Communities

Knight Cities podcast: Resilience and recovery in the Big Easy

Knight Cities podcast

Roberta Brandes Gratz is the author of a new book on post-Katrina New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of the hurricane. It’s titled “We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City,” and Richard Florida calls it an “absolute must read.” 

Roberta also wrote “The Battle for Gotham:  New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.” With Jane Jacobs, she founded the Center for the Living City. She splits her time between New York and New Orleans. Here are five things you should know from my conversation with Roberta:

1.     Hurricane Katrina was a manmade disaster. The flooding of New Orleans was caused by breaks in the manmade levees.

2.     The recovery in New Orleans was very localized and very ground up.

3.     Before Katrina, there was not the kind of citizen engagement that emerged post-Katrina. Even though citizens were exhausted, they found the will to organize.

4.     There is never a shortage of citizen energy.

5.     When advocating for political change, even losses contain a certain element of winning if you expand your coalition and your know-how.

Listen to my conversation with Roberta here. And sign up for the “Knight Cities” newsletter to get alerts as soon as new conversations are posted.

Look for new “Knight Cities” content posted every week. You can follow us on Twitter at #knightcities or @knightfdn. And if you have ideas for people you’d like to hear from, please email me.

Carol Coletta is vice president of community and national initiatives at Knight Foundation. Follow her on Twitter @ccoletta.