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Getting out or Staying Put: An African American Women's Network in Evacuation from Katrina

Jacquelyn Litt
NWSA Journal
Vol. 20, No. 3, New Orleans: A Special Issue on Gender, the Meaning of Place, and the Politics of Displacement (Fall, 2008), pp. 32-48
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40071295
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Getting out or Staying Put: An African American Women's Network in Evacuation from Katrina
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Abstract

This article examines the emergency evacuation from New Orleans in a network of low-income African Americans in the day before Hurricane Katrina. I argue that the quick action of key women mobilized the successful evacuation of 25 individuals who could not otherwise have left the city. The network was successful during evacuation for three reasons. First, government warnings did not appear to carry the same authority as the passing of informal knowledge through these trusted women-centered networks. Second, women were able to pull together network members and resources already embedded in their daily lives. Third, network members recognized pre-existing personal ties and expanded network membership when necessary. I conclude that any formal disaster planning should take into consideration, in a practical way, not only the existence but the usefulness of women's networking skills for the survival of vulnerable individuals in harm's way.

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