Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Powers, Madelon

Second Advisor

Mizell-Nelson, Michael

Third Advisor

Striffler, Steven

Fourth Advisor

Rosenblum, Marc


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, lapses in federal policy-making and a lack of state level enforcement paved the way for employer exploitation of predominantly Latino migrant workers, transforming working-class Latino newcomers into the newest class of storm victims in post-Katrina New Orleans. In essence, a "rebuild above all else" recovery scenario took hold between 2005-2007 in which immediate reconstruction of the city took priority over the participation of local, African-American workers and the protection of immigrant worker rights. Despite their disadvantaged position, however, migrant workers did not remain passive victims to injustice but actively organized against employer abuse and intimidation by law enforcement and immigration officials. Latino worker activists and their allies sternly rejected the “rebuild above all else” recovery model championed by local, state and federal government policies and sought to carve out an alternative rebuilding model that respected immigrant labor rights.


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