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.




  • david-heymann
  • Barbara Penner
  • Alan Thomas
  • Simon Sadler

David Heymann

David Heymann is a columnist for Places. He is an architect, and the Harwell Hamilton Harris Regents Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin.

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Barbara Penner

Barbara Penner is a columnist for Places. She is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

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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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