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October 2005

A visitor from New Orleans: Sandy Johnson

Sandy Johnson

Sandy Johnson. (Photo by Carlye Calvin, UCAR. More images.)

One positive side effect of Hurricane Katrina is that NCAR gained a new visiting scientist from the pool of refugees. Sandy Johnson, a professor of epidemiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, is currently stationed in ISSE. Her recent work has focused on health disparities and underserved populations in the greater New Orleans area. On September 29, she gave an informal presentation, "Rebuilding a Sinking City—A New Orleans Perspective on Hurricane Katrina," as part of ISSE's "coffee talk" series.

Sandy said that while the system of warning people before the storm was successful, the response afterward failed. "Getting more than 1 million people out of harm's way is a success," she said. "On a micro scale, however, the evacuation failed in that the most vulnerable were left to their own devices and abandoned by the government. We're learning that there are some hard truths about money affording protection. The storm exposed a breakdown along development and class lines."

Some of the most important questions that society needs to answer before rebuilding New Orleans have an ethical dimension. "Who will be on the reconstruction committee?" Sandy asked. "How will they make room for the poor to return?" She pointed out that many refugees are so impoverished that although they owned their own homes, they have no insurance and can't afford reconstruction loans from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Hopefully we can understand that people must be incorporated into the science we do," she concluded.

• by Nicole Gordon

Also in this issue...

NCAR hurricane work reaches new intensity

A visitor from New Orleans

SACNAS visitors

Taking command after Katrina

A day for girl scouts

Vin Lally

A first-class home for conferences

New HR Web system

bluevista doubles supercomputing capacity

New climate exhibit

Weathering the media coverage

Delphi Question

Just One Look


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