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
  • Simon Sadler
  • Belmont Freeman
  • gabrielle-esperdy

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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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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Belmont Freeman

Belmont Freeman is a columnist for Places. He is principal of Belmont Freeman Architects, an award-winning design firm in New York City.

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Gabrielle Esperdy

Gabrielle Esperdy is a columnist for Places. She is associate professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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