Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Jenkins, Pamela

Second Advisor

Luft, Rachel

Third Advisor

Laska, Shirley


The overall goal of this study is to gain a better understanding of disaster-stricken communities using the experiences of the community of Boothville-Venice, Louisiana, and examining their narratives for an understanding of loss. This thesis uses symbolic interactionism, and draws from existing literature in psychology, thanatology, and sociology to develop the understanding of loss and grief. The strategy of inquiry employed for this qualitative study is ethnography, and the study uses fifteen in-depth interviews. The analysis addresses the pre-Katrina reality of residents, broken into the six dimensions (Community, Work, Family, Identity, Faith in the Systems, and Future), then compared to their post-Katrina realties to discover loss. This thesis relates the loss, and the associated grief, to existing literature on loss and grief. It also examines how the loss of these aspects of life begins to affect their future and the ultimate decision of whether to return home or remain relocated.


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.