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Surviving Katrina: The Experiences of Low-Income African American Women

Jessica Warner Pardee
Surviving Katrina: The Experiences of Low-Income African American Women
ISBN: 978-1-62637-044-9
ISBN: 978-1-62637-248-1
2014/230 pages/LC: 201400818
A FirstForumPress Book
"Sheds significant light on the chaos that the current disaster response reality for lower-income women and families begets and begs for improvements."—Shirley Laska, Gender & Society

"Compelling and insightful.... Provides an extremely important corrective to the pervasive and stereotypical mass media images of black women and men during Katrina as passive victims, looters, or criminals."—Kirsten Dellinger, University of Mississippi
"A must-read for anyone interested in the real lived experiences of disaster and in how we can work to create more effective preparedness and response plans."—Kristen Barber, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale


Jessica Pardee documents and examines the experiences of low-income African American women during Hurricane Katrina to uncover the ways that race, class, and gender shape the experiences of disasters. Drawing on intimate interviews to explore the complex challenges that these women faced in the course of the hurricane and its aftermath, Pardee reveals how, with so few material resources, they survived the storm and began the process of rebuilding their lives.


Jessica Warner Pardee is assistant professor of sociology at Rochester Institute of Technology.


  • Understanding Katrina.
  • Theorizing Disaster Recovery and Everyday Poverty.
  • Decision Time.
  • Leaving Home.
  • Stranded.
  • Shelters of Last Resort.
  • Seeking Shelter.
  • Living Displacement.
  • Returning Home.
  • Redefining Recovery.
  • Appendix: Studying Hurricane Katrina as a Scholar-Survivor.