The Continuing Storm
Learning from Katrina
160 Pages, 11 b&w photos, 2 maps
Sales Date: July 5, 2022
More than fifteen years later, Hurricane Katrina maintains a strong grip on the American imagination. The reason is not simply that Katrina was an event of enormous scale, although it certainly was by any measure one of the most damaging storms in American history. But, quite apart from its lethality and destructiveness, Katrina retains a place in living memory because it is one of the most telling disasters in our recent national experience, revealing important truths about our society and ourselves.
The final volume in the award-winning Katrina Bookshelf series Higher Ground reflects upon what we have learned about Katrina and about America. Kai Erikson and Lori Peek expand our view of the disaster by assessing its ongoing impact on individual lives and across the wide-ranging geographies where displaced New Orleanians landed after the storm. Such an expanded view, the authors argue, is critical for understanding the human costs of catastrophe across time and space. Concluding with a broader examination of disasters in the years since Katrina—including COVID-19—The Continuing Storm is a sobering meditation on the duration of a catastrophe that continues to exact steep costs in human suffering.
This beautifully written account by two preeminent disaster scholars takes readers on a journey that begins long before Hurricane Katrina, continues through its devastating impact on New Orleans, and explores its cumulative and lasting sociodemographic, economic, psychological, and related effects. An early harbinger of institutional failures yet to come, Katrina showed starkly how those institutions worked primarily for white, privileged, well-resourced groups and households, while leaving people of color, the marginalized, the poor, or survivors living in what were perceived as unconventional family arrangements, to fend for themselves. Above all, as its title indicates, the book shows in powerful detail that Katrina is not over for so many survivors who continue to struggle with repeated assaults on their physical and psychological well-being and on the social relationships that formed the bedrock of their identities. Erikson and Peek remind us that, like a gaping wound that refuses to heal, Katrina is still very much with us.
— Kathleen Tierney, University of Colorado Boulder, author of Disasters: A Sociological ApproachThe Continuing Storm documents the cruel irony that perennially besets human disasters, whether the culprit is a hurricane named Katrina or a pandemic named Covid-19. The least among us seem always to suffer the harshest collective traumas, bearing an effect that repeats. This book is a must-read for everyone who wishes to understand and to respond effectively.
— Elijah Anderson, Sterling Professor of Sociology, Yale University, author of Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday LifeThis is a wonderful book. It beautifully blends the clear-eyed analysis and elegant prose we expect from Kai Erikson with the state-of-the-art knowledge of disaster sociology that only Lori Peek can deliver. It’s precise, insightful, and powerful from beginning to end.
— Eric Klinenberg, New York University, author of Palaces for the People: How To Build a More Equal and United SocietyThe Continuing Storm is a succinct volume about how racism, poverty, and other human-made injustices exacerbate natural disasters.
— Foreword Reviews[The Katrina Bookshelf] is the only series of writings that explores the multiple levels of a disaster and its extended aftermath over a nearly two-decade period. As such, the series provides a much needed understanding of the complexity of disaster response and recovery, of long-term toll disaster takes on people, families, and communities. The Continuing Storm serves as a series capstone of sorts, locating Katrina in both time and space while revisiting the chaos fostered by the immediate storm and flooding. The book also extensively reviews the impact of race and racism on Katrina response and recovery.
— Recovery DivaThe authors have provided a wonderfully succinct account of Hurricane Katrina that clearly emphasizes the importance of viewing this disaster as an ongoing phenomenon...Erickson and Peek make important contributions to field of critical disaster studies, the study of disaster time frames, and the study of trauma that individuals who endure disasters experience. The Continuing Storm is recommended for those who teach undergraduate courses on environmental history and sociology, history and sociology of disasters, and the sociology of trauma. This book would also serve as a terrific introduction to Katrina for both academic and non-academic audiences.
- I. A Hurricane Known as Katrina
- 1. Along the Shores of the Gulf
- 2. On the Streets of New Orleans
- II. Locating Katrina
- 3. In Time
- 4. In Space
- III. Katrina as Human Experience
- 5. Before: Seeking Out the Most Vulnerable
- 6. During: Being Battered by the Storm
- 7. After: The Pains of Displacement
- About the Authors