“The vivid story of one family’s ordeal in Hurricane Katrina . . . offers completely new and highly relevant insights into disaster response.” —Susanna Hoffman, disaster anthropologist and director, Hoffman Consulting
Standing in the Need presents an intimate account of an African American family’s experience after Hurricane Katrina. Before the storm struck, this family of one hundred fifty members lived in the bayou communities of St. Bernard Parish just outside New Orleans. Rooted there like the wild red iris of the coastal wetlands, the family had gathered for generations to cook and share homemade seafood meals, savor conversation, and refresh their interconnected lives.
In this lively narrative, Katherine Browne weaves together voices and experiences from eight years of post-Katrina research. Her story documents the heartbreaking struggles to remake life after everyone in the family faced ruin. Cast against a recovery landscape managed by outsiders, the efforts of family members to help themselves could get no traction; outsiders undermined any sense of their control over the process. In the end, the insights of the story offer hope. Written for a broad audience and supported by an array of photographs and graphics, Standing in the Need offers readers an inside view of life at its most vulnerable.
“Standing in the Need delivers an epic story about disaster and the haunting problems imposed by our ‘recovery culture.’ The lesson in these pages is of urgent concern as the world moves into weather we have never seen before.” —Mindy Fullilove, MD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
“Browne suggests that recovery agencies could reduce suffering and speed healing by learning about the history, culture, and distinctive customs and needs of disaster-impacted communities.” —Contemporary Sociology