Hurricane Katrina & the Gulf Coast

IWPR’s research on Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast lifts up the voices of women affected by inadequate policies. In 2005, IWPR researchers began studying women’s circumstances along the U.S. Gulf Coast almost immediately after Hurricane Katrina and were among the first to respond with a gender focus. Between 2005-2015, IWPR produced fact sheets, briefing papers, book chapters, and short reports detailing, through both quantitative and qualitative analysis, the conditions faced by the women of New Orleans both before and after the storm.

Get to the Bricks: The Experiences of Black Women from New Orleans Public Housing After Hurricane Katrina, a report that culminated a five-year research project, explores the experiences of 184 women who lived in public housing when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005 and the levees protecting the city of New Orleans failed.

The report finds that disaster relief and housing policies put in place following Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath—in particular, the demolition of the Big Four public housing buildings—were implemented in a manner that took away opportunities, supports, and infrastructures from low-income women and their families most in need of a reliable safety net, especially as they sought to recover from a catastrophic set of disasters and endure the Great Recession.

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