A Katrina Lexicon

Call it the Federal Flood or the Levee Failure of 2005 — just don’t call it Katrina! New Orleanians’ ambivalence about the name of that disaster engages participants in a healthy discussion of underlying problems and future challenges. It forces the telling of complex backstories involving history, geography, sociology, politics, language, and, yes, engineering.

Call it the Federal Flood or the Levee Failure of 2005 — just don’t call it Katrina! How we talk about a disaster so big we can’t agree on its name.




  • Alan Thomas
  • Naomi Stead
  • Aaron Rothman
  • Simon Sadler

Alan Thomas

Alan Thomas is a columnist for Places. He is Editorial Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago Press and a photographer specializing in urban landscape.

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Naomi Stead

Naomi Stead is a columnist for Places. She is an architecture critic and senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia.

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Aaron Rothman

Aaron Rothman is the photo editor of Places, and an artist and writer whose work explores contemporary issues in landscape.

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Simon Sadler

Simon Sadler is a columnist for Places. He teaches the history and theory of architecture, design, and urbanism across several programs at the University of California, Davis, where he is a professor in the Department of Design.

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