Government classes research Hurricane Katrina aftermath

A group of undergraduates, and graduate students are currently conducting research focusing on various issues related to the devastation and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In conducting the research, Dr. Sarah D. Dennis and students in her State and Local Government and Public Policy Development classes traveled to New Orleans during the month of October to tour the city and engage in dialogue with major stakeholders involved in the rebuilding of the city.

The students filmed six hours of documentation to produce a documentary that will be presented at the Annual Department of Political Science Public Policy Symposium, scheduled today (Nov. 30) at 5:30 p.m., in Woodson Hall, Room 12.

The group’s research trip included meetings with several individuals, such as Dr. T. Franklin, director of clinical services for the City of New Orleans, and Dr. Joia Crear, medical director of healthy Start New Orleans and gynecologist; Harold Clark, public relations director for SUNO; Edward Scott, supervisor of Housing Authority New Orleans (HANO); Laverne Saulny, deputy regional manager for Sen. Mary Landrieu; Telly Madina, special assistant to the director of intergovernmental relations for Mayor Ray Nagin; and Rev. Charles Joseph Southall III, pastor of the First Emanuel B. C. (the church featured in the Extreme Makeover Television Program and on ESPN during the Saint’s first game).

“Everyone saw the damaged homes and flooded buildings on television, but no one knows the level of real devastation unless you go to New Orleans, we got the chance to experience this when we traveled to New Orleans,” said Ashley Alexander, a sophomore, political science major.

The students traveled across the city to some of the most devastated areas including the lower ninth ward, New Orleans east and the third ward. They had an opportunity to enter a house that had not been gutted and one that was under renovation. The students also spoke with one of the residents of the Mephamene Projects who described her experience as the world coming to an end, as she traveled, three months pregnant, in the murky waters to the Superdome.

Students who participated in the trip included: Ashley Alexander, Mirranda Taylor, Jazmin Sinclair, Illana Watts, Andrea Portela, Natasha Ware, Kerry Dawson, Kenneth Fomenky, Colby Norwood, Lawrence Jackson and graduate students, Tremeka Todd and Kewon Edwards.