At CCDR, we envision our role not only as creating important knowledge about disaster, but connecting with organizations who can translate that knowledge into action. As such, we look for opportunities to connect with organizations and individuals who can launch innovative programs, help our knowledge reach the public, and shape public policy. Below you will find some of the exciting and innovative programming that Centre affiliates and partners are generating.
New Orleans Independent Business Trends Report
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, locally owned businesses in New Orelans faced several significant challenges. A local non-profit, the Urban Conservancy, as part of their “StayLocal!” campaign, wanted to conduct a survey of locally owned businesses to find out more about their needs, wanting to learn more about “foster a thriving independent business sector” in post-Katrina New Orleans.
In May 2013, the Urban Conservancy partnered with students in MRU’s inaugural “Field School in Sociology” (taught by Dr. Tim Haney) to design the survey and to carry it out on the streets of New Orelans. What resulted, the 2014 New Orleans Independent Business Trends report, will help local businesses better advocate for favourable policy and more funding opportunities.
Field School in the Sociology of Disaster
The sociology field school is a combined experiential-learning and service-learning project, which took a class of students from Mount Royal University to southern Louisiana in May 2013 to learn about ongoing recovery efforts from both Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
While in New Orleans and vicinity, the class organized and attended a disaster speaker series, with colleagues from Xavier University. They also designed and carried out a survey of business owners in several New Orleans neighbourhoods for the Urban Conservancy's "Stay Local!" campaign, aimed at keeping money within the local New Orleans economy.
The experience also involved meetings with fishermen and women in Plaquemines Parish (90 minutes south of New Orleans) affected by both the oil spill and continued coastal erosion. They powerfully discussed the ongoing health, economic, and environmental effects of the oil spill, as well as the legal context.
Finally, the group engaged in service to the community through volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. Proudly, they helped to build a house in the city’s still-devastated Lower 9th Ward.
Through these experiences, students were able to:
- Learn about disaster risk, vulnerability, and recovery
- Apply sociological concepts and theories to the post-Katrina New Orleans context
- Serve the community
- Experience the culture, food, history, architecture, and natural environment of southern Louisiana.
The second biennial Field School is slated to take place in May 2015, again to New Orleans.