BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Weeklong BGSU series to examine ‘Life in the Aftermath of Katrina’

One year after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, less than half of the city’s pre-Katrina population had returned. One-third of its public schools and six of its nine hospitals remained closed, and 60 percent of homes still lacked electricity.

Even now, 18 months after the storm, less than half of the federal government’s $110 billion in hurricane relief aid to the Gulf Coast has actually been spent.

Several speakers will assess the situation in New Orleans from various perspectives during “After the Waters Recede: Life in the Aftermath of Katrina,” a series of presentations March 19-23 at the University.

Also culminating at the end of the week will be a monthlong campus effort to adopt a home in New Orleans through the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN raises money to save water-damaged homes in the city’s low-income neighborhoods from demolition. BGSU has been challenged to raise at least $2,500, which will cover the cost of gutting a home and preparing it for restoration.

All free and open to the public, the week’s events will begin and end with health-related discussions led by representatives of Tulane University in New Orleans.

On March 19, Dr. Mark VanLandingham will give “A Sociologist’s Perspective on Katrina’s Health Impacts on Minority Populations,” from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater. A professor of international health and development at Tulane, VanLandingham is currently examining the hurricane’s social and health consequences for New Orleanians.

At week’s end, beginning at 3 p.m. March 23 in the Union Theater, Janet Krane of Tulane University Hospital will present “Watching the Waters Rise: An Insider’s View of the Effects of Katrina on Health Care.”

Krane is vice president of physician development and operations at the hospital, where she helped care for patients for six nights, with no electricity, during the hurricane. She assisted with the evacuation of patients, staff and doctors on private helicopters and was one of the last two people to leave the hospital. Staying in New Orleans, Krane has since been involved in restaffing hospitals, addressing patient needs with minimal resources and making plans for the future, including consideration of how to prepare for potential disasters yet to come.

Following her presentation will be another, by Beckett Warren, a student in BGSU’s American Culture Studies Program, on “The Erosion of Civil Liberties in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

Jazz guitarist Chris Buzzelli, musical arts, will perform songs from New Orleans as guests enter the theater that afternoon.

The week’s other events will be:
• “Bringing Katrina into the Curriculum,” by BGSU graduate students in sociology, from 1-2:15 p.m. March 20 in 201A Union.
• “Women and Art in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina,” by Drs. Vikki Krane, human movement, sport and leisure studies and director of the Women’s Studies Program, and Laura Sanchez, sociology, from noon to 1 p.m. March 21 in the Women’s Center, 107 Hanna Hall.
• “Healing through Sport: Gender, Race and the Superdome,” by students in women’s studies and HMSLS, from 9:30-10:45 a.m. March 22 in 223C Eppler Complex.

“We are glad to be able to participate in the dialogue about New Orleans' recovery and students' responsibility to think about environmental activism and social politics,” said Sanchez about the event.

The Women’s Studies Program, sociology department and Center for Family and Demographic Research are among the week’s University sponsors, along with the American Culture Studies, Africana Studies and Gerontology programs; the political science, geology, history and geography departments; the Center for Environmental Programs; the offices of the Provost, the Executive Vice President, and Equity and Diversity; the Graduate College and the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Development; the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society; the Chapman Community, and the schools of Communication Studies and Family and Consumer Sciences.

March 12, 2007