Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program



Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts

Major Professor

Graves, Kevin

Second Advisor

McGowan-Hartmann, John

Third Advisor

Hirsch, Arnold


This thesis examines the rhetorical and visual manifestations of race as they figured in the months prior to and within the 2006 New Orleans mayoral election discourses, and examines how the Nagin campaign tapped into a strategy that capitalized upon pre-existing racial tensions exacerbated by Katrina in order to win re-election. Much of the research for this thesis emerged from the making of a documentary film that examines the intersection between race and politics within this same election, and draws upon primary source video interviews conducted between February - May, 2006, and secondary source media and communications materials to posit that race rendered all political response to Katrina impotent, and that the reductive discourse of a racialized campaign was founded upon traditional, outmoded, and predictable interpretations of racial differences facilitated by socioeconomic hierarchies that both provided a structure for and allowed the psychological framework for such a strategy to work.


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