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‘Katrina/Sandy’ Web timeline study is launched

Nine years after Hurricane Katrina and nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy, a Web-based interactive timeline comparing and contrasting the impact and responses to the storms is now available to the public.

Houses are seen submerged under water after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The “Katrina/Sandy” project is a collaboration between the creators of New Orleans-based LandofOpportunity and New York-based Sandy Storyline, and brings together the experiences of people impacted by each storm, contextualizing them with multimedia stories, research, data, and diverse perspectives to promote a deeper understanding of community rebuilding in the wake of disaster.

“The way that the timeline is actually divided is not necessarily about strict chronology, but it’s about what we defined as sort of the phases of disaster,” said Luisa Dantas, one of the directors and producers of the project, “so we have Storm, Aftermath, Recovery/Rebuilding, and Future.”

Dantas said she feels the information provided could benefit communities all across the country.

“After Katrina, the world was shocked by the devastation, the inequity, and the government’s incompetent response,” she said. “Nearly a decade later, the recovery of the Gulf Coast is ongoing and contested. But have we learned anything? Will Hurricane Sandy recovery be different? And what about the next storm? As documentary media producers, we wondered what we can learn by placing stories and scholarship from Katrina and Sandy side by side.”

One of the major differences between the storms, according to Dantas, is more government response on a municipal, state and federal level after Sandy than there was after Katrina. She also credited the grassroots entities that sprung up during the absence of any kind of official response to Katrina with prompting rapid reaction during Sandy.

“The idea is for folks to really to be able to draw lessons learned from the stories of Katrina to hopefully make some changes in the way people are rebuilding after Sandy, and also be proactive and prepared for the next disaster that might occur,” Dantas said. “If we could get to a place where we become more proactive rather than reactive every time a large scale event occurs, that would be a major change in the way that we relate to disaster.”

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