Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


College of Urban and Public Affairs

Major Professor

Ward, Martha

Second Advisor

Alcazar, Alvaro

Third Advisor

Gladstone, David


This ethnographic case study examines O. Perry Walker, a New Orleans high school the state of Louisiana had previously labeled "failing," during its closure from August 29, 2005 until December 14, 2005, due to the evacuation of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. This unprecedented evacuation of a major city closed the school, making its reopening the battleground for diverse actors seeking to shape the future of the school and the school system. This research includes interviews with the stakeholders who worked to control, reopen and reform this urban school: teachers, school administrators, elected officials, the California National Guard and staff with a private "turnaround" company, Alvarez and Marsal. It concerns the management of schools facing multiple disasters. The conversion of Walker from a traditional public school to a charter school provides insights into so-called urban school reforms, including ownership, privatization and control of public schools for numerous contentious stakeholders.


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.