Thursday, December 8, 2016

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A man carries a baby following the evacuation of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Photo by the U.S. Navy A man carries a baby following the evacuation of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Photo by the U.S. Navy

Communities in Crisis: Lessons from New Orleans

The free public forum will address how the lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina can be applied to San Diego.
By Christianne Penunuri

Communities across America experience myriad crises: natural disasters, mounting financial debt, economic instability, and soaring rates of unemployment and poverty.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, San Diego State University’s School of Public Affairs will host "Communities in Crisis: Lessons from New Orleans," a free, public forum that will provide an opportunity for residents, government and civic leaders, and scholars to discuss how to engage and transform the San Diego community through our current crises.

Life after Katrina

"Communities in Crisis" features Jordan Flaherty, author of “Floodlines,” a first-hand account of community, culture and resistance in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans. Flaherty will briefly discuss the changes in New Orleans’ criminal justice system as a result of grassroots organizing and how that applies to current events such as the Occupy movement and Tahrir Square.

As an activist and journalist, Flaherty provides a unique perspective for community organizers, citizens and policy makers.

Event panelists

Panelists include:

  • Council member Tony Young, San Diego’s District 4
  • Conrad Harris, Overcoming Gangs and Beyond
  • Lynn Sharpe-Underwood, San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention

Panelists will discuss how lessons learned in New Orleans can be applied to San Diego. Flaherty will provide examples from New Orleans that illustrate how residents’ resilience, strength and survival are at the cornerstone of rebuilding a community.

The panel and discussion will be moderated by Tanis Starck, director of the SDSU Intercultural Relations/Cross Cultural Center. Starck is a Katrina survivor and author of “And Her Name Was Katrina: Life After the Storm.”

"Communities in Crisis" is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center at San Diego State University. The forum is free to the public.

To RSVP and for directions and parking information, visit

About the forum

The School of Public Affairs at SDSU has held an annual forum for nearly 30 years. Past topics have included domestic violence, the three strikes law, social security reform, immigration and assisted suicide.