Panel Paper: Resiliency and Responsiveness: A Comparative Analysis of Disaster Preparedness and Response in New Orleans and San Juan

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 212 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Ida Drury and Maren B. Trochmann, University of Colorado, Denver

Reflecting upon policy lessons in the wake of natural disasters is an admirable and essential task. The vestiges of colonialism and current discursive practices of “otherness” shape how public administrators address and frame disasters. Through critical, post-colonial theory, this research compares and contrasts two natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana and surrounding areas in the Mississippi Delta (2005) and Hurricane Maria in San Juan and greater Puerto Rico (2017). This research explores legislative and administrative actions in preparation for and response to these natural disasters. It explores how federal responses differ when a natural disaster impacts a state versus an unincorporated territory and to what extent policy lessons from Katrina were incorporated into Maria's disaster preparedness and response. Finally, it offers a discussion and lessons on urban resiliency in the wake of disasters. This inquiry utilizes five-step qualitative data analysis (QDA) to offer insights on how disaster responses might be a force for positive, inclusive social change or to reinforce hegemonic and oppressive institutions, such as colonialism, in American cities and territories.