Class researches hurricane impact in two year aftermath

Dr. Sarah Dennis, a GSU political science professor, and eight students from her state and local government class traveled to New Orleans during the 2007 fall semester to conduct research related to the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: Two Years Later.The group participated in a guided tour of the city, led by GSU alumnus Ed Scott, a supervisor for the Housing Authority of New Orleans. The group toured the various housing developments and participated in workshops presented by Lois C. Watson and Ronald Southhall of HANO.

The students had lunch at Cafe Reconcile, a nonprofit restaurant, which serves as a training and mentoring site and provides work experiences for youth who have experienced an array of socio-economic challenges. During lunch they participated in dialogue with Laverne Saulny, regional manager for Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Telley Madina, a representative from Mayor Ray Nagin’s office.

The delegation traveled to St. Bernard Parish and met with representatives of the sheriff’s department. After touring the area, the students were shown a video presentation of the devastation during and after Hurricane Katrina in St. Bernard Parish. The students toured the lower Ninth Ward and visited the First Emmanuel Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Charles Southhall III. The First Emmanuel Baptist Church was featured in the Extreme Makeovers television show in 2006.

“This experience was truly and enlightening one. Students had an opportunity to see first hand the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and to actually speak with the citizens who were affected by the devastation,” said Chris Hughes, a junior political science major.

Dr. Dennis said, “The purpose of the trip was to allow students an opportunity to gather additional research and to interview the various stakeholders and those involved in policy decisions in relation to the rebuilding of New Orleans.