Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


Planning and Urban Studies

Major Professor

Pamela Jenkins

Second Advisor

Bethany Stich

Third Advisor

Flozell Daniels


This study seeks to understand how local and national newspaper articles and African American residents frame obstacles to returning to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It explores how recovery planning processes and policy changes influenced the decision-making processes of African Americans displaced to Houston through a content analysis of the media and qualitative interviews with displaced and returned residents. The study shows the media and participants framed disaster recovery policies as creating opportunities and gaps in assistance that varied by location. Participants described how policy decisions that created gaps in assistance compounded the difficulty of returning for working- and middle-class African Americans. The findings suggest planners and policy makers need to consider how disaster recovery policy changes may intersect to create obstacles that impede residents' ability to return and rebuild after disasters.

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The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.