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Mike Tidwell and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on Katrina's Aftermath
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August 17, 2007

As the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, Bill Moyers gets two views on what the disaster and its aftermath says about American culture and values with Princeton’s Melissa Harris-Lacewell and author and environmental activist Mike Tidwell.

"What are we going to do in terms of who we are for making resiliency in the face of disaster possible? Because the human experience is going to be that we're going to face a variety of negative, disastrous experiences." -- Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Melissa Harris Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She has recently enrolled as a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell, photo by Robin HollandShe is author BARBERSHOPS, BIBLES, AND BET: EVERYDAY TALK AND BLACK POLITICAL THOUGHT. This text demonstrates how African Americans develop political ideas through ordinary conversations in places like barbershops, churches, and popular culture. The work was awarded the 2005 W.E.B. DuBois book award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. It is also the winner of the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Her academic research has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes and her interests include the study of African American political thought, black religious ideas and practice, and social and clinical psychology. She is at work on a new book: FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO'VE CONSIDERED POLITICS WHEN BEING STRONG WASN'T ENOUGH. It is an examination of the connections between shame, sadness, and strength in African American women's politics.

Professor Harris Lacewell's writings have been published in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, LOS ANGELES TIMES, CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS and NEW YORK NEWSDAY. She has provided expert commentary on U.S. elections, racial issues, religious questions and gender issues for NBC, Fox, Chicago Public Television, Showtime, Black Enterprise, National Public Radio and many other radio and print sources around the country.

Mike Tidwell

Mike Tidwell predicted in vivid detail the Katrina hurricane disaster in his 2003 book, BAYOU FAREWELL: THE RICH LIFE AND TRAGIC DEATH OF LOUISIANA'S CAJUN COAST. He has written five books centered on the themes of travel and nature. These include AMAZON STRANGER (detailing efforts to save the Ecuadorian rain forest) and IN THE MOUNTAINS OF HEAVEN (travels to exotic lands across the globe). Tidwell has won four Lowell Thomas awards, the highest prize in American travel journalism, and is a former grantee of the National Endowment for the Arts. His articles have appeared in many national publications. Tidwell is also founder and director of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council, based in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Mike Tidwell, photo by Robin Holland

In 2003, Tidwell received the Audubon Naturalist Society’s prestigious "Conservation Award." He is also the founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. Tidwell’s most recent documentary film – "We Are All Smith Islanders" – vividly depicts the dangers of global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.


Related Media:
Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the trouble America has talking about race on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, May 18, 2007

"Losing Ground" and "The City in a Bowl" on NOW with BILL MOYERS, September 6, 2002
References and Reading:
Hurricane Katrina

BBC Special Reports: Hurricane Katrina
The BBC's special in depth report Katrina contains two years of coverage about the hurricane and its aftermath. Special features include: Katrina's toxic legacy Timeline: Unfolding crisis, Draining New Orleans and Q&A: Can the US afford relief? FEMA Hurricane Katrina Center
Check FEMA'S Press Releases on the recovery process.

Greater New Orleans Community Center
Read the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center's special report on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. "Two years after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures, the New Orleans region has recovered most of its population and economic base. Yet, in the past year, progress has slowed, especially in the city, as critical public infrastructure - schools, law enforcement, and health care - remains weak. As recovery continues, a strong federal, state, and local partnership is necessary to ensure a safe and economically robust region for all.

"Katrina Aid Goes Toward Football Condos"
Associated Press By JAY REEVES August 13, 2007.

Katrina Survivors Contemplate Today's New Orleans
Listen to New Orleans Katrina survivors talk about their city today on NPR.

"One Billion Dollars Later, New Orleans is Still at Risk"
This is the fifth article in a series on the fragmentary recovery of New Orleans and its people, nearly two years after the flooding unleashed by Hurricane Katrina. Previous articles dealt with the block-by-block nature of the return home, the increasing sense of exile among those unable to come back, and the still-shattered health care system. You can read them all online. THE NEW YORK TIMES, John Schwartz, August 17, 2007

"The Threatening Storm: Hurricane Katrina Two Years Later"
TIME magazine 2007 cover story on the safety of New Orleans, and what the U.S. Corps of Engineers are doing to help. Michael Grunwald, August 13, 2007.

Voices of Katrina
Read USA TODAY'S blog VOICES OF KATRINA to hear stories from survivors, rescue workers, and residents of New Orleans.

Hurricane Betsy

Hurricane Betsy hit the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana in 1965. The hurricane's main landfall was near the mouth of the Mississippi River and causing significant flooding of the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans. Betsy became the first storm in United States history to exceed $1 billion in damages.

US Army Corps of Engineers: Hurricane Resources
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, the Office of History of the Army Corps of Engineers compiled a list of resources to help place the events of the 2005 storm season into historical perspective.

Answers: Hurricane Betsy hit Florida, smashed New Orleans in 1965
USA TODAY's weather correspondent answers questions about the force of Betsy.

Retrospective article and reproduction of original 1965 coverage of Betsy's devastating effects on Florida.

LBJ and the Response to Hurricane Betsy
Audio archive from the Miller Center at University of Virginia.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Mike Tidwell

Melissa Harris-Lacewell's Web Site
Harris-Lacewell's Web site hosts her blog writings and links to commentaries for NPR. Her recent areas of study include: "Faith of a Race: African American Religion and Contemporary U.S. Public Policy" and "The Politics of Hurricane Katrina" and "Black Women and Depression: Resisting the Myth of Strength."

2005 Racial Attitudes and the Katrina Disaster Study
The process of deciding how to rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is undermined by sharp racial gaps between blacks and whites about what should be done, according to new research by political scientists at the University of Chicago.

The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities
Read an excerpt from Mike Tidwell's new book.

"Bayou Farewell"
Read a October 2005 interview with Mike Tidwell about the disappearance of Cajun culture from MOTHER JONES.

Guest photos by Robin Holland.

Also This Week:

Professor Melissa Harris Lacewell and environmental activist Mike Tidwell discuss what we've learned and what we still haven't learned from the Katrina disaster.
>More about the disappearance of the delta

Bill Moyers talks with historian Martin Marty about his recent book, THE MYSTERY OF THE CHILD.

A Bill Moyers essay on Karl Rove's legacy.

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