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.




  • Despina Stratigakos
  • Simon Sadler
  • shannon-mattern-new2
  • Sandy Isenstadt

Despina Stratigakos

Despina Stratigakos is a columnist for Places. She is an internationally recognized historian and professor in the architecture department at the University at Buffalo.

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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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Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern is a columnist for Places. She is Associate Professor in the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York.

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Sandy Isenstadt

Sandy Isenstadt is a columnist for Places. He is a professor and Director of the Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware, specializing in the history of modern architecture.

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