Edited by Lynn Weber and Lori Peek

Hurricane Katrina forced the largest and most abrupt displacement in U.S. history. About 1.5 million people evacuated from the Gulf Coast preceding Katrina’s landfall. New Orleans, a city of 500,000, was nearly emptied of life after the hurricane and flooding. Katrina survivors eventually scattered across all fifty states, and tens of thousands still remain displaced. Some are desperate to return to the Gulf Coast but cannot find the means. Others have chosen to make their homes elsewhere. Still others found a way to return home but were unable to stay due to the limited availability of social services, educational opportunities, health care options, and affordable housing.

The contributors to Displaced have been following the lives of Katrina evacuees since 2005. In this illuminating book, they offer the first comprehensive analysis of the experiences of the displaced. Drawing on research in thirteen communities in seven states across the country, the contributors describe the struggles that evacuees have faced in securing life-sustaining resources and rebuilding their lives. They also recount the impact that the displaced have had on communities that initially welcomed them and then later experienced “Katrina fatigue” as the ongoing needs of evacuees strained local resources. Displaced reveals that Katrina took a particularly heavy toll on households headed by low-income African American women who lost the support provided by local networks of family and friends. It also shows the resilience and resourcefulness of Katrina evacuees who have built new networks and partnered with community organizations and religious institutions to create new lives in the diaspora.

Displaced was published by the University of Texas Press in the spring of 2012.

Source: Matthew Ericson, Archie Tse, and Jodi Wilgoren. 2005. “Katrina’s Diaspora.” The New York Times, October 2.



The Journal of African American History: "Utilizing qualitative research methods, including interviews with their subjects, the editors of Displaced make important contributions to the understanding of both the negative and positive effects of Hurricane Katrina. The book also addresses the issue of affordable housing for poor and working-class people in urban areas." Cick here to read the full review. -- Amadu Jacky Kaba, Seton Hall University

Contemporary Sociology"This book resulted from a unique collaboration among scholars who were part of the ASA’s SSRC Research Network on Persons Displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Half of the book’s contributors were themselves displaced by Katrina and others were actively involved in Katrina recovery efforts. The result of their dedication to engaged community research is a strong, cohesive, feminist collection with a refreshing focus on women’s first-hand accounts, deft analysis of the importance of social context, and a careful and consistent exploration of the hierarchies of race, class, gender, age, and citizenship and the role they played in making this storm a social disaster." Click here to read the full review. -- Kirsten Dellinger, University of Mississippi

Social Anthropology: "All the case studies in this volume are ethnographically rich and well written, giving a comprehensive picture of the experience of displacement post-Katrina." Click here to read the full review. -- Susann Ullberg, Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Sociological Forum: "Of all the books discussed here, I thought Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora was the best...The coherent organization was one of the many things I liked about this book." Click here to read the full review.-- Carl L. Bankston III, Sociological Forum


“This is an important and moving study of New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina, nearly all of them African American. Among the many strengths of the book is that it puts a human face on the disaster. In the wake of Katrina, we heard a lot in the media about racial and class inequities, but this volume tells us what these have really meant to the people forced to move. We learn about the different communities where they went – and how the context of reception shaped their experiences. This represents the most systematic and comprehensive exploration available on life in the Katrina diaspora.” ~Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and City University of New York Graduate Center


“This book is about those kinds of truths: truths that arise as people recount and share their lived experiences of having their home and family moorings blown away, flooded out, and scattered across the country; truths that are revealed as people are trying to resettle in new communities or return to the old ones.” ~Bonnie Thornton Dill, Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Maryland