evacuation. Lawyers at every jail, immigration center, holding
   facility of any kind should regularly ask to see the
   disaster-response plans.

   Ask for it. Ask the courts to release your clients with no bond.
   Ask for contact visits with family members and prisoners. Ask for
   money for poor people. Ask to have the entire public defender
   system re configured. Ask for money for poor people without forms
   or patronizing supervision. Ask that the culture be saved. Ask for
   whatever is right, and say: these are special times.

   Keep your eyes and your heart open, and tell people what you see
   and feel.

   There is a growing realization that the majority black city that
   existed on August 28th could be replaced by a white, more
   conservative population. We have to continue the fight for the
   "right of return" because it is just, and because the unique
   culture of New Orleans comes from and is nourished by the poor
   African-American community. We are doing what we can to see that
   the culture does not die.

   [Finally,] I am not going to judge or criticize the way the social
   justice community responded. Most of us tried our best, and we were
   all so damaged. If anything, more compassion for each other and for
   ourselves would have helped. I also know a lot more about the
   meaning of community. Ours was so utterly ruptured, and will never
   be the same. But I do appreciate an intensity and awareness of
   community that lasts. We are all living in an intentional
   community. You had to make a choice to come back. (184)


Barbara Major

Barbara Major, a community organizer, was the Director of a community-based health clinic, the St. Thomas Community Health Center, (185) when Katrina hit. (186)

She had lived in New Orleans East for over twenty years. (187) She had nine feet of water in her house and was unable to live in it again. (188) She did not immediately return to New Orleans because the flood destroyed the neighborhood, and she lost all the relationships she had built over decades; (189) her pharmacist, her grocer, and her cleaners all moved away or did not reopen their businesses. (190) While living in six different places including Houston, she drove back and forth to New Orleans every week for work. (191) After two years, she finally was able to find and live in a home in New Orleans permanently. (192)
   My youngest son has no desire to ever come back to live in New
   Orleans[;] to a New Orleans mama, that is huge.

   My focus on justice did not change, however my method of organizing
   did. I realized that the most marginalized part[s] of my community
   were not going to be coming back, at least not soon. Immediately
   after Katrina, my focus was on not leaving people behind, once I
   realized that if the African-American [c]ommunity was to find a
   place in this New-New Orleans, I had to galvanize what many would
   consider the "Black Middle Class." We were the only ones who could
   get back on our own and we would be the only ones to protect any
   place/space for us to be in this city in the future. My work is now
   centered around economic equity. As I saw the city being rebuilt, I
   did not see my community participating. (193) My focus now is on
   policy that can lead to wealth creation. I realized that the
   conversation around economics and the Black community only spoke of
   jobs. We do want jobs but we want businesses as well and we must
   protect the business that are in our community already.

   The impact of Katrina is still being felt. As I witness the influx
   of all the New-New Orleanians I am extremely angry at how welcome
   they are and how unwelcome we are in our own city. I know that the
   attitudes of both the old and new white community in New Orleans
   has not changed. They welcome our culture back but not us.

   The one regret I have is the organizing I saw in regards to the
   housing issues, it pitted my people who lived in private housing
   against those living in public housing. It was not intentional but
   the organizers did not realize the issue should have been housing
   for everyone including those that rented in the private sector. The
   majority of black people in our city who were poor lived in private
   housing, not only public housing. If the struggle would have been
   centered on housing for all, we maybe could have built a mighty
   force. This might be my biggest regret, not getting more involved
   [in that]. (194)

Lots of local and national organizations made plenty of money on our misery. "Church organization[s] were the most honorable." (195) Most of the local and national organizations? They were no more than "disaster pimps." (196)
   [T]he community could still utilize the help of the legal
   profession. We must get a disparity study, if we are to challenge
   this race and gender-neutral policy that disallows us from ensuring
   that Black Businesses have the opportunity to make money. Thank God
   for Ernest Jones and Gino Gates (197) for being there for us in
   this equity fight. We are still fighting the big boys in this city
   for access. Got to get back to work! (198)

John Thompson

John Thompson, the founder and Executive Director of Resurrection After Exoneration (RAE), reflected on lessons learned about lawyers and the legal system. (199) Mr. Thompson spent eighteen years in prison, fourteen on death row, for a crime he did not commit. He has been active in the criminal justice community and providing assistance for those released from prison since. (200)
   Lawyers should have stepped up to the plate more quickly [even
   though they had t]o deal with what they had to deal with and put
   their life back together and go through what their friends, family,
   and clients were going through.


   [Attorneys should have looked at the justice system and asked the
   bar association to step up and assist the public defenders in the
   city. The public defense system was seriously messed up. (201)
   Lawyers didn't have records, access to evidence and records.

   .... I wish I had seen other ... lawyers and members of the Bar
   supporting] the Public Defender.... [T]he Public Defender was
   begging for help and no one stepped to up to help him it seemed.

   Lawyers could have strategized how to deal with the problems
   together rather than individually. Organizations and legal
   non-profits should have worked together and force[d] the courts and
   systems to make justice happen. I don't know who was responsible
   for making sure people's constitutional rights were protected but I
   believe that unless you were a big time branded lawyer, whatever
   you said fell on deaf ears.

   We started RAE in 2006. (202) Everything was hard at that point. We
   just had the compensation bill passed and the government had not
   given anyone money yet. (203) Our struggle was always the same
   before and after the storm.... [M]y motives and mission started to
   change. My mission was never to fight the system. My mission was
   housing and helping men coming out of prison to re-adjust. After my
   case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, (204) I started challenging
   the system. Before my court case, I didn't even challenge the use
   of the death penalty and all. After my court case, after my
   compensation was denied, I started doing more advocacy work and
   looking more at the legal system that allowed this to happen to me.
   When Safe Streets/Strong Communities (205) was started, formerly
   incarcerated people could organize and have a voice and be
   respected. That created a change in me. My reach was further than
   others because I had a story of innocence while on death row. When
   I saw the organizing work of Safe Streets, I understood the power
   of the truth and started Voices of Innocence to tell the stories of
   those who were innocent and incarcerated. It gave me the
   opportunity to be in front of people and have an audience.

   Katrina taught me about my voice. I got to travel and share my
   story in a way that I don't think I could have or would have had it
   not been for the storm. (206)


Morgan Williams

Morgan Williams, now General Counsel for the National Fair Housing Alliance, had just completed his first week of his second year of law school at Tulane when Katrina hit. (207) He first evacuated to Jackson, Mississippi, then traveled to Georgia, North Carolina, and New York City before ending up in Washington, D.C., where he stayed until returning to New Orleans: (208)
   I initially started working with some folks in the broader Tulane
   Law community on an initiative called From the Lake to the River,
   then worked with a dedicated team of law students to launch the
   Student Hurricane Network. (209)

   The Student Hurricane Network brought over 200 law students from
   fifty-seven law schools to volunteer on the Gulf Coast over the
   school break in late 2005.210 The organization ultimately enabled
   over 4000 law students to come volunteer. (211)

   In the Student Hurricane Network we were learning in our work in
   the immediate aftermath into our subsequent efforts. (212) After
   that first winter post-Katrina, we worked with law student groups
   to coordinate their own funding and logistics, leaving student
   coordinators to focus on training/orientations and work placements.
   We also did a better job as time passed on coordinated specific
   work projects, such as the FEMA Trailer Survey, the Gideon Project,
   and Matchmakers for Justice, which served to utilize the assistance
   of large numbers of law students in a meaningful way in short
   periods of time.

   Katrina radically affected my career path, as it caused me to focus
   on housing issues, which ha[ve] since been my passion. The summer
   2006, I worked for Laura Tuggle in the housing unit [at legal
   services]. After law school, I worked for several years with the
   Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, litigating cases
   involving the Road Home program, opposition to affordable housing
   development, and a number of other post-disaster issues of housing
   discrimination. In 2012, I took a job coordinating the enforcement
   of the National Fair Housing Alliance, where I work with fair
   housing offices across the country to litigate cases of housing
   discrimination against banks, insurance companies, and other large
   players in the housing market.

   [For the Student Hurricane Network, looking back] it may have been
   helpful to focus more on the summers and in engaging volunteers to
   travel to the region for longer periods of time. [In terms of
   housing law advocacy, as I explained in] an article on long-term
   post-disaster fair housing issues, (213) I think that housing
   lawyers can leverage the influx of disaster funds to ensure those
   funds are used in a manner that promote residential integration
   rather than perpetuating entrenched patterns of segregation, as is
   unfortunately often the case. (214)

Emily Ratner

Emily Ratner, now a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, was living in New Orleans as an undergraduate at Tulane when Katrina hit. (215) She was renting an apartment in a building that flooded but fortunately her space was on the second floor. (216) She was displaced to Mobile, Alabama for several months. (217) Once she got back to New Orleans she volunteered to gut houses for people and finished her degree:
   After I graduated I started working with a local human rights film
   festival, (218) and that became my point of entry to the community
   work I wanted to do. I started working with local organizers who
   were doing work related to the right to return, the public housing
   battle, public education, and on and on. Working with them and
   attending community meetings and events introduced me to concepts
   like bottom-up organizing and the philosophy that "nothing about us
   without us is for us." (219) These were things I realized I'd
   always believed in, but had never actually heard anyone say, or
   seen in practice. Seeing it and hearing it showed me what was
   possible, and made me believe in justice work where everyone has a
   role to play, and all struggles are connected to one another.

   ... [T]he specific justice area that I found most jarring, and in
   which I most wanted to invest my efforts, was police abuse. The
   Danziger Bridge (220) and Henry Glover (221) stories deeply
   affected me--and I was also amazed to find that when I traveled
   outside New Orleans and told these stories, people didn't believe
   me. Not only did they not believe me, but I could tell from their
   reactions that they were now examining everything I told them with
   a slightly more critical eye. I began to realize that certain
   understandings I'd taken for granted about how government, police,
   the state, and capitalism function, were not as universal as I
   thought, even though they were increasingly common for people in
   New Orleans, often regardless of race and class, at least in those
   earlier days. These largely shared understandings made it very
   important to me to work and live in a world with people who shared
   these experiences. I felt a kind of kinship with many people that I
   hadn't felt in a very long time.

   The Katrina impact on my work has to do, I think, with a sea change
   that occurred before I started my work, which is related to New
   Orleans becoming a spotlight city for social justice, both in the
   eyes of funders and of people, mostly young people, looking to do
   important work. We're awash in a sea of young do-gooders, many only
   here for short stints. I don't mean that as a criticism (though I
   think there are aspects to criticize), but I wonder if the influx
   of new money, new (or newly restructured) nonprofits, and new
   people has been so intense that we don't yet know what it all
   means, and what to do or think about it. I feel strange discussing
   that trend because I don't know my place in it. After all, I was in
   that last group of people who moved to New Orleans before it was
   attractive mainly as a place to do important work. But I wonder
   about the ways that New Orleanians are being shut out--of the
   economy, housing, the city itself, and justice conversations, all
   of it. That's a pretty cliche to bring up at this point, but even
   so, with all the dialogues we've had about it, I'm not sure we've
   come at all close to any real answers. (222)

Lessons learned?:
   Write it down. I remember so little from that time. Maybe that's a
   blessing, and maybe I wouldn't want to remember all that. Maybe if
   I had written it, I never would have looked at it again. But it is
   disturbing to have significant memory gaps. So write it down just
   so that later you know you have it, even if only for peace of mind.
   It might have been too painful to do, but I wish I'd written every
   day--maybe just for twenty minutes--about whatever had happened
   that day that was the most important, the most bizarre, the
   saddest, and the funniest. I also think that particularly for
   disasters in the U.S., we have this assumption that what is
   important will be recorded for posterity. Katrina taught me the
   absurdity of that idea. You can't assume someone else will record
   something just because it's their job, especially if what needs
   recording cuts against the interests of those in power. If you
   think it's important, write it down. And take pictures too, even of
   the seemingly mundane within your disaster context. Later it'll be
   hard to believe--and sometimes even remember--that that crazy stuff
   you saw actually happened. But, of course, be mindful of what
   you're photographing, especially if it depicts someone else's loss
   or pain. If you think it could hurt someone who will see you take
   the picture, then don't.

   Be open to believing everything you hear. I recently read Missoula:
   Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer.
   (223) He talks about how when cops investigate a rape or sexual
   assault allegation, they often begin with the assumption that the
   crime likely did not occur, until they can establish that it did.
   (224) This is the opposite of how cops investigate most other
   crimes. I think we treat disaster victims--especially poor and
   Black disaster victims, or victims of color, similarly to the
   phenomenon Krakauer is describing. Crazy, crazy things happen in a
   disaster, and you can't simply trust that the familiar media
   outlet, the agent of the state, or the employee of an established
   nonprofit is a more reliable teller than the person who's telling
   you they've been through some [of] it. (225) In addition to the
   fact that a disbelieving attitude can hinder whatever assistance
   needs to be rendered, encountering that disbelief, especially time
   and again, re-traumatizes the victim. After the flood, there were
   rumors that levees had been deliberately blown to save wealthy
   parts of the city. There were rumors that police were up to all
   kinds of bad behavior. Some of these rumors proved true, while
   others didn't. But even those that weren't true, like the levees
   being blown, are rooted in historical reality. If one is unwilling
   to entertain the rumors until proven otherwise, I think that person
   reveals herself as being apart from and unwilling to learn from the
   lived experiences and histories of the people she is trying to

   Don't forget that people, in general, are good, well-meaning, and
   just trying to get by. There were other rumors during the flood
   that slowed down disaster response and painted New Orleanians,
   especially poor Black New Orleanians, in a terrible light in the
   eyes of first responders and the country. These rumors included
   babies being raped in the Superdome and "snipers" shooting at
   rescue helicopters, and the sources of these rumors (at least for
   first responders and national audiences) included highly placed
   public officials. (226) While it's important to be open to
   believing everything you hear, it's just as important to temper
   that willingness to believe by remembering that people who are in a
   desperate situation are far more likely to be looking to survive
   than looking to commit violent crimes--and survival rarely requires
   the commission of violent crimes (it is amazing to me that, from a
   distance, we so readily believe in the violent crime-committing
   survivor). When we don't challenge rumors that cast desperate
   people in a dangerous light, we risk further victimizing and
   marginalizing those people, slowing their access to necessary aid,
   and, most horrifically, endangering them with the possibility of
   violence. Those rumors created an environment in which it was
   acceptable for both vigilantes and police to gun down Black flood
   victims in the name of protecting people and property, which was
   wholly unnecessary.

   Know your place. Or rather, know that you don't know your place. I
   was a full-time resident of New Orleans when Katrina happened. That
   made me somewhat immune to inclusion in the phenomenon of people
   who fell out of the sky (short- or long-term) and crashed into
   justice work, prescribing solutions for this city while knowing
   they'd go home to an intact community apart from the one they were
   trying to help. I think a lot of those folks would have benefited
   from knowing that they didn't know their place, and letting the
   folks who were juggling putting their lives back together while
   doing the justice work set the pace and help them understand where
   their place might be. But I think knowing that you don't know your
   place also applies to lawyers whose own communities are hit with
   disaster. By virtue of being a lawyer, you're already likely far
   better off than most who've been affected by the disaster. It's
   important to keep one[']s relative privilege in perspective. Play
   hardball and work that privilege in spaces where you are
   interacting with power, but shut up and listen when you're among
   people who are feeling totally powerless.

   Remember that everyone was hit, and everyone is hurting. I'd never
   heard this articulated until a friend said it to a group of
   students while I was in law school, but I had felt the void where
   this advice should have been countless times. (227) After Katrina,
   my biggest fear was that I'd be on the street or in a store, and
   someone who'd just hit their limit would start shooting a gun
   indiscriminately, for absolutely no reason. That felt entirely
   possible, pretty much all the time. It felt like all of us were on
   the verge of snapping at any given moment. I don't think a
   community can really come back from something like Katrina unless
   people figure out how to respect the dignity in everyone around us.
   That didn't happen in a systemic way here (not by a mile), but in
   small interpersonal ways, it happened all the time--I think almost
   by instinct. And in moments where it didn't, it took a long time
   for the pain of that interaction to fade--even if my role in the
   interaction was only as a witness. Some people are hit harder than
   others and those distinctions certainly matter. But everyone is
   suffering and everyone is grieving, everyone is angry and confused
   and intensely sad, and they will be for a very, very long time.
   Make space for that.

   Sorry, one more lesson, closely related to (and maybe part of the
   same lesson as) remembering everyone was hit, and everyone is
   hurting: Everyone is a victim, and everyone is an advocate. I think
   our society and especially our legal system are set up to put
   people in fixed roles, particularly related to victimhood. When we
   treat people exclusively like victims, we remove their agency, and
   we deprioritize their perspective and input in their own outcome.
   Similarly, when we don't recognize that advocates are also dealing
   with their own pain, suffering, and trauma, we don't make space for
   the psychological and emotional support they need, or the fact that
   they may not be able to be as responsive or as on-point as we think
   they should be. (228)

Anna Lellelid

Anna Lellelid, now a social justice lawyer, was living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada when Katrina hit: (229)
   I remember sitting in a coffee shop when I saw the images on CBC
   news of people on top of their houses, waving flags for help, with
   a lake of water around them.

   I did not know anyone living in New Orleans, had never been to New
   Orleans, and had no family there. [I was angry] as I watched the
   photos of homes and neighborhoods destroyed, people stranded
   waiting for help that took far too long to come, and the blatantly
   racist response from those in power with the privilege and the
   means to do something who did nothing to help those most in need.
   Yet, I was shocked by the news reports of private military
   patrolling the streets of New Orleans's wealthy neighborhoods, poor
   people not receiving food or water for days, stuck on bridges
   waiting for help, and then not able or even allowed to return home
   for weeks after the storm. (230)

   Hearing the bits and pieces from New Orleans in the days and weeks
   after Katrina, I realized that I needed to somehow find a way to
   get to New Orleans. I decided I had to do something myself to say
   no to the blatant disregard for poor Black and Brown people's lives
   in my country.

   It took a few years, but ... I applied to Loyola University New
   Orleans College of Law and hoped to study [with people] who I had
   read about and heard on Democracy Now in reports about the Katrina
   Clinic and the work they were doing to help New Orleanians return
   home and keep their homes.

   I think Katrina impacts my work to this day. I do not know if I
   would have gone to law school in New Orleans had I not seen the
   news about Katrina. I would not now be advocating for students in
   New Orleans charter schools and speaking about the impacts of that
   hurricane and its aftermath on New Orleans public education system.

   It took me a few years to make it to New Orleans and when I came I
   did not know very much about the storm's impact on the city. I only
   began to learn about the different levels of violence inflicted
   primarily on New Orleans'[s] Black population during my first year
   of law school and summer after working at the Juvenile Justice
   Project of Louisiana.

   Even though I was not of the first wave of white Yankee helpers, I
   am very aware that I am not from here and I too came from elsewhere
   to help. I too have good intentions and am always eager to help. I
   am grateful for the lessons that people who can say they are from
   here or at least that they have been here for a while have passed
   along to me about listening, stepping back when necessary and
   forward when asked to, and as a new attorney these lessons are even
   more important to use as a guidepost for every action and every

   I wish those with great intentions would not come into the schools
   here and think that they have the answers. I wish they would ask
   their students about their lives, ask for their parents' and
   grandparents' input in their child's education. I wish that these
   new teachers would talk with the teachers who were fired after the
   storm and learn about their experience teaching children from New
   Orleans. I would like the teachers and the principals, the charter
   management organizations and board members, to seek the input of
   parents and grandparents when planning curriculum, applying for a
   charter, and creating discipline policies. I also wish they would
   ask the students for their feedback and involve them in decision
   making at their schools. I would like those who come here to start
   a new school to meet directly with community members about the
   history and meaning those schools had in their communities.

   Basically, I would like others who come here with big plans and
   great intentions to listen first and take action when asked to by
   those who will be impacted most by those big plans and those great
   intentions. (232)

Saul Sarabia

Saul Sarabia is a consultant working on partnerships fighting for racial equity and social justice. (233) Mr. Sarabia recalls the days leading up to Katrina as follows:
   I had just accepted a position as the first Administrative Director
   of the Critical Race Studies (CRS) Program at UCLA School of Law in
   the weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. In the first
   few days of the epic storm, it became evident that a man-made
   disaster was brewing, one that laid bare how the historical
   legacies of slavery and Jim Crow still determine who dies, who
   lives, whose neighborhoods would thrive or disappear. (234) My own
   personal life changed in that I wrote to our faculty and suggested
   that if our plans to deepen legal praxis to advance racial justice
   was going to be meaningful in any way, we needed to consider
   stepping fully into the battle for a just Reconstruction of New
   Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

   The CRS faculty agreed and scrapped the work plan and priorities we
   had identified for the 2005-06 school year. Instead, we made a
   collective decision to give our students an opportunity to be
   actors in the racial justice challenge of their law school years.
   One of our first steps was to connect with Jennifer Lai, an alumna
   of UCLA Law, who had been learning and working with Black
   organizers and civil rights leaders in New Orleans before and after
   the Hurricane. With Jennifer as a partner, we simply set out to
   stand as allies and offer the support of our students and faculty
   to the organizations in the Gulf Coast working for a just
   reconstruction. This process lasted for more than two years and
   transformed our law school and the students who eventually
   travelled to New Orleans to support the fight for justice.

   The specific interventions generated by the post-Katrina social
   justice effort began with hosting a convening of lawyers, scholars,
   organizers, and others from the Gulf Coast and connecting them to
   allies from the West Coast at UCLA, a few months after the
   Hurricane. The presence of the advocates and residents of the Gulf
   Coast to strategize in a full day session and to present a public
   forum, one of the first opportunities for collective reflection
   away from the Gulf, was in itself inspirational. Their willingness
   to share the pain and trauma, along with the analysis and call to
   action, became a spark that animated us towards uncharted
   partnerships. The magnitude of the challenges to the environment,
   to Native tribes, to Black residents, recruited workers, Vietnamese
   residents, and others were heavy with uncertainty and, even shock.
   But there was a certainty that emerged in the air that day: that
   the fight for justice in the Gulf Coast had to be waged; that it
   needed allies; that it wanted to extend itself to the rest of the

   And so it was. In coordination with the indefatigable activists in
   New Orleans, we deployed several cohorts of students to the Gulf
   Coast. Some went during winter and spring breaks, other[s] during
   the summer and some arranged to go for a full semester. They
   brought the idealism of law students who see in their education and
   profession the potential to leverage the institutional power of the
   courts towards justice and the realism of Derrick Bell and his
   progeny in Critical Race Theory, who understand that the courts
   have functioned more as an obstacle, than a catalyst for racial
   justice. The lawyer-activists on the ground leveraged the energy of
   the CRS students to picket, sue, organize, and do whatever the
   communities they were serving needed them to do to mitigate the
   damage of the man-made disaster and animate new alliances and
   campaigns. (235)

   One of the biggest lessons that emerged from these efforts, from
   the dialogue across space and across cohorts of students, is that
   the process of building community among the students and the people
   supporting them by hosting their visits, providing legal training,
   and helping them to historicize and contextualize their
   experiences, was as important as the immediate outcomes of specific
   legal challenges or campaigns. These students became bonded to each
   other, to the activism in the Gulf Coast, and to generations of
   activist lawyers they will never know, simply by being in New
   Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the support role that they played.

   We also learned to push the institutions of legal education,
   especially our own, to act in support of the formation of these
   future civil rights leaders and in support of the cause of racial
   justice in the Gulf Coast. Without the Critical Race and Public
   Interest Programs ... students, alumni, and faculty, the
   institutional response would have been far more measured. The
   students who participated organized panels to present about their
   efforts at Legal Conferences where they inspired other institutions
   to act, they presented to alumni from UCLA interested in the
   school's role as a public institution, and to their peers about
   what they learned, saw, and gained from the post-Katrina legal
   advocacy. For the students at the law school during this period,
   this type of praxis became a normal part of their education and it
   motivated them to define new projects and facilitated their path
   towards becoming activist lawyers and scholars.

   Some of these students--now lawyers--were central to organizing a
   major die-in by lawyers in support of the Black Lives Matters
   movement which shut down a [c]ourthouse on a rare rainy day in Los
   Angeles. They have pushed their own organizations, firms, and law
   school alma mater to deepen their commitments to racial justice.
   Most importantly, they remain connected around their commitment to
   social justice AS LAWYERS and not simply as individual activists
   who happened to go to law school. These alumni frequently share how
   rare this community is amongst their professional brethren and how
   precious it is for them. This is the spirit of post-Katrina New
   Orleans, of those who were lawyers and scholars at the time in the
   battered region, opening their arms to them and showing them, what
   struggle looks like and what it gives. (236)

Alison McCrary

Alison McCrary, now with the Office of the Independent Police Monitor for the City of New Orleans, was living in New Orleans and working as a community organizer with ACORN when Katrina hit. (237) She first evacuated to the Astrodome in Houston, then went into Red Cross shelters, then stayed with a Baptist Minister and his wife. (238) This is her story:
   I was twenty-three years old when the levees broke. Through the
   experience of evacuating and going to the Astrodome in Houston, the
   a Red Cross Shelter, and then a home with a Baptist Minister who
   was a friend of one of my cousins and his wife for a few weeks in
   Houston, I came [to] embrace detachment from a physical space and a
   place to call home, the unknowing of what may come next and where
   life was going to take me, not knowing if I could return to New

   At the shelters, we were treated like prisoners in some ways. We
   had a 5:00 pm curfew. I remember arguing with some locals who were
   "volunteering" at the shelter as security "for us" when they
   wouldn't allow a single mother of three to go out and purchase baby
   formula from the Wal-Mart down the street because of the curfew.

   I had never been on government benefits as an adult on my own until
   Katrina hit. It was my first time individually applying for food
   stamps, Medicaid, and other benefits at a shelter in Houston,
   Texas. Through the experience, I came to see the common humanity
   shared among us more. After the storm when all we knew was that
   most of our city was underwater, everyone, rich and poor, was in
   line for the same government services, the same lines for food
   stamps, the same line for a Red Cross debit card, the same line for
   healthcare benefits. For those who had wealth in possessions or
   fancy homes, assuming all was lost, experienced the insecurities
   that come with not having the comforts and security they had back
   home. Upon return, one's individual recovery played out on the
   access they had to resources, the damages they incurred, the
   securities of having family members with financial resources, and
   the emotional and psychological ability to recover from the trauma
   and return back home.

   During evacuation, I learned of my need to stay active and involved
   to maintain good mental health. I ended up being a coordinator of
   volunteers in Houston. We needed professionals (doctors, nurses,
   language interpreters for Spanish and Vietnamese, lawyers, and
   others) and we had a surplus of ordinary folk just wanting to help.

   I also experienced the generosity of strangers. I started to look
   for work elsewhere and some women lawyers came together and asked
   their firms to hold suit drives so I had something to wear for an
   interview. Most of my lawyer suits and shoes I wear today are my
   Katrina suits and shoes. I never met the women who donated them
   from New York but I am deeply grateful for them.

   [When I returned to New Orleans,] I learned interdependence in a
   new way. [Although I did not know] during the storm and levee
   breach, the house I was living in when the storm hit only had a
   little water enter it and wind damage. The homes for several blocks
   in most directions of where I lived had 5-6 feet of water inside
   the house. My house became more like a neighborhood center of a
   sort with neighbors coming through during the rebuilding of their
   own homes nearby and using it as a working space for ACORN after
   the storm since the ACORN offices were damaged and there was no
   functioning copier, machines, and such in New Orleans to use.

   I also became more aware of my gender during a disaster. (239) Upon
   return to the city, I often felt like the only or one of a few
   women in the whole city. The only jobs available were for men and
   were jobs around policing, construction, or security. I felt like a
   piece of meat walking down the street and was told by one man that
   I should get a job on Bourbon Street as a stripper to entertain all
   the men in the city.

   [Soon after my] return, my time with ACORN ended. With some local
   public health students, I started a food bank and community center
   in the church hall of St. Augustine Church. For nearly twelve
   months after the storm, we were feeding two hundred families a
   week. One man who had lost his barber shop in the flood opened it
   back up in a corner of the church hall. We started a computer lab
   and a place where people could get information about FEMA and other

   A few months later, I started working as a paralegal on death
   penalty cases for the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana.
   Some of the attorneys in the office were connected to other social
   justice issues so I started learning more about what was going on
   with different issues while immersing myself into the legal world
   to help me discern going to law school. In August 2007, I began
   studying at Loyola's College of Law and became much more involved
   in community organizing and legal advocacy around social justice
   issues. Ten years later, I continue to visit the men on death row
   and grow in relationship with them.

   Katrina and the levee breach helped me realize the
   interconnectedfness] of justice issues in a way I hadn't seen
   before. The combination of justice issues related to inadequate
   education systems, a broken criminal injustice system, lack of
   affordable housing, lack of sufficient public transportation means,
   environmental dangers based on where one lives or where
   corporations decide to put their toxic refineries and plants, lack
   of mental health access, inadequate physical healthcare, political
   corruption, and others were not as apparent to me before. I became
   much more attentive to these systems and how they fail people,
   especially poor people and people of color. (240)

Lessons learned?:
   Find the good and beauty that is happening around in the midst of
   suffering, pain, despair, hopelessness, fear, uncertainty. Identify
   your passions and what brings you joy. Do more of it. Work with
   community organizers and grassroots organizations. It's a must. The
   work cannot be done without genuine and intentional collaboration
   with the people on the ground who have the deepest relationships
   with those in the community. Make yourself available to assist and
   provide legal support for the work on the ground without plopping
   yourself in spaces where you may not be welcome. Wait to be invited
   to assist and let groups know you are available but don't intervene
   without a request. Know when to step up and when to step back.

   As newcomers moved to New Orleans after Katrina, I wish white
   people had organized sooner to become more aware of the individual
   and collective impact of our presence in a community of color. A
   group called European Dissent (241) is now doing incredible
   organizing around gentrification and other issues. I wish we had
   organized and started organizing earlier before so much
   gentrification took place by developers coming in. The developers
   had plans in the works while the storm was hitting and used Katrina
   to implement their plans immediately. I don't think we were
   organized enough to challenge them and demand authentic community
   input in the "projects" they were creating and implementing.
   Gentrification is not just changing a neighborhood. It's changing
   the soul of a space and with a profit motive. My heart aches at the
   spirit and soul I see being stolen from some neighborhoods by
   developers and those who support them. New Orleans is unique in
   ways that don't exist anywhere else and it's unique because of the
   people of this city. If ... African-Americans [are] to continue ...
   the traditions of the Black Indians of New Orleans, the second line
   parading, brass band music, and other traditions, [but can] no
   longer reside in the neighborhoods that have for centuries created
   public spaces for organic and spontaneous cultural expression and
   ritual, the neighborhoods lose parts of their spirits and soul.

   Gather regularly to reflect on the work you are doing with other
   social justice lawyers, organizers, journalists, and other
   like-minded individuals. Reflect on what's working well and what
   changes we need to make in our approaches. (242)


These lessons are set out briefly and simply so they might prove helpful to others who are preparing for or who have gone through disasters. The longer individual stories above illustrate how challenging these lessons are to learn, but learn them you must either before or after disaster hits your community.

Lesson One: Prioritize the Needs of the Marginalized

When disaster hits, some people are left behind. (243) When Katrina hit, it was the elderly in their homes and nursing homes, prisoners, people too poor to leave, disabled people, and children of poor families, just the way many knew it would happen. (244)

When the response to disaster is dictated by the politically connected and free market forces, those who are left behind when the disaster hits will be left further behind in the rebuilding. (245) That is exactly what happened with Katrina. Because of this, social justice advocates have to prioritize working with marginalized people, families, communities and populations. (246) Working with organizations of people is the best way to bring about social change after a disaster. (247)

Lesson Two: Understanding and Empathy

After Katrina and Rita hit, there were literally a million stories of survival, loss, and suffering scattered across the Gulf Coast like diamonds on the ground. (248) If you asked anyone for their story you had better be prepared to settle back and hear about the pain of being driven out of their home, the chaos of trying to find new schools, new churches, new doctors, new everything for weeks, for months, for years and in many cases forever. The deaths were many, the destruction widespread, and the disruption enormous. (249)

We learned lawyers cannot just try to jump to the "legal" issues; it is important to give people the chance to tell their stories.

The social justice advocates each had their own losses of jobs, homes and health. (250) In addition to experiencing and living with their own losses, they chose to continue their work helping others, alongside countless others, as they fought to rebuild their own lives.

As a result, their individual capacity for understanding and empathy was stretched and expanded. (251) This work required social justice advocates to be willing to open their hearts and minds to the pain of others and to participate with them in rebuilding lives in ways most people had not experienced before.

Lesson Three: Challenge Racism and Exclusion of Women

The people left behind in the rush to escape the wrath of incoming Katrina were the same people left behind when it hit. (252) The same people have been left behind in the rebuilding and recovery. (253) They were overwhelmingly people of color and women. (254)

When disaster strikes the nearly universal response of those at the top is to hurriedly consult with each other and start taking action. These undemocratic responses result in reinforcing white male privilege, institutional racism and gender inequality. (255) These patterns are also too often reflected in the social service and legal services communities. Social justice advocates must intentionally and consciously struggle to work with impacted communities in ways that do not reinforce the marginalization of women, people of color, and immigrants. (256)

Lesson Four: Sustainability

Growth comes at a price. No one can truly and deeply participate with others who are undergoing tremendous suffering without putting their own health and well-being at risk. (257)

It may seem selfish to focus on sustainability in the midst of disaster but it is absolutely not. Those who could not keep at the work stopped. There should be no criticism of those who must stop to take care of themselves and their families because in order to be an effective advocate for others, one must be whole in body and mind.

The stories above tell about loss, breaking down, crying, trauma, depression, fear, and burnout. Failures and losses were common. We had to learn how to deal with our limitations and still go forward.

But the stories also tell about recovery, resilience, recuperation, renewal and the need to find joy in the work. In order to do this work over the months and years, we must learn how to sustain ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have.

All the caregiving professions are warned of the dangers of secondary trauma. (258) But after a disaster, caregivers are subject to primary trauma because they are usually victims themselves and secondary trauma because of interactions with people and the effects of disaster. (259)

Recovery is not just physical; it involves the opening of streets, the opening of courts, the rebuilding of homes and schools as well. (260) Disaster rips up relationships and leaves people vulnerable. The trauma of disaster is emotional as well. Fixing the house does not always fix the trauma that the destruction of the house wrought.

This means we all need access to professional and community assistance to help repair and solidify our mental health. The need for access to mental health counseling is one of the items repeatedly mentioned above.

Lesson Five: Get Ready to Lead

Lesson five is that you may well be the one you are waiting for. After a disruptive, disastrous event, there is a tendency to look around and see who knows what they are doing and then join up. As the stories above illustrate oftentimes no one knows what to do and you may be called upon, despite your youth or inexperience and after appropriate reflection, to start taking action.

Certainly we all have to find our place in the response. We have to make sure that our response is not one that echoes the gender, race, class, ability and age criteria that characterize the personal and institutional responses that privilege the resourced.

But, as the advocates' stories show, people have to step up, and fortunately, they do.

Lesson Six: Government Is Essential but Also Deadly

Every Katrina social justice advocate developed a love-hate relationship with government. While tens of thousands of private volunteers helped out for periods long and short, massive destruction cannot be addressed without massive public response. (261)

We needed government help. (262) Billions were spent. (263) But we quickly found the governmental response was not focused on women, children, the elderly, the disabled, renters, and the poorest and neediest among us. (264) Rather governmental assistance was quickly directed to corporate needs and those institutions and individuals who had the most resources, were best politically connected, and who could lobby and navigate the bureaucracies. (265)

Katrina social justice advocates fought these twisted priorities of government. People tried mightily to redirect assistance to the needs of the most vulnerable communities. (266) Many worked alongside communities resisting the push of disaster capitalism. (267)

Be prepared to push and pull all the way through the rebuilding.

Lesson Seven: Volunteers and National Organizations Can be Helpful and Harmful

People are extremely generous after a disaster. Tens of thousands of volunteers from all walks of life came to the Gulf Coast. They helped us with food and water and medical relief. (268) They helped us clean and gut and rebuild many homes. (269) They helped with legal work. (270) Many stayed on. (271) There is an important place for volunteers.

The best volunteers generously and humbly partnered with local charities, churches, and schools. They stayed long enough to begin to understand what was needed and to contribute enough to justify the supervision they needed. They willingly worked wherever needed, slept on church floors, and acted according to the direction of local leadership. Many came back again and again becoming part of the communities they were assisting. Back in their home communities they raised funds to send to local partners to directly assist those in need.

Other volunteers raised disaster funds back home, not to contribute to local communities, but to pay for their own travel and lodging on the Gulf Coast. They came not humbly but proud of what they had sacrificed to come help the less fortunate. They came with specific actions and goals in mind and when they found out the community actually needed something else they were flustered and frustrated with local "attitudes."

Volunteers will show you that good intentions are not enough. Sometimes volunteers require more attention and maintenance than they contribute. Good volunteers arrive in humility, listen to and learn from the community, and contribute under the direction of people who have long time ties. They come not to teach but to learn.

Likewise, after Katrina countless national organizations focused energy on the Gulf Coast. They sent national and international experts to the area to view the damage, to hear the stories of the displaced and to connect with local advocates.

The best organizations built long-term supportive relationships with local communities and assisted those organizations with people and money and expertise. (272)

The worst showed up with their own agendas, spent money as they saw fit, and praised themselves and raised money for themselves based on local work. These organizations had specific missions which prohibited them from doing much of what locals needed, so they attempted to provide what they always provided whether this was what was needed or not. These organizations organized endless trips to the area, hosted endless conference calls, and gave endless advice to locals.

The challenge was to figure out which national organizations came to observe, listen, stay and help out and which ones were here for their own purposes.

A lot of energy was wasted on servicing those organizations that "came to help."

Those who came and developed working and respectful partnerships with local communities were unfortunately not in the majority. But they were critically important to the rebuilding and recovery that has happened.

Lesson Eight: Community is Critical

On both the personal and professional level, community is crucial to social justice advocates. (273) On a personal level, no one is able to journey through the post-disaster landscape alone. Interdependence is a fact of life for people, but also for issues. Professionally, no one had the luxury of deciding they were only going to be involved in one issue area. Every issue was interrelated with many more.

There were no single issue Katrina advocates. The survival of the Mardi Gras Indian community was intertwined with the housing campaign. (274) Bringing schools back online was part of the struggle for families and the human right to return. (275) Addressing the needs of the homeless required working on health care. (276) When lawyering with the community, community lawyering is essential. (277)

Lesson Nine: A Human Rights Lens Is Important

Understanding and using international human rights law is essential after a disaster. (278) Why? In many instances, traditional U.S. laws do not offer any help after disaster. (279)

For example, there is no right based in U.S. law for victims of disaster to be able to return to their communities. (280) But there is such a right to return recognized by international law. (281) Likewise there is no right to housing in U.S. law, (282) but there is a body of international law that supports a right to housing following disaster. (283)

These human rights offer survivors new ways to express deeply shared beliefs and to connect their struggles with others across the nation and the globe. (284)

Lesson Ten: Challenge Privatization

The strong forces trying to dismantle public institutions will use disasters as opportunities to privatize public services such as housing, education, health care, and even government itself. The push for privatization can only be combatted by equally strong counterforces.

The failure of our communities to forcefully combat the push for privatization has left the post-Katrina landscape littered with the shells of formerly public institutions like housing, education, and healthcare. (285) They are now mostly replaced with privately run institutions, which have absorbed the public funds but are not nearly as democratically responsive as the public institutions they replaced.

Lesson Eleven: Document It, Capture the Voices

It is important to capture the voices of those who are struggling to recover. Not to be voices for the voiceless, but rather to raise the volume of the voices of the people who are not being listened to in the traditional narratives of the resourced.

As this Article is written, the story of the ten-year anniversary of Katrina is being reported and argued. (286) Some interests, notably the privatized institutions, the tourism industry, and many elected officials are stressing what has been rebuilt, who has returned, and the resilience of the area. (287) Others point to the loss of nearly one hundred thousand African-Americans in the City of New Orleans, the rise in rents, the pervasive poverty, the accelerating gap between white and black incomes, and the continuing displaced as examples that the rebuilding has been focused on those with the most resources. (288)

Write it down. Film it. Record it. Preserve the voices of those left out. Preserve the perspectives of the people that mainstream media do not include.

Lesson Twelve: You Will Be Challenged, Learn Flexibility

By definition, disasters violently push us far out of our comfort zone. Every single person has been challenged. Social justice advocates have to learn new ways to practice, new ways to organize help for and with people, and new ways to bring about change. Disasters change all the rules and the ways we work and live. We have to work with new people in new ways on new issues. (289) Those who respond the best are those who can find ways to change along with the changed landscape surrounding our communities. (290)

Lesson Thirteen: The Time to Prepare is Now

The chaos of a disaster is no time to start to figure out how to respond. Nearly all people and institutions were caught off guard by the disaster even though we had decades of warnings. (291) In that confusion, those with clear agendas were able to slice through the confusion and disorder and push their visions of response and recovery.

Social justice advocates have to work with our communities to prepare for the disasters which are yet to come. We must insist that community voices be heard and that community wisdom be incorporated into all planning.

We have to prepare our allies and institutions so that our communities can be at the forefront when the next disaster hits.

On a lighter but important personal note which seems appropriate to end this section, one of our social justice advocates suggested "Always evacuate with a suit--you never know when you will need to suit up post-disaster!" (292)


A good friend says there are no words people like better than "in conclusion."

So, in conclusion, friend, I hope these stories and lessons learned will help you as you prepare for the possibility of a disaster in your community. Disasters offer a lens to look closely at our communities and our nation. We see the best and the worst. It is an important time to be a social justice advocate but it is also quite challenging. This might help you as you scramble out of a disaster and look for lessons and stories of others who went through disasters. In either case, all of us on the Gulf Coast wish you the best.

William P. Quigley, Bill Quigley teaches at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He is the author of Storms Still Raging: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice (2008) and numerous articles in law reviews and elsewhere on Katrina. The author thanks the twenty-seven people who took the time to respond with their reflections on Katrina (Cathy Albisa, Beth Butler, Gary Clements, Marjorie Esman, Davida Finger, Joan Johnson, David Koen, Hiroko Kusuda, Jennifer Lai-Peterson, Denise LeBoeuf, Anna Lellelid, Barbara Major, Katherine Mattes, Alison McCrary, Reilly Morse, Emily Ratner, Saul Sarabia, Katie Schwartzmann, Lois Simpson, Anita Sinha, John Thompson, Laura Tuggle, Trade Washington, Cynthia Wiggins, Morgan Williams, Ron Wilson, and Willie Zanders). All errors are the author's.

(1.) For purposes of this Article, "social justice" refers to the term as formulated by John Rawls: "All social values--liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and the social bases of self-respect---are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any, or all, of these values is to everyone's advantage." John Rawls, A THEORY OF JUSTICE 54 (rev. ed. 1999).

(2.) Joseph B. Treaster & Kate Zernike, Hurricane Katrina Slams Into Gulf Coast, N.Y. TIMES (August 30, 2005), hurricane-katrina-slams-into-gulf-coast-dozens-are-dead.html.

(3.) Hurricane Katrina Timeline, BROOKINGS INST. 2-3, /fp/projects/homeland/katrinatimeline.pdf (last visited Oct. 6, 2015).


(5.) Hurricane Katrina Timeline, supra note 3, at 3.

(6.) Nat'l Weather Serv. Weather Forecast Office-Lake Charles, La., Hurricane Rita, NAT'L OCEANIC & ATMOSPHERIC ADMIN., main (last visited Oct. 6, 2015).

(7.) William P. Quigley, Obstacle to Opportunity: Housing that Working and Poor People Can Afford in New Orleans since Katrina, 42 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 393, 393-94 (2007) ("Roughly one million people left their homes and were displaced by Katrina. One month later, 600,000 people remained in temporary housing-hotels and shelters-with family. Two months later, about a half million people were still displaced and living in subsidized rental property, hotels, or shelters. Eighteen months later, a third of a million people in the New Orleans metro area had not returned." (footnotes omitted)).

(8.) Id.

(9.) Allyson Plyer, Facts for Features: Katrina Impact, DATA CTR. (Aug. 12, 2015),

(10.) How New Orleans Flooded, NOVA: PBS (Oct. 2005), /nova/orleans/how-nf.html.

(11.) Ellen Barry, Much of New Orleans Is Still in the Dark from Katrina (Nov. 14, 2005), 14.

(12.) New Orleans Will Force Evacuations, CNN (Sept. 7, 2005, 12:16 AM),[US/09/06/katrina.impact/index.html.

(13.) Elizabeth Fussell et al., Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Return Migration to New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina, 31 POPULATION & ENV'T 20, 21 (2010).

(14.) See, e.g., Patrick O'Driscoll, New Orleans Asks More Home to Stay, USA TODAY (Nov. 16, 2005, 12:16 AM), http://usatoday30.usatoday.comInews/nation /2005.11-15-katrina-economy.x.htm.

(15.) Peter Whoriskey, Katrina Displaced 400,000 Study Says, WASH. POST (June 7, 2006), /06/AR2006060601729.html.

(16.) Plyer, supra note 9.

(17.) Greg G. Guidry, The Louisiana Judiciary: In the Wake of Destruction, 70 LA. L. REV. 1145, 1153 (2010).

(18.) See Sarah S. Vance, Justice After Disaster-What Hurricane Katrina Did to the Justice System in New Orleans, 51 HOW. L.J. 621, 628-38 (2008).


(20.) Order (La. Oct. 25, 2005),

(21.) Laurie A. Morin, A Tale of Two Cities: Lessons Learned from New Orleans to the District of Columbia for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations from the Consequences of Disaster, 12 U.D.C. L. REV. 45, 78 (2009).

(22.) Telling stories has always been a part of lawyering and has in recent decades assumed a much more important place in legal scholarship. Stephan H. Krieger & Serge A. Martinez, A Tale of Election Day 2008: Teaching Storytelling Through Repeated Experiences, 16 LEGAL WRITING 117, 117-18 (2010); see also Nancy Cook, The Call to Witness: Historical Divides, Literary Narrative, and the Power of Oath, 98 MARQUETTE L. REV. 1585, 1615-22 (2015) (suggesting that "literary witnesses" may provide a model for "civic-oriented" lawyers' use of narrative); Palma Joy Strand, Law as Story: A Civic Concept of Law (With Constitutional Illustrations), 18 CAL. INTERDISC. L.J. 603, 604-05 (2009) ("Story is a fundamental human enterprise. Story takes the raw material of our experience, enables us to navigate the world we encounter, and helps us discover the deeper meaning of our lives. Children make sense of the world through story. There is reason to believe that story is at the core of how we think--that it is the way our brains work. Story also provides a vehicle for forging collectives from individuals: our multi-faceted identities are formed by our association with multiple groups, societies, and cultures, each of which articulates its own distinctive stories. Law is one of these shared stories. Along with other stories, it tells us who we are and how to be with each other--the political, social, and economic roles we are to play. It is 'part of the normative universe' that structures our social order. As a community-grounded story, law arises from its cultural context and sounds in that context. Whenever a law-story is "told," the community responds with affirmation, amendment, or outright defiance. Law is thus the subject of a dynamic process, a cycle, and is continually in the process of renewal, refreshment, renovation, and revolution." (footnotes omitted)); Jonathan K. Van Patten, Storytelling for Lawyers, 57 S.D. L. REV. 239 (2012) (discussing the role of storytelling in persuasion).

(23.) William P. Quigley, What Katrina Revealed, 2 HARV. L. & POL'Y Rev. 361, 363 (2008) ("Disaster can be an excellent lens through which to examine justice issues. The stories of those left behind during and after Katrina illustrate the institutional injustices in our society and the need for powerful new tools to refashion and redistribute justice in our nation." (footnote omitted)).

(24.) Email from Katie Schwartzmann, Co-Dir., Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Ctr., to author (June 15, 2015, 4:35 PM) [hereinafter Schwartzmann Email] (on file with author).

(25.) Id.

(26.) Id.

(27.) Id.

(28.) Id.

(29.) Id.

(30.) Schwartzmann Email, supra note 24.

(31.) Id.

(32.) Id.

(33.) Id. A crawfish table is a purpose-built table with raised edges onto which boiled seafood is poured for communal eating. For images of various such tables, see John Flores, Crawfish Tables, PINTEREST, awfish-tables/ (last visited Oct. 25, 2015).

(34.) Schwartzmann Email, supra note 24.

(35.) Id.

(36.) See NAT'L PRISON PROJECT, AM. CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION ET AL., BROKEN PROMISES: 2 YEARS AFrER KATRINA (2007) [hereinafter BROKEN PROMISES], (detailing police abuse, racial profiling, housing discrimination, voter disenfranchisement, abuse of prisoners, inadequate medical and mental health care, and the indigent defender crisis).

(37.) See generally Pamela R. Metzger, Doing Katrina Time, 81 TUL. L. Rev. 1175 (2007).
      When Hurricane Katrina swept across New Orleans, over 6500 men,
   women, and children were locked in the sprawling Orleans Parish
   Prison (OPP) complex. Forty-eight hours before Katrina made
   landfall, prison officials cut inmate phone lines, and the inmates
   lost all contact with the outside world. As the storm grew closer,
   police continued to arrest suspects: some for serious crimes, like
   murder and rape; others for petty offenses, like trespass and
   public intoxication. Meanwhile, the prisoners' families either
   packed and fled or stayed and watched the water rise.

      Within days, OPP had evacuated all of its inmates to state and
   parish jails and prisons across the State of Louisiana. The
   evacuated prisoners were taken from OPP without any of their legal
   documents, personal papers, or meaningful identification. Once
   evacuated, the OPP prisoners were lost to the known world, just as
   surely as if they had been among the "disappeared" of a country
   struggling under a repressive dictatorship.

      When Katrina hit, the Orleans Indigent Defender Program did not
   have a list of its imprisoned clients, much less information about
   those prisoners' family contacts or medical needs. Still, some of
   those prisoners had pending and active court cases; their names
   appeared on court dockets and in prosecutors' case files, and their
   cases would eventually be tracked by the larger criminal justice
   system. Other OPP prisoners had private counsel, counsel who knew
   their names, knew their families and knew their plight. But one
   group of prisoners vanished almost entirely. Those prisoners were
   uncharged, unrepresented detainees. As poor people who had been
   arrested, but not yet formally charged, these prisoners had no
   public defender. True, a public defender had "stood up" for each of
   these detainee's initial appearance, but that appearance was a
   cameo, a systemic sleight of hand that put a fig leaf over the
   naked abandonment of poor pretrial detainees. Even before Katrina,
   poor precharge detainees had languished in jail for weeks in a kind
   of jurisprudential limbo: not charged but not free. After Katrina,
   poor precharge detainees descended into a Kafka-esque hell: not
   charged, not free, not known.

Id. at 1176-77 (footnotes omitted); see also NAT'L PRISON PROJECT, supra note 19 (describing the conditions inside the Orleans Parish Prison during the storm and the prisoner's chaotic evacuation to other prisons).

(38.) Josephine Ross wrote about visiting a FEMA trailer park and New Orleans with Howard Law students who were floored:
   The Howard Law students did not spend any time debating whether
   race was involved in the government's response to the victims. It
   was simply understood. For example, we saw palm trees that wore
   braces to straighten their trunks. We were told that the government
   paid $1,500 per tree so that the trunks would eventually straighten
   out. These trees graced the lakefront in an affluent, predominantly
   white side of town. Meanwhile, the Lower Ninth Ward lay in ruins
   and no one was paying to straighten the walls of the houses or even
   to turn the lights in the schools back on. A Howard law student
   asked me, "How can the racism be this blatant? I didn't expect this
   type of obvious racism at this time in history.

Joesphine Ross, Still in Limbo: The Continuing Failed Response to Katrina, 51 HOW. L.J. 565, 606-07 (2008) (footnote omitted); see also FEMA's Dirty Little Secret: A Rare Look Inside the Renaissance Village Trailer Park, Home to Over 2,000 Hurricane Katrina Evacuees, DEMOCRACY Now (Apr. 6, 2006), /femas.dirty-littlesecret a-rare (interviewing a resident of one of the FEMA trailer parks who reveals, 'We have a lot of rules that they set up.").

(39.) See MARINA SIDERIS, CRITICAL RESISTANCE, HURRICANE KATRINA AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 9-11 (2008), les/cerd2008hurricanekatrinaandcriminaljustice.pdf; Midnight Curfew to Be Strictly Enforced, TIMES-PICAYUNE (New Orleans) (Oct. 10, 2005, 12:00, updated Aug. 2, 2010, 11:44 AM), _bestrictly enforced.html (reporting on the imposition of a curfew in the City of New Orleans); see also generally Scott R. Tkacz, In Katrina's Wake: Rethinking the Military's Role in Domestic Emergencies, 15 WM. & MARY BILL OF RTS. J. 301 (2006) (discussing the legal implications of an expanded role for the military in a law enforcement capacity following disasters).

(40.) James Ridgeway, The Secret History of Hurricane Katrina, MOTHER JONES, (Aug. 28, 2009, 7:00 AM), history-hurricane-katrina.

(41.) See Scott Simon & Anthony Brooks, New Orleans City Elections Postponed, NAT'L PUB. RADIO (Dec. 3, 2005), Id=5037471.

(42.) Schwartzmann Email, supra note 24.

(43.) Id.

(44.) Id.

(45.) See William P. Quigley, Katrina Voting Wrongs: Aftermath of Hurricane and Weak Enforcement Dilute African American Voting Rights in New Orleans, 14 WASH. & LEE J. C.R. & SOC. JUST. 49, 66 (2007); BROKEN PROMISES, supra note 36, at 16; see also Quigley, supra, at 50 ('Voting wrongs trumped voting rights in New Orleans."); Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, The Flexibility of Section 5 and the Politics of Disaster in Post-Katrina New Orleans, 16 J. GENDER RACE & JUST. 825, 837-42 (2013) (detailing the purging of tens of thousands of African-American voters from the rolls in New Orleans).

(46.) Sarah Turbeville, From New Orleans Flooded Streets: Lawyers Who Made a Difference, HUMAN RTS, Fall 2006, at 17 (2006) (describing four such heroes). Consider Phyllis Mann. She organized a team of volunteers to file habeas litigation on behalf of more than 2,000 prisoners evacuated across the state. Id. at 21-22 ("In some cases, Mann and the ad hoc team of lawyers and legal assistants were the only recourse for the evacuated prisoners. The judicial system had completely collapsed, and no government entity was particularly concerned for the legal rights of the evacuated pretrial detainees and prisoners. Mann blames this apathy on human nature itself. 'Brilliant, talented, hard-working lawyers, judges, and law enforcement officers all were paralyzed-all of the people who were supposed to be in charge were themselves victims of the hurricane.' As for the failure of democratic institutions to ensure that liberty is not taken without due process of law, Mann said the government 'did not need us to call and ask if there was anything we could do to help; they needed us to fix it for them."').

(47.) Schwartzmann Email, supra note 24.

(48.) Id.

(49.) Id.

(50.) Email from Laura Tuggle, Exec. Dir. of Se. La. Legal Servs., to author (June 13, 2015, 8:19 AM) [hereinafter Tuggle Email] (on file with author).

(51.) See, e.g., Hurricane Slams Ashore, N'Orleans Dodges Bullet, WND (Aug. 29, 2005, 12:10 PM),

(52.) News outlets reported over 20,000 people were stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center and an equal number at the Superdome. See Wil Haygood & Ann Scott Tyson, 'It Was As If All of Us Were Already Pronounced Dead,' WASH. POST (Sept. 15, 2005), http://www.washingtonpost.eom/wpdyn/content/article/2005/09/14/A R2005091402655.html; Superdome Evacuation Complete, NBC NEWS (Sept. 3, 2005, 7:38 PM), l/ns/us_newskatrina_the_long_road_ba ck/t/superdome-evacuation-completed/#.VdHvXflViko.

(53.) The tremendous work of legal services offices was supplemented by hundreds of lawyers in the private bar as well. See generally Local/Specialty Bars, Others Step Up, 53 LA. B.J. 296 (2005).

(54.) Cf. Karen A. Lash & Reilly Morse, Mitigating Disaster: Lessons from Mississippi," 77 MISS. L.J. 895, 915 (2008) ("The paramount question in public interest work following a massive natural or manmade disaster is how to sustain the advocacy effort over the multiple years it will to take to reinvent the impacted area. Imagine the chill Karen Lash felt on a conference call a week after the storm when legal services lawyers in California, New York, and Florida reported that years later their dockets are still filled with disaster-related cases, but the corresponding surge in interest to do pro bono or fund the extra lawyers needed to handle the caseload had long ago disappeared. We are indescribably grateful but at a loss to explain the on-going pro bono support and interest we are still getting well beyond the twenty-four month mark. We believe the silver lining to the nation's worst natural disaster has been a renewed awakening to the stark realities of racism and poverty in America. And a belief that perhaps this time America can permanently alter living conditions in its two poorest states. And a sense that if we can do it in Mississippi and Louisiana, we can do it everywhere.").

(55.) Tuggle Email, supra note 50.

(56.) Id.; see Davida Finger, 50 Years after the War on Poverty: Evaluating the Justice Gap in the Post-Disaster Context, 34 B.C. J.L. & SOC. JUST. 267, 272 (2014) ("Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created overwhelming burdens on civil legal services agencies and the lawyers who were providing civil legal services to the indigent. Legal services programs throughout Louisiana were unable to handle between sixty-six and eighty percent of calls for assistance. The number of people who actually needed assistance is likely far greater than documented because many people with serious legal needs did not or could not call legal services intake lines or visit legal services offices or outreach clinics." (footnote omitted)).

(57.) See Morin, supra note 21, at 81 (describing volunteer efforts to help affected homeowners clear title to damaged properties); David Hammer, State Can't Pay Legal Aid Bill for Road Home Applicants, TIMES-PICAYUNE (New Orleans) (Mar. 25, 2008), ml (describing difficulties in obtaining state funding to pay for legal services attorneys to assist low-income homeowners in clearing title to their properties).

(58.) Tuggle Email, supra note 50.

(59.) Id.

(60.) Email from Willie Zanders, to author (June 16, 2015, 12:05 PM) [hereinafter Zanders Email] (on file with author).

(61.) For a legal overview of the changes in the New Orleans school system following Katrina, see Robert Garda, Searching for Equity amid a System of Schools: The View from New Orleans, 42 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 613 (2015). There are also several excellent popular reports describing the dismantling of the New Orleans public school system. See, e.g., LEIGH DINGERSON, CTR. FOR CMTY. CHANGE, DISMANTLING A COMMUNITY (2006), ault/files/dismantling_20061026.pdf (featuring the voices of the children and teachers involved).

(62.) See Steve Ritea, Charter School Proposal Halted, TlMES-PlCAYUNE (New Orleans), Oct. 16, 2005, at Bl, http://www.nola.eom/katrina/pages/101605/1016B01.pdf.

(63.) For a more thorough discussion of Act 35, see Robert Garda, The Politics of Education Reform: Lessons from New Orleans, 40 J. LAW & EDUC. 57, 67-75 (2011).

(64.) Court Authorizes a Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of New Orleans Public School Employees, LA. FED'N TCHRS. & SCH. EMPS., court-authorizes-class-action-lawsuit-behalf-new-orleans-public-school-employees (last visited Sept. 25, 2015). Over 8,500 permanent and tenured employees of OPSB were terminated. Id.

(65.) Oliver v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd., 2012-1520, pp. 6, 32 (La. App. 4 Cir. 1/15/14); 133 So. 3d 38, 44, 60 (holding that the terminated employees' due process rights had been violated), rev'd, 2014-0329, 2014-0330 (La. 10/31/14); 156 So. 3d 596, cert, denied, 135 S. Ct. 2315 (2015) (mem.).

(66.) Oliver v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd., 2014-0329, 2014-0330, pp. 20-34 (La. 10/31/14); 156 So. 3d 596, 611-19 (applying res judicata), cert, denied, 135 S. Ct. 2315 (2015) (mem.).

(67.) Oliver v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd., 135 S. Ct. 2315 (2015) (mem.) (denying certiorari).

(68.) Zanders Email, supra note 60.

(69.) Email from Tracie Washington, President, La. Justice Inst., to author (June 21, 2015, 1:50 PM) [hereinafter Washington Email of June 21] (on file with author).

(70.) Id.

(71.) Email from Tracie Washington, President, La. Justice Inst., (July 17, 2015, 12:21 PM) [hereinafter Washington Email of July 17] (on file with author).

(72.) Id.

(73.) Id.

(74.) Id. Hurricane Rita was one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico and hit the Southeast Texas-Southwest Louisiana area on September 24, 2005. Nat'l Weather Serv. Weather Forecast Office--Lake Charles, Louisiana, supra note 6.

(75.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71. More than 150,000 people were settled in FEMA hotels for the first few months after Katrina. Spencer S. Hsu, FEMA Tells 150,000 in Hotels to Exit in 15 Days, WASH. POST (Nov. 16, 2005), http://www.washingtonpost.eom/wpdyn/content/article/2005/ll/15/AR2005111501704.html.

(76.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71.

(77.) Id.

(78.) Washington Email of June 21, supra note 69.

(79.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71.

(80.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71.

(81.) Washington Email of June 21, supra note 69.

(82.) Id.

(83.) Id.

(84.) Id.

(85.) Id.

(86.) See About LJI, LA. JUST. INST., +lji (last visited Oct. 5, 2015).

(87.) On advocacy surrounding the particular needs of public housing residents, see Bill Quigley & Sara H. Godchaux, Locked Out and Torn Down: Public Housing Post-Katrina, BILL QUIGLEY: SOC. JUST. ADVOC., https://billquigley.wordpress.eom/2015/06/08/locked -out-and-torn-down-public-housing-post-katrina-by-bill-quigley-and-sarah-godchaux/ (last visited Oct. 8, 2015).

(88.) See Lesli A. Maxwell, Lawsuits Say Too Few Schools Open in New Orleans, EDUC. Wk. (Feb. 14, 2006), ans.h25.html (discussing Washington's advocacy for children turned away from overcrowded schools).

(89.) Programs, LA. JUST. INST., (last visited Oct. 25, 2015). See also DeShuna Spencer, NAACP Fights for Gulf Coast Residents, CRISIS, May/June 2007, at 42 (discussing the priorities of the NAACP to secure housing, education, and medical care to enable people of color to return to New Orleans).

(90.) Fight to Reopen New Orleans Public Housing "Horrible Slow and Tragic", DEMOCRACY NOW (Sept. 4, 2007), http://www.democracynow.Org/2007/9/4/fight_to_re open_new_orleans_public (interviewing Tracie Washington).

(91.) Four Years After Katrina, New Orleans Still Struggling to Recover from the Storm, DEMOCRACY Now (Aug. 31, 2009), ur_years_after_katrina_new_orleans (interviewing Tracie Washington).

(92.) See Maxwell, supra note 88.

(93.) Spencer, supra note 89, at 42 (quoting Tracie Washinton).

(94.) Four Years After Katrina, New Orleans Still Struggling to Recover from the Storm, supra note 91 (quoting Tracie Washington); see also BROKEN PROMISES, supra note 36, at 22 (reporting that at least one criminal court judge has recommended that desperate family members have a mentally ill relative arrested in order for that relative to receive treatment). However, the degree to which Orleans Parish Prison provided appropriate medical treatment is debateable. See, e.g., id. at 21-23 (describing the failure of the prison to provide adequate mental health treatment to inmates).

(95.) Washington Email of June 21, supra note 69.

(96.) Judy Brown, Penda Hair, Anita Sinha, and Monique Dixon were lawyers with the Advancement Project, while Mary Joseph worked for the Children's Defense Fund. All dedicated thousands of hours of work over many years.

(97.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71.

(98.) Washington Email of July 17, supra note 71.

(99.) Id.

(100.) Washington Email of June 21, supra note 69.

(101.) Email from Gary Clements, Dir. Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, to author (May 4, 2015, 4:34 PM) [hereinafter Clements Email] (on file with author).

(102.) Id.

(103.) Id.

(104.) See generally Brandon L. Garrett & Tania Tetlow, Criminal Justice Collapse: The Constitution after Katrina, 56 DUKE L.J. 127 (2006). According to the authors:
   Hurricane Katrina washed away the New Orleans criminal justice
   system. As residents evacuated, the jail flooded to inmates' chests
   and police scrambled to enforce order without any communication.
   The water receded weeks later revealing "thousands of detainees
   awaiting hearings and trials ... thrust into a legal limbo without
   courts, trials, or lawyers" resulting in what one judge called "a
   'constitutional crisis."' This dire situation lasted not just
   during the initial period of severe disruption, but for upwards of
   a year. While courts eventually reopened, they failed to act as
   eight thousand people languished for months "doing Katrina time" in
   prisons. Most were arrested for petty offenses such as public
   drunkenness, reading tarot cards without a permit, or failure to
   pay traffic tickets, and then detained based solely on a police
   affidavit. Most then served long past their likely sentences
   without ever receiving a judicial hearing. Nor did these thousands
   of detainees, mostly indigent, meet with lawyers. Only six public
   defenders remained in New Orleans, which the Chief Judge of the
   criminal court called "a full-blown disaster." In effect, Louisiana
   courts suspended habeas corpus for six months. The United States
   has rarely experienced such a rapid and complete collapse of local
   law enforcement, a district attorney's office, the indigent defense
   system, jails, and criminal courts. A perfect storm illuminated how
   unprepared a local criminal system may remain for a severe natural
   disaster or terrorist attack.

Id. at 128-29 (footnotes omitted).

(105.) See Clements Email, supra note 101.

(106.) Id.

(107.) Id.

(108.) Id.

(109.) Id.

(110.) Email from Lois Simpson, Executive Dir., The Advocacy Center, to author (May 6, 2015, 12:54 PM) [hereinafter Simpson Email] (on file with author).

(111.) Id.

(112.) See About Us, ADVOC. CTR., (last visited Oct. 8, 2015).

(113.) Simpson Email, supra note 110.

(114.) On the challenges faced by people with disabilities during disasters, see Wendy F. Hensel & Leslie E. Wolf, Playing God: The Legality of Plans Denying Scarce Resources to People with Disabilities in Public Health Emergencies, 63 FLA. L. REV. 719, 720-21 (2011) ("It is no surprise that people with disabilities are often overlooked or given short shrift when public health emergencies arise. In the best of circumstances, challenges facing this group may be invisible because they arise out of the implicit assumptions and institutional arrangements that form the backdrop of daily life. The particular challenges that people with disabilities face in widespread crises, however, can have deadly consequences. Because of their special needs and, in some cases, compromised health status, people with disabilities' potential for catastrophic outcomes far exceeds that of more typical Americans.").

(115.) Brou v. FEMA addressed the fact that about 25% of Katrina evacuees had some sort of disability and 8% needed accessible trailers while only 1% to 2% were provided with such trailers. Nat'l Ctr. for Law & Econ. Justice, Settlement Reached in Landmark Suit Against FEMA, ADVANCING ECON. JUST., newsletter_fall06.pdf (last visited Oct. 8, 2015). FEMA trailer residents also successfully sued for adverse health effects resulting from toxic levels of formaldehyde in some trailers. See Mike Brunker, Class Action Suit Against FEMA Trailer Manufacturers Settled for $42.6 Million," NBC NEWS (Sept. 28, 2012, 10:11 AM), -against-fema-trailer-manufacturers-settled-for-426-million.

(116.) Simpson Email, supra note 110.

(117.) Simpson Email, supra note 110.

(118.) Email from Joan Johnson (May 5, 2015, 12:43 PM) [hereinafter Johnson Email] (on file with author). This person responded to the questionnaire but asked that no name be used. Joan Johnson is a pseudonym.

(119.) Id.

(120.) Id.

(121.) Id.

(122.) For general information on the Road Home program, see The Road Home Program Overview, ROAD HOME, (last visited Oct. 8, 2015).

(123.) Johnson Email, supra note 118. Although much of this litigation was unsuccessful in obtaining relief for those wrongfully terminated, see, e.g., Oliver v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd., Oliver v. Orleans Parish Sch. Bd., 2014-0329, 2014-0330 (La. 10/31/14); 156 So. 3d 596, cert, denied, 135 S. Ct. 2315 (2015) (mem.), there were exceptions, see, e.g., Madison v. Dep't of Police, 2007-2405 (La. 4/4/08); 978 So.2d 288 (per curiam).

(124.) Johnson Email, supra note 118.

(125.) Jennifer Lai-Peterson, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT, http://www.advancementproj (last visited Oct. 25, 2015).

(126.) Email from Jenn Lai-Peterson, Senior Attorney, Advancement Project, to author (June 20, 2015, 2:59 AM) (on file with author). "Ella Baker was an unsung, but leading activist in the Black freedom movement, who worked for the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as a key mentor and supporter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)." Ascanio Piomelli, Sensibilities for Social Justice Lawyers, 10 HASTINGS RACE & POVERTY L.J. 177, 178 n.14 (2013). According to Professor Piomelli:
      At the heart of Baker's ideas was a developmental democrat's
   commitment to nurturing grassroots leaders who would act
   individually and collectively to reject second-class citizenship.
   As she stated, "[o]ne of the major emphases of SNCC, from the
   beginning, was that of working with indigenous people, not working
   for them, but trying to develop their capacity for leadership." She
   was convinced "strong people don't need strong leaders." What was
   needed was "the development of people who are interested not in
   being leaders as much as in developing leadership in others." She
   sought to convince ordinary people--and the young people of
   SNCC--that, "in the long run," regular people "themselves are the
   only protection they have against violence or injustice.... [T]hey
   cannot look for salvation anywhere but to themselves."

      Baker shared Dewey's emphatic rejection of benevolent paternalism
   and aversion to experts' making decisions for others. Her ideas
   sprang from her insider's view of leading civil rights
   organizations. She came to detest such "leader-centered groups,"
   and urged instead the creation of "group-centered leadership." She
   saw those organizations as manifestations of an elitist sense of
   privilege and destiny that led better-educated, middle-class Blacks
   to believe they could and should use their superior knowledge to
   act for the entire race. In addition to their presumptuousness, she
   saw such Black elites as timid and prone to co-optation--afraid to
   jeopardize the recognition the white power structure afforded them
   as negotiating partners. Part of Baker's attraction to the students
   who formed SNCC was their risk-taking, rebellious spirit and
   willingness to confront racism in ways "respectable" adult leaders
   failed to do.

Ascanio Piomelli, The Democratic Roots of Collaborative Lawyering, 12 CLINICAL L. REV. 541, 588-89 (2006).

(127.) Email from David Koen, Attorney, Legal Aid Servs. of Or., to author (June 12, 2015, 7:33 PM) [hereinafter Koen Email] (on file with author).

(128.) Id.

(129.) See Leslie Eaton & Joseph B. Treaster, Insurers Bear Brunt of Anger in New Orleans, N.Y. TIMES (Sept. 3, 2007), pecial/03or leans. html.

(130.) See, e.g., Bob Butler & Jessica Williams, One Homeoumer's Travails: Even After More Than Six Years, Family Can't Move Back into 'New' House, Lens (Dec. 23, 2011),

(131.) See, e.g., In re Stewart, 391 B.R. 327, 345-46 (Bankr. E.D. La. 2008) ("In September of 2005, two identical BPO [broker's price opinion] charges appear on the account. While one charge appears duplicative of the other, it is also unlikely that inspections could have been performed at this time given that Jefferson Parish was under an evacuation order due to Hurricane Katrina and closed to all but emergency personnel. Again, copies of the reports were not produced."), affd, 08-3225, 08-3669, 08-3852, 08-3853, 08-4805, 2009 WL 2448054 (E.D. La. Aug. 7, 2009), vacated in part, appeal dismissed in part, 647 F.3d 553 (5th Cir. 2011) .

(132.) See Settlement Agreement at 2, Greater New Orleans Fair Hous. Action Ctr. v. Dept, of Hous. & Urban Dev., No. 1:08-cv-01938 (D.D.C. 2011),

(133.) For an overview of Klein's book, see The Shock Doctrine, SHOCK DOCTRINE, (last visited Oct. 8, 2015).

(134.) For links to primary source documents describing these processes, see Chapter 20: Disaster Apartheid, SHOCK DOCTRINE, shockdoctrine/resources/part7/chapter20 (last visited Oct. 6, 2015).

(135.) See Kathryn Schultz, The Really Big One, New YORKER, July 20, 2015, at 52, 54.

(136.) Koen Email, supra note 127.

(137.) Email from Reilly Morse, President, Miss. Ctr. for Justice, to author (June 15, 2015, 8:07 AM) [hereinafter Morse Email] (on file with author).

(138.) See Housing Advocates Praise Katrina Recovery Settlement with HUD and Mississippi, MISS. CTR. FOR JUST. (Nov. 15, 2010), newsroom/press-release/housing-advocates-praise-katrina-recovery-settlement-hud-a nd-mississippi.

(139.) Morse Email, supra note 137.

(140.) Karen A. Lash & Reilly Morse, Mitigating Disaster: Lessons from Mississippi, 77 MISS. L.J. 895, 898-902 (2008).

(141.) Id. at 913-14.

(142.) Id. at 914.

(143.) Id. at 903-11.

(144.) Morse Email, supra note 137.

(145.) Email from Hiroko Kusuda, Assistant Clinical Professor, Loyola New Orleans Coll, of Law, to author (June 15, 2016, 4:01 PM) [hereinafter Kusuda Email of June 15] (on file with author).

(146.) Kusuda Email of June 15, supra note 145. For an example of why such presentations were needed, see Anna Williams Shavers, The Invisible Others and Immigrants' Rights: A Commentary, 45 HOUS. L. REV. 99, 143 (2008) ("The Wall Street Journal reported that Hispanic victims of Hurricane Katrina were pulled from a Red Cross shelter in Long Beach, Mississippi, and threatened with deportation. The officers were apparently from the police and the U.S. Marshals Service. These officers swept the shelter and targeted approximately sixty individuals, all Hispanic-looking, and demanded identification. Individuals were told to leave the shelter or face deportation.").

(147.) See Red Cross Relief for Katrina Criticized, NBCNEWS (Sept. 28, 2005, 4:48 PM), http://www.nbcnews.eom/id/9518677/ns/us_news-katrina_the_long_road_back/t/ despite-huge-katrina-relief-red-cross-criticized/ (providing an overview of criticisms of the Red Cross response to Katrina); see also Andrew Dana, Charitable Giving: An Analysis and Extension of Justice Powell's Jurisprudence, 12 WASH. & LEE J. C.R. & SOC. JUSTICE 233, 249 (2006) ("The American Red Cross (Red Cross) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization. In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, the Red Cross spent more than $521 million dollars in providing relief for victims, and expected to spend $2 billion on hurricane relief in all. [Critical Race Theory] suggests that we also critically analyze the Red Cross, which is such a large organization that it resembles an American institution. Does the Red Cross operate to subordinate minority groups? Many hurricane survivors and local nonprofit groups have observed that 'Red Cross services have been easier to come by in white, affluent neighborhoods than in poorer, minority neighborhoods.' In response to the Red Cross' apparent subordination of rural, poor minorities, black charity leaders in the area have created alternative organizations to the Red Cross, including the Saving Our Selves coalition." (footnotes omitted)).

(148.) See Eric Lipton et al., Breakdowns Marked Path from Hurricane to Anarchy, N.Y. TIMES (Sept. 11, 2005), http://www.nytimes.eom/2005/09/ll/us/nationalspecial/b reakdowns-marked-path-from-hurricane-to-anarchy.html

(149.) Email from Hiroko Kusuda, Clinical Professor, Loyola New Orleans Coll, of Law, to author (July 23, 2015, 4:30 PM).

(150.) Id.

(151.) Email from Davida Finger, Assoc. Clinical Professor, Loyola New Orleans Coll, of Law, to author (May 19, 2015, 2:31 PM) [hereinafter Finger Email of May 19] (on file with author).

(152.) Id.

(153.) For criticism of the Red Cross response, see supra note 147.

(154.) See Berre Burch et al., Children and Disasters: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, 10 WHITTIER J. CHILD. & FAM. ADVOC. 3, 5 (2010) ("The mental health problems that emerge in the wake of large-scale disasters are substantial and reach across all age groups. Children have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group. Prevalence estimates of mental health problems in children following Hurricane Katrina suggest that as many as 49% of children were in need of mental health services in the months after the storm. While prevalence rates of mental health problems tend to decline following an initial post-disaster peak, findings from previous large-scale disasters such as Hurricane Andrew suggest that mental health problems for some children persist for many years after the storm, as do secondary effects on behavior, learning, and memory." (footnotes omitted)).

(155.) Finger Email of May 19, supra note 151.

(156.) Id. In Corrie, the family of a peace activist who was killed in the West Bank during demolitions conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces sued the American manufacturer of the bulldozer used in the demolition. Corrie v. Caterpillar, Inc., 403 F. Supp. 2d 1019, 1022-23 (W.D. Wash. 2005), aff'd, 503 F.3d 974 (9th Cir. 2007).

(157.) Corrie, 403 F. Supp. 2d at 1019.

(158.) For a profile of Prof. Finger's clinic at Loyola, see Davida Finger et al., Engaging the Academy in Disaster Response, 10 SEATTLE J. FOR SOC. JUST. 211, 213-214 (2011).

(159.) See Jonathan P. Hooks & Trisha B. Miller, The Continuing Storm; How Disaster Recovery Excludes Those Most in Need, 43 CAL. W. L. REV. 21, 25 (2006) ("[S]ubstantive and procedural aspects of FEMA's disaster assistance programs failed low-income families--unnecessarily delaying assistance to them, utilizing unclear and ineffectual rules, or establishing barriers that denied assistance altogether.... FEMA fails to consider the impact of policies that exclude those most in need.").

(160.) See, e.g., Michael Kunzelman & Ryan J. Foley, FEMA to Demand That Katrina Victims Return Aid Money (June 1, 2011, 8:54 AM), http://www.huffingtonpo (describing the recoupment process).

(161.) Finger Email of May 19, supra note 151.

(162.) Finger Email of May 19, supra note 151.

(163.) For a discussion of the outsourcing of billions of reconstruction dollars to private contractors, see Kevin Fox Gotham, Disaster, Inc.: Privatization and Post -Katrina Rebuilding in New Orleans, 10 PERSP. ON POL. 633 (2012).


(165.) Email from Davida Finger, Assoc. Clinical Professor, Loyola New Orleans Coll, of Law, to author (Aug. 17, 2015, 6:07 PM) (on file with author).

(166.) Email from Anita Sinha, Practitioner-in-Residence, Immigrant Justice Clinic., Am. Univ. Wash. Coll, of Law, to author (June 13, 2015, 8:35 PM) [hereinafter Sinha Email] (on file with author).

(167.) For an introduction to the Advancement Project at its mission, see Mission, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT, (last visited Oct. 10, 2015).

(168.) For a similar reflection, see Jim Freeman, Supporting Social Movements: A Brief Guide for Lawyers and Law Students, 12 HASTINGS RACE & POVERTY L.J. 191, 195 (2015) ("Legal and policy victories can be important contributions to movements for social, racial, gender, and economic justice. Often, they are necessary to fulfill the goals of a movement. However, they are never going to be sufficient by themselves to address the inequitable power structures that created the need for the movement. Thus, movement lawyers must see beyond their professional bailiwick and focus their energies on helping oppressed communities build the power and capacity they need to protect their interests and advance their priorities more broadly." (footnote omitted)).

(169.) For a discussion of the legal issues surrounding the demolition of public housing in New Orleans, see Judith Browne-Dianis & Anita Sinha, Exiling the Poor: The Clash of Redevelopment and Fair Housing in Post-Katrina New Orleans, 51 HOW. L.J. 481 (2008).

(170.) Sinha Email, supra note 166.

(171.) Sinha Email, supra note 166.

(172.) Email from Katherine Mattes, Professor of the Practice & Dir. of the Criminal Defense Clinic, Tulane Law Sch., to author (June 15, 2015, 1:40 PM) [hereinafter Mattes Email] (on file with author).

(173.) Mattes Email, supra note 172. For a more detailed description of the criminal justice crisis following the storm, see Garrett & Tetlow, supra note 104.

(174.) Katherine Mattes, The Tulane Law Clinic: An Evolution into a Combined Individual Client and Advocacy Clinic, 18 CLINICAL L. REV. 77, 84 (2011); see also New Orleans: Prisoners Abandoned to Floodwaters, HUMAN RTS. WATCH (Sept. 21, 2005), waters (describing the experience of the inmates left behind in Orleans Parish Prison); Ira P. Robbins, Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: Prison Emergency Preparedness as a Constitutional Imperative, 42 U. MICH. J.L. REFORM 1, 1 (2008) ("Often overlooked among Katrina's victims are the 8,000 inmates who were incarcerated at Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) when Katrina struck. Despite a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, these men and women, some of whom had been held on charges as insignificant as public intoxication, remained in the jail as the hurricane hit, and endured days of rising, toxic waters, a lack of food and drinking water, and a complete breakdown of order within OPP. When the inmates were finally evacuated from OPP, they suffered further harm, waiting for days on a highway overpass before being placed in other correctional institutions, where prisoners withstood exposure to the late-summer Louisiana heat and beatings at the hands of guards and other inmates. Finally, even as the prison situation settled down, inmates from the New Orleans criminal justice system were marooned in correctional institutions throughout the state, as the judicial system in New Orleans ceased to function.").

(175.) Mattes Email, supra note 172.

(176.) Id.

(177.) Mattes, supra note 174, at 84.

(178.) Denise LeBoeuf, Dir., John Adams Project, to author (Jan. 1, 2015, 11:04 AM) [hereinafter LeBoeuf Email]. As the director of the John Adams Project, Denise LeBoeuf is "assisting in the defense of capitally charged Guantanamo detainees." Denny LeBoeuf, Am. Crv. LIBERTIES UNION, (last visited Sept. 25, 2015). She submitted her responses from Guantanamo Naval Bay Station where she was working on several cases as habeas counsel.

(179.) LeBoeuf Email, supra note 178.

(180.) Id.

(181.) Id.

(182.) LeBoeuf Email, supra note 178.

(183.) See supra note 174.

(184.) LeBoeuf Email, supra note 178.

(185.) For a description of the center's services, see A Medical Home for You and Your Family, ST. THOMAS COMMUNITY HEALTH CTR., (last visited Oct. 10, 2015)

(186.) Email from Barbara Major to author (May 5, 2015, 1:21 PM) [hereinafter Major Email of May 5) (on file with author).

(187.) Id.

(188.) Email from Barbara Major to author (July 20, 2015, 7:43 PM) [hereinafter Major Email of July 20) (on file with author).

(189.) Id.

(190.) Major Email of May 5, supra note 186.

(191.) Major Email of July 20, supra note 188; Email from Barbara Major to author (July 24, 2015, 9:45 PM) [hereinafter Major Email of July 24] (on file with author).

(192.) Major Email of July 20, supra note 188; Major Email of July 24, supra note 191.

(193.) For a discussion of the racially-disproportionate recovery, see Chad Calder, A Tale of Two Recoveries: Urban League Report Shows Stark Differences in Post-Katrina Recovery for Black New Orleanians, NEW ORLEANS ADVOC. (Aug. 26, 2015, 8:33), -takes-unstinting (describing a report that finds that the recovery disproportionately benefitted whites as measured in terms of political power, criminal justice, economic development, unemployment, education, environment, health care, and housing).

(194.) Major Email of May 5, supra note 186.

(195.) Major Email of July 20, supra note 188.

(196.) Id.

(197.) Ernest Jones and Gino Gates are New Orleans lawyers.

(198.) Major Email of May 5, supra note 186.

(199.) Email from John Thompson, Dir., Resurrection After Exoneration, to author [hereinafter Thompson Email] (July 20, 2015 2:36 PM) (on file with author).

(200.) See John Thomspon, Letter from the Founder, RESURRECTION AFTER EXONERATION, (last visited Sept 25, 2015) (describing Thompson's organization's mission); see also Ellen Yaroshefsky, New Orleans Prosecutorial Disclosure in Practice after Connick v. Thompson, 25 GEO. J. LEGAL Ethics 913, 913 (2012) ("In separate trials, John Thompson was convicted of attempted robbery and of capital murder, and incarcerated for eighteen years-- fourteen of those in isolation on death row. A few weeks before his execution date, a defense investigation found exculpatory evidence in the robbery case that had been withheld from his trial counsel by prosecutors and law enforcement, including blood evidence. Once tested, the evidence established his innocence; the robbery case was dismissed and the murder conviction was overturned." (footnotes omitted)).

(201.) See Garrett & Tetlow, supra note 104, at 144-53 (2006); Albert Samaha, Indefensible: The Story of New Orleans' Public Defenders, BUZZFEED (Aug. 13, 2015),

(202.) See About, RESURRECTION AFTER EXONERATION, (last visited Oct. 10, 2015) (outlining the organization's vision and mission).

(203.) Act of July 12, 2005, No. 486, 2005 La. Acts 2287 (codified as amended at LA. STAT. Ann. [section] 15:572.8 (Supp. 2015) ("A prisoner is entitled to compensation in accordance with this Section if he has served in whole or in part a sentence of imprisonment under the laws of this state for a crime for which he was convicted and: (1) The conviction of the petitioner has been reversed or vacated; or (2) The petitioner has proven by clear and convincing scientific or non-scientific evidence that he is factually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.").

(204.) Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51 (2011) (reversing $14 million award on the grounds that prior Brady violations by the district attorney's office were insufficient to establish failure-to-train theory of recovery); see Susan A. Bandes, The Lone Miscreant, the Self-training Prosecutor, and Other Fictions: Comment on Connick v Thompson, 80 FORDHAML. Rev. 715 (2011).

(205.) For information on this organization, see About Us, Safe STREETS/STRONG COMMUNITIES, (last visited Sept. 25, 2015).

(206.) Thompson Email, supra note 199.

(207.) Email from Morgan Williams, Gen. Counsel, Nat'l Fair Hous. All., to author (June 16, 2015, 9:27 AM) [hereinafter Williams Email] (on file with author).

(208.) Id.

(209.) Id. For additional information about this organization, see STUDENT HURRICANE NETWORK, LAW STUDENTS WORKING WITHIN THE POST-KATRINA LEGAL LANDSCAPE: THE STUDENT HURRICANE NETWORK ANNUAL REPORT, OCTOBER 2005-CTOBER 2006 (Laila Hlass et al. eds., 2006), /14fb2ald2a672dl4fb2ald2a6bl0.pdf; Finger et al., supra note 158, at 221-33; Janell Smith & Rachel Spector, Environmental Justice, Community Empowerment and the Role of Lawyers in Post-Katrina New Orleans, 10 N.Y. CITY L. REV. 277, 291-93 (2006); About Us, STUDENT HURRICANE NETWORK, ut/ (last visited Sept. 25, 2015).

(210.) Smith & Spector, supra note 209, at 291.

(211.) About Us, supra note 209.

(212.) Finger et al., supra note 158, at 223-24 ("The Student Hurricane Network, which organized an estimated 5,500 students to work in pro bono placements in the hurricane-devastated region from the winter of 2005 until its dissolution in June of 2009, grew out of a number of different organizing efforts that solidified in October 2005. Days after Katrina, law students in the Northeast formed a listserv for the Katrina Law Student Coalition, and once the fall semester began this group met and planned how best to assist the communities in affected regions. Students held fundraisers, collected supplies, staffed a hotline, and began organizing for winter pro bono trips. Law students were in touch with a group called From the Lake to the River, formed to a large extent by Tulane Law School, and by October 2005, these groups united as a result of a working group discussion at the Equal Justice Works Fair. From there, law students became more organized nationally and eventually became known as the Student Hurricane Network (SHN). SHN used national legal listservs to inform law students, administrators, and faculty about projects. During weekly organizing conference calls, dozens of individuals scattered across the country conducted the business of SHN." (footnotes omitted)).

(213.) Morgan Williams & Nisha Arekapudi, Disasters' Long-Term Impact on Fair Housing: Rebuilding an Engine to Perpetuate or Challenge Entrenched Segregation, in BUILDING COMMUNITY, RESILIENCE POST-DISASTER 345 (Dorcas Gilmore & Diane M. Standaert eds., 2013).

(214.) Williams Email, supra note 207; see also Williams & Arekapudi, supra note 213.

(215.) Email from Emily Ratner, to author (June 14, 2015, 2:53 AM) [hereinafter Ratner Email] (on file with author).

(216.) Id.

(217.) Id.

(218.) See Patois Film Festival, FACEBOOK, (last visited Oct. 10, 2015).

(219.) For a discussion of "bottom up organizing" in the Katrina context, see Rachel Luft, Beyond Disaster Exceptionalism: Social Movement Developments in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, 61 Am. Q. 499 (2009) (using the People's Hurricane Relief Fund as a model of this sort of organizing).

(220.) Police shot at a group of civilians on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans, killing two. See John Burnett, What Happened on New Orleans' Danziger Bridge?, NPR (Sept. 13, 2006, 1:28 AM), =6063982.

(221.) One police officer shot and killed Henry Glover and another burned his body. See Henry Glover's Death Ruled a Homicide by Orleans Parish Coroner, NOLA.COM/TIMES-PICAYUNE (Apr. 1, 2015), /2015/04/henry_glovers_death_ruled_a_ho.html.

(222.) Ratner Email, supra note 215.


(224.) See id. at 102-03.

(225.) For instance, New Orleans politicians and the mainstream media painted a dramatic and deeply disturbing picture of violence and looting in devastated New Orleans. The New Orleans Police Superintendent asserted that "little babies [were] getting raped" in the Superdome, a shelter where hurricane survivors took refuge. As a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reported that Katrina's survivors were sinking into an "almost animalistic state" after days of "watching hooligans killing people, raping people."
      Similar accounts dominated newspaper headlines and TV coverage of
   Katrina for days. The media consistently depicted post-Katrina New
   Orleans both as a city descending into anarchy and violence and as
   a war-zone in which Katrina's victims attacked those who had come
   to their aid. Epitomizing this alarming rhetoric, a New York Times
   editorial reported that New Orleans was "a snake pit of anarchy,
   death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a
   shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop
   levels and criminally negligent government planning." Not to be
   outdone, the Financial Times of London, asserted that, at the
   Convention Center, another shelter of last resort for New Orleans'
   besieged citizens,

      girls and boys were raped in the dark and had their throats
      cut and bodies were stuffed in the kitchens while looters and
      madmen exchanged fire with weapons they had looted.

      The lead news story in the Los Angeles Times described National
   Guard troops taking "positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers
   and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below,
   desperate to flee." Television coverage likewise asserted that
   looting had overtaken New Orleans. Television channels played clips
   of Katrina survivors taking goods from deserted stores in a
   seemingly never-ending 24-hour loop. Yet these unrelenting tales of
   anarchy, violence, and chaos in post-Katrina New Orleans proved to
   be, at best, greatly exaggerated and, at worst, utterly false.

Lisa Grow Sun, Disaster Mythology and Availability Cascades, 23 DUKE ENVTL. L. & POL'Y F. 73, 73-74 (2012) (footnotes omitted).

(226.) See Crimes After Katrina May Have Been Overblown, NBCNEWS (Sept. 29, 2005, 8:53 AM), road_back/t/crimes-after-katrina-may-have-been-overblown/ (quoting statements made by the police chief and the mayor that later turned out to have "little or no basis in fact").

(227.) On the process of emotional recovery following a disaster, see Joel B. Eisen, The Trajectory of "Normal" After 9/11: Trauma, Recovery and Post-Traumatic Societal Adaptation, 14 FORDHAM ENVTL. L.J. 499, 518-20 (2003) ("Those affected by traumatic events must understand that the recovery process is a necessary component of resolving the issue that impacted their lives. The principal stages of recovery are fairly widely recognized. The central idea of recovery is 'to restore power and control to the survivor.' First and foremost, one focuses on restoring the trauma victim's connections with society through a process that has three basic steps. In the first stage, we allow the victim to establish a sense of safety.... After basic safety is established, the trauma victim still needs to recognize and process the traumatic experience, often by way of sharing it with others. Finally, the survivor reconnects with external society. The recovery process is not as cleanly delineated as it appears from this brief description. Most importantly, the stages are not discrete; nothing is linear when responding to trauma. Recovery can occur sporadically and over a lengthy period of time. Numerous studies recognize that "backsliding" can occur along the way." (footnotes omitted)).

(228.) Ratner Email, supra note 215.

(229.) Email from Anna Lellelid, to author (June 14, 2015, 3:09 AM) [hereinafter Lellelid Email] (on file with author).

(230.) For more information about these and other unconstitutional actions after Katrina, see MITCHELL CRUSTO, INVOLUNTARY HEROES: HURRICANE KATRINA'S IMPACT ON CIVIL LIBERTIES (2015).

(231.) For a discussion of the changes in the public education system in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, see SARAH CARR, HOPE AGAINST HOPE: THREE SCHOOLS, ONE CITY, AND THE STRUGGLE TO EDUCATE AMERICA'S CHILDREN 6 (2013) ("And just as the disaster exemplified our government's widespread failure to protect its most vulnerable, the stumbling recovery of New Orleans can be read as a parable for what happens when well-intentioned, deeply divided people try to make things right. Some of the divide is political. But what separates the staunchest supporters of charter schools from their staunchest critics is often less about contrasting politics than about how our race, class, and differing life experiences shape our beliefs and understanding. It's harder to talk about these divides because we must venture out of political realms into more personal ones, and the risk of offense rises. Too often we aren't even speaking the same language from the start."); Garda, supra note 61 at 614-15, 619 ("New Orleans has been the epicenter of education reform since Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and its schools in August of 2005. In the storm's aftermath, New Orleans schools were remade based on the education reforms of the day: charter schools, choice, and state takeover of failing schools. The Recovery School District (RSD), an arm of the state Department of Education, wrested control of over ninety percent of the schools from the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and chartered these schools to private operators over the course of the next nine years. In the 2014-15 school year, the RSD became the first district in the United States to have one hundred percent charter schools. With seventy-four charter schools, sixty-seven private schools, and only six traditional schools run directly by an elected school board, New Orleans is "reinventing itself as a decentralized system of schools.

New Orleans education stands at a crossroads in deciding how to achieve equity for its vulnerable student populations. Down the path to the right lies the market-driven reform that underlies the charter movement and reliance on specialized schools serving the unique needs of each student. This is the path New Orleans followed for seven years after the storm. Down the path to the left lie centralizing services, planning, and oversight to ensure that every school provides an appropriate education to any type of student that walks through every schoolhouse door. New Orleans has moved towards this route more recently, but political forces prevent the system from seeing the centralization path to the end. Or New Orleans could keep a foot in both approaches: some specialized schools but at least minimum services provided in every school with centralized oversight."); Nghana Lewis, After Katrina: Poverty, Politics, and Performance in New Orleans Public Schools, 11 LOY. J. Pub. INT. 285 (2010); Bill Quigley, Fighting for the Right to Learn: A Report on Results of the Public Education Experiment in New Orleans Two Years after Katrina, TRUTHOUT (Aug. 9, 2007), -orleanss-children-fighting-right-learn.

(232.) Lellelid Email, supra note 229.

(233.) Email from Saul Sarabia, Indep. Consultant, Solidarity Consulting, Inc., to author (June 20, 2015, 2:59 AM) [hereinafter Sarabia Email] (on file with author).

(234.) For discussion of how Hurricane Katrina exposed the persistent racism, see Cheryl I. Harris, Whitewashing Race: Scapegoating Culture, 94 CAL. L. Rev. 907, 907-08 (2006) (reviewing MICHAEL K. BROWN ET AL., WHITEWASHING RACE: THE MYTH OF A COLOR-BLIND SOCIETY) ("The images of the suffering that washed over New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina seemed to provide incontrovertible evidence of the significance of race and persistence of racial inequality in contemporary U.S. society. The simple fact that the faces of those left to fend for themselves or die were overwhelmingly Black challenged the prevailing paradigm that the United States is a colorblind society. Colorblindness holds sway in both legal and popular discourse and directs us to discuss race and racism in the past tense, as though they were vices that passed away with the conclusion of the civil rights movement. This racial grammar allows race no relevance or contemporary meaning, accepting instead the depiction of the television ads that Americans of all races intermingle as equals. On this view persistent racial inequality is then largely invisible; any residual disadvantage is a consequence of something other than racism." (footnotes omitted)); see also Ruben J. Garcia, Foreword, Confronting the Rights Deficit at Home and Abroad, 43 CAL. W. L. REV. 1, 1 (2006) ("In 2005, Hurricane Katrina exposed the rights deficit on the Gulf Coast. At the end of August 2005, legacies of racial, economic and social inequality were laid bare on the nation's televisions and computer screens." (footnote omitted)).

(235.) Finger et al., supra note 158, at 211-12 ("More than six years ago, volunteer lawyers, law students, and law faculty from the Gulf Coast and around the country provided assistance to communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the systemic failures of their own government. The volunteers provided much-needed support at a time when existing legal institutions were completely overwhelmed. Through their participation, the law students learned important firsthand lessons about the lack of equality in society, the possibility of redress through law, and the limitations of law. Disasters present challenges and opportunities for law schools and other academic institutions with social justice missions because they expose poverty, racism, and inequality. Whether the disaster is a flood, hurricane, fire, tornado, or riot, preexisting social inequality and vulnerability will affect how severe and how lasting the damage will be. Accordingly, the study of disasters can serve as a lens for a broader inquiry into social injustice, an inquiry that the legal academy is obliged to make as part of its educational mission. In particular, as the most recent Carnegie Report observes, law schools have room to improve in providing more direct experiential learning that incorporates an ethical framework for legal practice. Disasters can offer a useful context for the type of dynamic, social justice-oriented learning advocated by the Carnegie Report." (footnotes omitted)).

(236.) Sarabia Email, supra note 233.

(237.) Email from Alison McCrary, Mediation Coordinator, New Orleans Indep. Police Monitor, to author (July 19, 2015, 2:36 PM) [hereinafter McCrary Email] (on file with author).

(238.) Id.

(239.) Cf. William P. Quigley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Katrina, 81 TUL. L. REV. 955, 1000 (2007) ("It is impossible to begin to understand the impact of Katrina without viewing it through the lenses of race, gender, and poverty. Katrina exposed the region's deep-rooted inequalities of gender, race, and class. Katrina did not create the inequalities; it provided a window to see them more clearly. But the aftermath of Katrina has aggravated these inequalities.").

(240.) McCrary Email, supra note 237.

(241.) This organization is a part of the Peoples' Institute for Survival and Beyond:
      Since 1989, a collective of white anti-racist organizers
   initiated European Dissent to explore ways in which to practice The
   People's Institute principles in their personal, social, family and
   work lives.

      The members of European Dissent are persons of European descent
   who "dissent" from the racist institutions and values designed to
   benefit them. Since its inception, white anti-racist groups
   developed throughout the country. In 2002, European Dissent/New
   Orleans provided major leadership for a gathering of 65 white
   anti-racist activists who seek to strengthen the white anti-racist
   voice in discussions and actions to undo racism.

Programs, UNDOING RACISM: PEOPLE'S INST. FOR SURVIVAL & BEYOND, Cast visited Oct. 10, 2015).

(242.) McCrary Email, supra note 237.

(243.) The United States government estimated 60,000 people were stranded after Katrina. U.S. GOV'T ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, GAO-06-903, COAST GUARD: OBSERVATIONS ON THE PREPARATION, RESPONSE, AND RECOVERY MISSIONS RELATED TO HURRICANE KATRINA 3 (2006),

(244.) One commentator phrases this quite aptly:
   There was a disaster plan for New Orleans, and things proceeded
   exactly as planned. Those with the means would leave, those without
   the means would not. It is difficult to evacuate an entire city in
   a compressed time period. It eases the way for some if others are
   left behind so gridlock does not form. Anyone who had given it a
   thought, and some were paid to give it a thought, knew what triage
   would allow some to leave quickly.

Mari Matsuda, The Flood: Political Economy and Disaster, 36 HOFSTRA L. REV. 1, 5 (2007) (footnotes omitted). When compared to national disaster preparedness plans around the world, the experience of New Orleans's most vulnerable populations appears tragically common:
      During natural disasters, vulnerable populations may include
   individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, children, the
   elderly, prisoners, members of ethnic minorities, people with
   language barriers and people living in poverty. A review of
   thirty-seven national disaster preparedness initiatives worldwide
   reveals that "none of the plans suggested any systemic attempt to
   identify" vulnerable populations, and fewer than twenty-five of
   those plans included provisions specifically designed to address
   the needs of "one or more economically or socially disadvantaged

      Lack of consideration of vulnerable populations' needs can result
   in high death tolls and deepening of poverty conditions in the
   post-disaster social landscape. While natural disasters have
   typically been viewed as equalizing "acts of God" that affect all
   strata of a community equally and without discrimination, recent
   studies on the specific effects of natural disasters on individuals
   living in poverty reveal that disasters are not in fact "status
   levelers" but rather increase the vulnerability of
   already-vulnerable populations. Sociologists demonstrate that one's
   position within society determines one's life experiences,
   relationships and opportunities; during a disaster, social status
   can be a matter of life or death.

Emily Naser-Hall, The Disposable Class: Ensuring Poverty Consciousness in Natural Disaster Preparedness, 7 DEPAUL J. SOC. JUST. 55, 57-58 (2013) (footnotes omitted).

(245.) The Urban League of Greater New Orleans has produced a detailed report analyzing the persistence and, in some cases, the increase of pre-Katrina inequalities. STATE OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS: 10 YEARS POST-KATRINA (Ericka McConduit-Diggs et al. eds, 2015), ent/uploads/2015/08/StateofBlackNewOrleans_TenYearsPostKatrina.pdf.

(246.) As Gandhi said:
      Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with
   you, apply the following test.

      Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest person whom you
   have seen, and ask yourself if the next step you contemplate is
   going to be of any use to that person. Will that person gain
   anything by it? Will it restore that person to a control over his
   or her own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to
   freedom for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

      Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.

Mohandas Gandhi, The Gandhi Talisman, in MOHANDAS GANDHI: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS 190, 190-91 (John Dear ed., 2002). There is an analogous principle in liberation theology which mandates a "preferential option for the poor" and marginalized. Book Note, Transcending Class: A Jurisprudence for Social Justice, 111 HARV. L. REV. 2123 (1998) (reviewing ROBERT E. RODES, JR., PILGRIM LAW (1998)); see also Morin, supra note 21, at 80-85 (describing obstacles to access to emergency assistance, public benefits, and public housing after Katrina).

(247.) See Charles Elsesser, Community Lawyering--The Role of Lawyers in the Social Justice Movement, 14 LOY. J. PUB. INT. L. 375, 384 (2013) ("The central tenet of 'community lawyering' is that social change comes about when people without power, particularly poor people or oppressed people, organize and recognize common grievances. Social change can only be lasting when it is led and directed by the people most affected. It is this organizational work, leadership development and power building that is and has been key. This is our theory of social change. It has been demonstrated over and over again in the civil rights movement, the workers' rights movement, the housing movement and the immigrants' rights movement. Community lawyering is supportive of this grassroots organizing and mobilization for social justice. Those involved in community lawyering understand that these organizing efforts may be the only real route to long-term social change."); Freeman, supra note 168, at 192-93 ("More of us are coming to the realization that even if the legal profession were somehow able to meet all of the discrete, individualized needs of oppressed people, we still would not have a just society. There is also greater recognition that the most significant challenges facing low-income communities, communities of color, and other politically marginalized communities are too large and complex to be addressed in any meaningful way by a legal strategy alone, and thus require a more comprehensive strategy. Thus, more lawyers are coming to the conclusion that rather than seeking to drive the change themselves, they should be helping oppressed communities become the leaders of large-scale, systemic change." (footnotes omitted)); William Quigley, Ten Questions for Social Change Lawyers, 17 PUB. INT. L. REP. 204, 204 (2012) ("Social change lawyering starts with the idea that history shows us that systemic social change comes not from courts or heroic lawyers or law reform or impact litigation, but from social movements. Social change lawyers work with, assist and are in constant relationship with social movements working to bring about social change." (footnotes omitted)).

(248.) See Susan L. Waysdorf, Returning to New Orleans: Reflections on the Post-Katrina Recovery, Disaster Relief and the Struggle for Social Justice, 12 U.D.C. L. REV. 3, 15 (2009) ("Survivors eagerly share their stories with people who are willing to listen. They warmly express thanks to volunteers who have come to help. As one travels the city, it is virtually impossible not to meet survivors and hear their stories. Those who lived in New Orleans before the storm clearly have been transformed by the events of Katrina and their lives have been changed forever. It appears that the desire to tell one's story and the process of storytelling are a vital part of the healing process. Among the many who told me their stories, there are palpable and complex senses and emotions. Bittersweet sadness, a strong pervasive sense of abandonment, a uniquely New Orleans resiliency, and intense pride and love for their city are spiced with a deep simmering anger aimed at the difficult and piecemeal recovery. For many people who have returned to New Orleans, it is too emotionally taxing to take it all in and think about the disaster on a daily or constant basis. This is, in part, a defense mechanism necessary because of the many unanswered questions about what happened and why, and because of the enormous difficulties of daily life. A visitor does not have to look far at all to hear these stories, but rather just open oneself up to empathize. Indeed, everyone has a Katrina story.")

(249.) For example, Beth Butler was living in New Orleans and working as the Director of Louisiana ACORN when Katrina hit. Email from Beth Butler, to author (June 8, 2015, 10:46 AM) (on file with author). She was displaced to Baton Rouge. Id. Her home and her office were uninhabitable for months. Id. She and her staff worked out of their Baton Rouge offices. Id. After two months she was able to work out of a home in New Orleans next door to their offices:
   At the same time we were organizing with ACORN members who were
   rallying in Baton Rouge and in the lower 9th ward on a regular
   basis on a number of issues.... ACORN nationally organized to
   provide direct services and organizing support to members who were
   displaced all over the country. Louisiana ACORN organizing staff
   were hired by other state operations where they had moved..... Some
   of our staff never returned to Louisiana, one star native New
   Orleanian organizer is still so "upset" that she was never able to
   return to work and is retired. Her home in the lower 9th ward was
   bulldozed.... Her mother, a great ACORN member, never returned to
   the upper 9th ward and died in Alabama, we buried her last year.

Id.; see also Ass'n of Cmty. Orgs. for Reform Now, ACORN Katrina Organizing Update, KATRINA READER, Katrina-II-C-Housing4-9thward-12.pdf (last visited Oct. 10, 2015).

(250.) The case of Mark Moreau, codirector of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services is not atypical:
   "... There was so much to do to recover yourself that it
   essentially was a fulltime job for months," says [... Moreau ...].
   To that, one had to add one's legal work.

      Moreau and his wife lost their home when levees broke. Getting
   back on thenfeet, they had to deal with the Federal Emergency
   Management Agency (FEMA), other agencies and insurance companies,
   find a new place to live amid an acute housing shortage and
   skyrocketing costs, and generally reconstruct their lives.

      His wife, a child psychologist, lost 90 percent of her business
   because of client displacement. Grateful that he retained his job,
   they found a silver lining in the loss of hers: at least she had
   time to deal with FEMA and the others.

      "For most lawyers, there has been no relief from stress--first
   dealing with clients', then their own ... personal dilemmas,"
   Moreau says.

Michael J. Vitt, After the Storm.: Gulf Coast Lawyers Rebuild, BENCH & BAR MINN., Mar. 2006, at 22, 23.

(251.) Empathy has four attributes. See Kate Thieda, Brene Brown on Empathy us. Sympathy, PSYCHOL. TODAY (Aug. 12, 2014), partnering-in-mental-health/201408/bren-brown-empathy-vs-sympathy-0. First, "[t]o be able to see the world as others see it--This requires putting your own 'stuff aside to see the situation through your loved one's eyes." Id. Second, "[t]o be nonjudgmental--Judgment of another person's situation discounts the experience and is an attempt to protect ourselves from the pain of the situation." Id. Third, "[t]o understand another person's feelings---We have to be in touch with our own feelings in order to understand someone else's. Again, this requires putting your own 'stuff aside to focus on your loved one." Id. Fourth, "[t]o communicate your understanding of that person's feelings--Rather than saying, 'At least you ...' or 'It could be worse ...' [you] try, 'I've been there, and that really hurts,' or ... 'It sounds like you are in a hard place now. Tell me more about it."' Id.

(252.) See STATE OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS, supra note 245, at 95-96; see also Jamelle Bouie, When Black Lives Matter Began: Hurricane Katrina Exposed Our Nation's Amazing Tolerance for Black Pain, SLATE (Aug. 23, 2015, 9:01 PM), _katrina_10th_anniversary_how_the_black_lives_matter_movement_was.html ("White Americans saw the storm and its aftermath as a case of bad luck and unprecedented incompetence that spread its pain across the Gulf Coast regardless of race. This is the narrative you see in Landrieu's words and, to some extent, Obama's as well. To black Americans, however, this wasn't an equal opportunity disaster. To them, it was confirmation of America's indifference to black life. 'We have an amazing tolerance for black pain,' said Rev. Jesse Jackson in an interview after the storm. Rev. A1 Sharpton, also echoed the mood among many black Americans: 'I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner.' Even more blunt was rapper Kanye West, who famously told a live national television audience that 'George Bush doesn't care about black people."').

(253.) See supra note 245.

(254.) See generally AVIS-JONES DEWEEVER, INST. FOR WOMEN'S POLICY RESEARCH, WOMEN IN THE WAKE OF THE STORM: EXAMINING POST-KATRINA REALITIES OF THE WOMEN OF NEW ORLEANS AND THE GULF COAST (2008); STATE OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS, supra note 245. After a visit to India to meet with survivors of their disastrous tsunami, Katrina survivors joined with their Indian hosts to come up with a statement of principles from the community perspective:
   [W]e insist on gender equity. Our experiences have clearly shown us
   that there is a systematic violation of the rights of women in
   every phase of disasters. In planning, preparation, evacuation,
   distribution of relief, rebuilding, the right to return, and in
   every phase of policy and decision making, the presence and
   participation and value of the role of women have been seriously
   inadequate. The human rights of women must be immediately respected
   as their suffering and disrespect continues today in both our

Bill Quigley, Lessons Learned by Katrina and Asian Tsunami Social Justice Activists, COUNTERPUNCH (May 28, 2007), -learned-by-katrina-and-asian-tsunami-social-justice-activists/.

(255.) For examinations of Katrina and its aftermath at the intersections of feminist theory and critical race theory, see JANE HENRICI ET AL., INST. FOR WOMEN'S POLICY RESEARCH, GET TO THE BRICKS: THE EXPERIENCES OF BLACK WOMEN FROM NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC HOUSING AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA (2015),; Audrey McFarlane, Fighting for High Ground: Race, Class, Markets and Development Done Right in Post-Katrina Recovery, 14 WASH. & LEE J. C.R. & SOC. JUST. 77 (2007); Deleso Alford Washington, Hurricane Katrina and Collective Identity: Seeing Through a "Her-storical Lens, 31 NOVA L. Rev. 325 (2007). Washington tells the story of Milvithra Hendricks, an African-American woman made famous by a picture of her draped in the US flag outside the Convention Center in New Orleans:
   Ms. Milvirtha Hendricks is a testament to faith beyond facts or
   memory. She embodies a collective identity of black women whose
   geographical "space" and "place" has been navigated by an African
   American history of migration, both voluntary and forced--one that
   cannot be captured in a photo while draped in a symbol of freedom
   and justice after experiencing the truth of this Nation's failure
   to timely exercise either--once again.

Id. at 337.

(256.) For further discussion of Katrina's impact on immigrant communities, see Kevin R. Johnson, Hurricane Katrina: Lessons about Immigrants in the Administrative State, 45 HOUS. L. Rev. 11, 19 (2008) ("[T]he problems that arose in the U.S. government's response to the needs of immigrants in the Hurricane Katrina disaster is symptomatic of a more general failure of American democracy--the lack of political accountability of the immigration bureaucracy to the persons most directly affected by its actions."); Bethany Li, We Are Already Back: The Post-Katrina Struggle for Survival and Community Control in New Orleans East's Vietnamese Community of Versailles," 18 ASIAN AM. L.J. 25 (2011) (relating the story of the remarkably resilient and creative response by one Vietnamese community after Katrina and the hurdles they faced); Ashley Morey, No Shelter from the Storm: Undocumented Populations and Federal Disaster Aid, 11 SEATTLE J. FOR SOC. JUST. 257, 258-59 (2012) ("The impacts of disasters are amplified in undocumented populations. In addition to financial and social issues that uniquely affect them, undocumented populations are barred from receiving most kinds of federal aid. Undocumented populations also have an acute, and understandable, fear of detention and deportation, which prevents them from utilizing available government resources after disasters. The United States is home to nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants, and neglecting them in times of crisis is a violation of human rights. As disasters become more common and more severe, the United States' disaster policies should not be shaped by the immigration policy debate, but rather by our commitment to providing safety and security for all people affected by disasters.").

(257.) See Mark Maggio, Hurricane Katrina: Resiliency, the Other Side of Tragedy, FED. PROB., Dec. 2006, at 42, 43 ("It is very easy to get caught up with the external challenges following a tragedy. In fact, we can all but ignore our own needs. The physiology of stress is a daily reminder for us. Our bodies do what they were designed to do to combat the daily grind and give us the capability to manage life's challenges. Under the stress of a tragedy such as Katrina, the strain on the body can be enormous and the impact can be felt for months, if not years following the event. The reason for this is not only the intensity of Katrina's impact but also the duration of the trauma and subsequent physiological impact. The potential for the creation of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal disorders is very real in the aftermath of a tragedy of Katrina's magnitude.").

(258.) See Dianne Molvig, The Toll of Trauma, WlS. LAW., Dec. 2011, at 4 (describing the effects of "compassion fatigue" among public defenders).

(259.) See Lainie Rutkow et al., Protecting the Mental Health of First Responders, 39 J.L. MED. & ETHICS 56, 58 (2011) ("First responders' efforts in emergencies can make them susceptible to the development or exacerbation of mental health conditions.").

(260.) Ron Wilson was and is a civil rights attorney in private practice in New Orleans. Email from Ron Wilson, to author (June 15, 2015, 12:29 PM) (on file with author). He lived in New York and Toronto before being able to return to New Orleans. After Katrina:
      I continued to practice civil rights and public interest
   litigation but it became more burdensome. The practice came to a
   grinding halt for an extended period of time. Clients were
   displaced, and so were court officials, including judges. The
   Louisiana Supreme Court was closed from August 29, 2005 to November
   28, 2005.

      ... [Ajbsent clients and a functioning judicial system, my
   primary source of revenue was adversely impacted. I strongly
   contemplated relocating my practice to New York City, since I am
   licensed in the State of New York.

Id.; see also Order (La. Oct. 25, 2005),

Lessons learned?
   I was hoping, albeit with a certain degree of naivete, that the
   lessons learned from this tragedy would usher in a cohesiveness in
   the City. I was hoping there would be more cooperation among the
   races, and a greater concern for the less fortunate. I hoped there
   would be some form of economic justice which would allow
   individuals to earn a decent living. [As regards] the public
   education system [,] I hoped that it would allow for both a
   strengthening of the successful public schools and a complete
   overhaul of those that were not fulfilling their mission to educate
   the children of New Orleans.


(261.) For an analysis of the failed government response to Katrina, see SELECT BIPARTISAN COMM, TO INVESTIGATE THE PREPARATION FOR AND RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA, H. REPT. 109-377, A FAILURE OF INITIATIVE (2006) [hereinafter FAILURE OF Initiative],

(262.) Elizabeth F. Kent, Where's the Cavalry? Federal Response to 21st Century Disasters, 40 SUFFOLK L. REV. 181, 212-13 (2006) ("'During a catastrophe, which by definition almost immediately exceeds state and local resources and significantly disrupts governmental operations and emergency services, the role of the federal government is particularly vital, and it would reasonably be expected to play a more substantial role in response than in an 'ordinary' disaster.' If nothing else, America's experience with Hurricane Katrina highlights an inevitable obstacle: no matter how detailed and comprehensive a plan is written, if it cannot, or is not implemented effectively, it is a failure. The best of plans are only as good as the implementation of their components. It may never be possible in a time of crisis to anticipate or to respond completely to all needs. The U.S. government and its citizens must commit to building the level of preparation, needed infrastructure, and public education programs that will equip us to avoid a recurrence of the disastrous unmet needs in Katrina." (footnotes omitted) (quoting U.S. SENATE COMM. ON HOMELAND SEC. & GOV'T AFFAIRS, S. REPT. 109-322, HURRICANE KATRINA: A NATION STILL UNPREPARED 3 (2006))).

(263.) Bruce Alpert, $120 Billion in Katrina Federal Relief Wasn't Always Assured, NOLA.COM/TlMES-PlCAYUNE (Aug. 21, 2015, 8:15 AM), index.ssf/2015/08/federal_government,s_120_billio.html.

(264.) For an analysis of this phenomenon as a common thread in many disasters, see JOHN C. MUTTER, DISASTER PROFITEERS: HOW NATURAL DISASTERS MAKE THE RICH RICHER AND THE POOR EVEN POORER (2015).

(265.) See Naomi Klein, Disaster Capitalism: How To Make Money out of Misery, GUARDIAN (Aug. 29, 2006), /comment.hurricanekatrina.

(266.) See, e.g., supra text accompanying notes 137-44 (relating the experience of Robert Morse).

(267.) See, e.g., supra text accompanying notes 69-100 (relating the experience of Tracie Washington) and 166-71 (relating the experience of Anita Sinha).

(268.) See FAILURE OF INITIATIVE, supra note 261, at 342-54.

(269.) See, e.g., RHINO: Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans, ST. CHARLES AVENUE PRESBYTERIAN Church, (last visited Oct. 12, 2015).

(270.) See supra note 209.

(271.) See, e.g., Korina Lopez, Katrina Volunteers Come to Stay (Jan. 14, 2009, 11:01 PM), in_N.htm.

(272.) In this author's experience, the best partners were those who generously stayed as long as it took to help. For example, partners like the Advancement Project, the Jenner & Block law firm, and Stephen Rosenfeld came early and often and remained partners for the long run. There were many, many more.

      Movements for transformation take place through the lives and
   work of people and communities for whom lawyers are at most a small
   part of the story. Therefore, an important question for lawyers
   working on social justice issues is how to carry out their
   professional work in ways that empower the people whose lives are


      Is the goal of legal work for social justice to win recognition
   of rights, such as passing a statute against discrimination, or is
   the ultimate goal a change in culture and practice in a society
   that brings greater equality for all?


(274.) See, e.g., text accompanying notes 237-42 (relating the story of Alison McCrary). Cathy Albisa is the Executive Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative in New York. Email from Cathy Albisa, to author (May 5, 2015, 1:44 PM) (on file with author). NESRI tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to partner with a local organization in New Orleans to fight the demolition thousands of public housing apartments:
      We had to work outside our model, which is usually a deep
   partnership supporting a community campaign. We couldn't find that
   in NOLA for some reason.

      We worked trying to find a way to be useful [in the fight to save
   public housing in New Orleans] for almost 6 years, but we had to
   declare it one of our first big failures. We didn't save even one


Lessons learned?
      We tried to help the public housing residents build themselves,
   but we learned you just can't do that from afar. We should have
   accepted the situation on the ground as it was and worked around it
   better. Perhaps we should have put someone on the ground, we didn't
   do that. We also never got out of a defensive posture, we probably
   should have tried to influence the redevelopment instead of stopped
   it, but it's hard to know.

      Also, accept your limitations. [After a disaster] you don't have
   time to build campaigns, or perhaps the perfect court case, or do
   the kind of proactive work that might be ideal. Mitigation is
   probably not a terrible thing because when you fail to try and get
   at least that, you might get nothing!


(275.) See, e.g., text accompanying notes 69-100 (relating the experience of Tracie Washington).

(276.) For a discussion of post-Katrina improvements in community-oriented medical care, see Katy Reckdahl, Ice Chests on Sidewalk: New Orleans' Groundbreaking Post-Katrina Healthcare System, NEXT CITY (June 10, 2014),

(277.) Bonnie Allen, Barbara Bezdek, and John Jopling offer the following definition of community lawyering:
   Community lawyering augments traditional lawyering models with an
   approach that features building and sustaining relationships with
   clients, over time and in conjunction with their communities.
   Community lawyering is based on a collaborative strategic vision of
   building community by developing client communities' ability to
   advocate for themselves. It requires lawyers and law students to
   confront the legitimate fear in many communities that attorneys
   will dominate the representation, replicating systems of
   subordination with which they already struggle, and derail
   community efforts to change those systems and gain greater social,
   economic and political equality.

Bonnie Allen et al., Community Recovery Lawyering: Hard-Learned Lessons from Post-Katrina Mississippi, 4 DePAUL J. FOR SOC. JUST. 97, 98 (2010).

(278.) For a discussion of the use of human rights law in the post-Katrina context, see Amy Laura Cahn, Our "Rights are not cast in stone": Post-Katrina Environmental "Red-Lining" and the Need for a Broad Based Human Right Lawyering Movement, 12 U. PA. J.L. & SOC. CHANGE 37, 61-65 (2009).

(279.) See generally Quigley, supra note 239 (describing the myriad ways U.S. laws failed to protect the poor and marginalized in the aftermath of the storm).

(280.) People in several parishes were not allowed to return immediately after the storm passed. See Elaine Pittman, Re-Entry Plans Aid Repopulation After Mass Evacuation, EMERGENCY MGMT. (Nov. 30, 2011), saster/Re-Entry-Plans-Aid-Repopulation.html.

(281.) For a discussion of the right to return following internal displacement, see Lolita Buckner Inniss, A Domestic Right to Return? Race, Rights and Residency in New Orleans in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 27 B.C. THIRD WORLD L.J. 325, 367-371 (2007). According to Innis:
   No specific treaty protects the rights of persons displaced within
   their own national borders by natural disasters or other causes. To
   address this void, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
   prepared a set of guidelines to be used in cases of internal
   displacement. The resulting document, the Guiding Principles on
   Internal Displacement (Guiding Principles), sets forth thirty
   principles detailing international laws that protect the human
   rights of internally displaced persons. The Guiding Principles
   outline the scope and purpose of the document and state general
   principles for ensuring humanitarian assistance. They also describe
   procedures for three phases of internal displacement:
   pre-displacement; displacement; and return, resettlement, and

Id. at 368 (footnotes omitted)

(282.) Lindsey v. Normet, 450 U.S. 56, 74 (1972).

(283.) Charles W. Gould, The Right to Housing Recovery After Natural Disasters, 22 HARV. HUM. RTS. J. 169, 174 (2009) ("A right to housing does not spring whole from a disaster; it is grounded in the well-established right to housing under international law. While the right to housing is among the most recognized of the economic, social, and cultural rights ... this is decidedly not the same as saying that the right to housing has been realized.").

(284.) For a discussion of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the context of international human rights, see William Quigley & Sharda Sekaran, A Call for the Right to Return in the Gulf Coast, in 3 BRINGING HUMAN RIGHTS HOME: PORTRAITS OF THE MOVEMENT 291 (2008)

(285.) Cynthia Wiggins, Property Manager for the Guste Homes Management Corporation, a resident-managed public housing complex of over 400 apartments in New Orleans, was living there when Katrina hit. Email from Cynthia Wiggins to author (May 4, 2015, 4:32 PM) (on file with author). Guste Homes Resident Management Corporation began in 1988 when residents began years of training to manage their own community. About Us, GUSTE HOMES RESIDENT MGMT. CORP., (last visited Oct. 12, 2015). In 1999 they became the full-time managers of all public housing on the site. Id. She first evacuated to Atlanta and lived with her brother. Email from Cynthia Wiggins to author (July 20, 4:43 PM) (on file with author). While in Atlanta a local church provided them with food and clothing. Id. When New Orleans started to open back up she returned but was unable to stay and moved to a FEMA hotel in Beaumont, Texas. Id. After moving to Jackson Mississippi to stay with family, she ultimately returned to New Orleans several months later. Id.

After Katrina there was quite a bit of work to do repairing the hundreds of apartments of the Guste Homes and helping families return. Id. Affordable housing in New Orleans changed as rents shot up, the stock of public housing went down, and housing violations increased. Id. She thinks more public housing should have been rebuilt and there should have been rent controls and more uniform renter-friendly policies:
      While some disagreed with the redevelopment of public housing I
   agree redevelopment needed to take place considering the conditions
   families were living in. However, what I did not anticipate was the
   opportunity for developers to take prime real estate and convert it
   to market rate housing that not even working families can afford.
   [This forced poor and working people who had lived in public
   housing] to move in private housing with the same conditions, less
   rules and a greater risk of becoming homeless.


      The experiences [of former public housing residents who are
   now in private housing] are different depending on who you talk
   with. Their financial struggles are difficult for some especially
   since there is less restriction with regard to rents, utilities and
   the passing on of expenses [by landlords].

Id. Ms. Wiggins did not have much experience with lawyers helping the community but is grateful for Tracie Washington and the Advancement Project who worked with residents on the right to return. Email from Cynthia Wiggins to author (July 20, 4:43 PM) (on file with author).

(286.) Compare Jennifer Callas, New Orleans Mayor Touts Resilience in City's Comeback," USA TODAY (Aug. 21, 2015, 7:12 PM), ws/nation/2015/08/18/new-orleans-mayor-touts-resilience-citys-comeback/31859099/ with John C. Mutter, How Natural Disasters Harm the Poor More Than the Rich: It Was True Before Katrina and It Is True Now, SLATE (Aug. 28, 2015, 5:45 AM), rs_they_almost_always_make_the_poor_poorer_and.html.

(287.) See, e.g., Callas, supra note 286 ("For New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the recovery in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina can be defined in one word: resilience.").

(288.) See generally STATE OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS, supra note 245.

(289.) Cf. ASS'N OF THE BAR OF THE CITY OF N.Y. FUND, INC. ET AL., PUBLIC SERVICE IN A TIME OF CRISIS: A REPORT AND RETROSPECTIVE ON THE LEGAL COMMUNITY'S RESPONSE TO THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER N, 2001, AT 58 (2004), reprinted in 31 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 831, 927 (2004) ("Flexibility, adaptation, and innovation were critical aspects to the 9/11 legal relief effort.").

(290.) Marjorie Esman, now Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, was in private practice in New Orleans when the storm hit. Email from Marjorie Esman, Exec. Dir., Am. Civil Liberties Union of La., to author (May 4, 2015, 4:17 PM) (on file with author). She evacuated to Grand Coteau, Louisiana with her daughter, a junior in high school, and stayed there four months. Id. Fortunately the law firm she worked for had an office in Lafayette so she was able to keep her job. Id. Katrina was the impetus for her to give up her private practice and become the head of the ACLU of Louisiana. Id. "I loved my practice, but it was no longer as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. I felt that I needed to do something more meaningful, and this opportunity arose." Id.

Lessons learned from Katrina?: "The entire city was making it up as we went along, and nobody knew what to do or how to do it. Being flexible is essential. Easier said than done though." Id.

(291.) On the importance of such preparation for legal professionals, see Brooke Ashton, Disasters: Are You Prepared Personally and Professionally'? UTAH B.J., Oct. 2011, at 42, 42 ("Before a person can assist others in a disaster, he or she must first be prepared himself or herself.").

(292.) Tuggle Email, supra note 50.
COPYRIGHT 2015 Loyola University New Orleans, School of Law
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Continuation of II. Our Stories A. Local Lawyers through III. Lessons Learned, with footnotes, p. 662-704
Author:Quigley, William P.
Publication:Loyola Law Review
Date:Sep 22, 2015
Previous Article:A letter to social justice advocates: thirteen lessons learned by Katrina social justice advocates looking back ten years later.
Next Article:In case of emergency, please comply: Louisiana's outmoded advance directive legislation and the patient's need for reform.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters