Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Stich, Bethany

Second Advisor

Jenkins, Pam

Third Advisor

Kiefer, John


U.S. military bases and installations represent trillions of dollars of capital investment towards the nation’s defense infrastructure. The Department of Defense, in its response to the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, sought to reorganize and optimize this basing infrastructure to meet the emerging threats of the 21st century. A series of nationwide Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) efforts were chartered by Congress to facilitate this task, identifying hundreds of obsolete or unneeded military installations. During the last BRAC effort in 2005, the Naval Support Activity New Orleans was targeted for closure, with its U.S. Navy and Marine Corps tenants to be reassigned elsewhere. In response to this threat, a group of retired military and civilian elites formed a non-profit entity known as the New Orleans Federal Alliance (NOFA), chartered to lobby the BRAC Commission to salvage the West Bank portion of the NSA from closure and establish a new mixed use, public-private Federal City complex in its stead. The purpose of this study was to examine the life cycle of NOFA and its partners in the context of the Federal City project over a ten year period. Interviews of key personnel involved with this coalition revealed remarkable insight into the characteristics associated with its formation, mobilization, sustainment, and fragmentation. The data illustrated the delicate relationship between the military history of New Orleans and its unique culture, and how that culture influenced actor behavior through the varied governing subsystems in the region. As one would expect, local politics dominated the adverse dynamic of the coalition’s solvency, heightened significantly in national visibility by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The result was the dissolution of the NOFA-centered coalition and the failure of the Federal City project to achieve full maturity.


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