Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BreakAway - Service trip to New Orleans 2011

These are some photos and sociological ruminations from the most recent Millikin University "Breakaway" trip to New Orleans, where we spent a week helping those STILL in need of help. We were all struck by the ongoing needs of the area, particularly in the St. Bernard Parish where we worked. We were also struck by the optimistic attitude of a community ravished by a hurricane and, most recently, by an oil spill. They've been hit hard, but continue to bounce back from it all. We heard so many compelling stories of survival, compassion and injustice. One story that highlights the human side of the tragedy can be read in a book titled, Zeitoun (plot: a Muslim man, a local painter with a good heart, remains in the devastated area to assist stranded neighbors and animals, only to be carted away by the FBI as a suspected "terrorist.") True story.


To better understand sociology's contribution to disaster research, check out this online article entitled, "Finding and Framing Katrina: The Social Construction of Disaster", By Havidán Rodríguez & Russell Dynes. This study criticizes the media's framing and storytelling of the disaster, dispelling the popular myths, for example, that there were hundreds of deaths, bodies and rapes at the Superdome. Another subject not well reported by mainstream media, was the aftermath of relocation, such as the 600 African Americans that were displaced to conservative, white, Mormon Utah - see the full documentary from Free Speech TV, entitled "Desert Bayou" on YouTube..

The full congressional, bipartisan report on the government's (lack of) timely reaction to this nation's worst national disaster, is here, entitled, "A Failure of Initiative."

For a complete bibliography of social science research related to Katrina, go HERE.

See archived photos from survivors HERE.

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