Epilogue
When the Saints won, we saw the blacks and whites and the browns and the
yellows in this city, that are often apart, come together. And I think it made us realize
that our recovery is just about done. And, on top of that, the things we thought we
couldn’t cure, we can. Garland Robinette, “Hope, Healing for New Orleans after
Super Bowl,” PBS
Katrina made [the problems affecting many urban and suburban areas of the U.S.]
more visible five years ago and continues to make a great illustration of the U.S. fail-
ures to treat all citizens with dignity and our failure to achieve our promise of liberty
and justice for all. Bill Quigley, Davida Finger, and Lance Hill, “Five Years Later”
In the five years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the prolif-
eration of music, literature, television shows, film, journalism, popular his-
tories, and academic scholarship commenting on the storm, documenting
the city’s progress, and representing its inhabitants generated and reflected
a renewed national interest in New Orleans’s history and culture. The
controversy over the inequalities exposed by the storm triggered national
discussions about race, class, gender, and age disparities; the role of gov-
ernment; the viability of local cultures; and the potential of grassroots ac-
tivism to effect change. Viewed alongside the decimation of once- thriving
metropolises throughout the country due to disinvestment, racial polari-
zation, and unequal access to resources, New Orleans’s recovery became a
litmus test for urban revitalization.1 Not surprisingly, as has been the case
for many U.S. urban centers seeking a reprieve from the economic malaise
and racial polarization of the post civil rights era, New Orleans pursued its
revitalization through redefining and promoting its tourist image. During
a time of racial, environmental, political, social, and economic rupture,
mass- mediated representations of the city both resuscitated and revised
dominant popular narratives that had long defined its tourist identity. New
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