Jack Aiello's chapter with Lyra Stein Protecting our assets: Private and public responses to Katrina in the book entitled Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America has been published for the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (summer, 2010).
Hurricane Katrina exposed a fundamental difference between private-sector and public-section preparedness, and the divergent abilities within each realm to protect their assets and their people. For New Orleans residents in the last days of August, 2005, the main concern for each and every one of the citizens was leaving the flooded city. Some left in their cars after the first storm warning, but many were left with no resources to evacuate the city and were, therefore, dependent on government services. The vice president of a large bank told us that “there was no problem in getting out of the City….And then we got in the car. We dashed out of here….” The easy confidence expressed by this executive was not shared by all business managers and owners.
In this chapter we contrast public- and private-sector ideas about protecting people and assets, and we present the Katrina experiences of a number of business owners who were able to marshal resources that were considerably greater than those available in the public sector. We focus primarily on their responses in interviews we conducted over the twelve months following this costliest hurricane in history...
Read this chapter in the Publications section of this web site.