A mind-boggling array of personalities and perspectives to debate the ‘teachable moment’ of Katrina in a regional and global context

Tulane University’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South will bring together a motley crew of authors, artists, academics, activists, and others to hold forth on how the “lessons” of Katrina might be deployed to think about the future—not only of New Orleans and the Gulf South, but of the world!

The one-day conference, “After Katrina: Transnational Perspectives on the Futures of the Gulf South,” takes place from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday, November 15, in Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center (rm. 201).

Its featured presenters are author and geographer Richard Campanella and poet and teacher Kalamu ya Salaam. Campanella, most recently, has been hosting “Arrivals,” a series of discussions for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities that “examines previous population influxes in New Orleans to provide a context for ongoing debates over the city’s changing face and residential makeup.” Kalamu ya Salaam has been an outspoken critic of the ways in which the city’s post-Katrina transformation at the hands of racist disaster capitalists have run roughshod over the black community, and he doesn’t need a history lesson to call bullshit.

The event is organized by British scholar Anna Hartnell, a visiting scholar at Tulane whose research attempts to locate post-Katrina New Orleans within larger national and international debates about the changing status of the United States in the 21st century. Regardless of her motivations, Hartnell has certainly managed to bring together a group that won’t result in your typical, head-nodding circle-jerk of academics agreeing with each other.

In this regard, Hartnell’s outsider status may have worked on her behalf in terms of putting together what will likely be an intense and entertaining exchange: “Some of the clashing perspectives are the result of pure ignorance on my part,” she said. “Some were fully intentional.”

Other participants include: Carol Bebelle (Ashé Cultural Arts Center), Ron Bechet (artist, Xavier University), Luisa Dantas (Land of Opportunity project), Joel Dinerstein (Tulane, Center for the Gulf South), Linetta Gilbert (Declaration Initiative), Martin Gutierrez (Puentes), Abram Himelstein (Neighborhood Story Project, UNO), Hannah Kreiger-Benson (Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans), Nghana Lewis (Tulane), Darryl Malek-Wiley (Sierra Club), Greer Mendy (Takrema Center for Arts and Culture), Catherine Michna (Tulane), Brice Miller (musician, University of Alabama), Lawrence Powell (Tulane), Helen Regis (LSU), Timolynn Sams (Neighborhoods Partnership Network), Nick Slie (Mondo Bizarro), Amber Wiley (Tulane).

Find more information about the event here.