Hurricane Katrina caused traumatic disorientation of communities of color, the impact of which continues today – a full ten years later. Building on the existing everyday stressors /adversity of racism and classism, this disorientation contributes to high rates of violent crime, unemployment, chronic food desserts, stark health inequalities, and increased stress levels. Additionally, the mass evacuation and inequitable recovery and re-housing opportunities undermined historical protective factors within African American communities such as strong family ties, cultural identity and close relationships.
The lived experience of New Orleanians of color continues to be one of lost community, unemployment, incarceration, and exhaustion. Despite inequitable redevelopment of the city, individuals, families and communities have survived, primarily utilizing familial and social networks, and the culture of music and dance to begin to the journey of reorientation to new landscapes.
This conference and evening cultural performance, will highlight strength in the face of chronic stress and adversity and develop strategies at multiple levels of the social ecological model (intra-psychic, interpersonal, community and societal) to support the continued reorientation of New Orleanians. The conference will also highlight similar stories of survival from developing nations e.g. Jamaica, Haiti which have faced similar acute and chronic stressors.