Meeting places as a resource for older persons in post-traumatic cities: Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath

In this ongoing study, Karl Hedman has followed older residents in areas of southern Louisiana since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States and devastated New Orleans. Interviews, observations and program evaluations were conducted in senior centers and churches in Baton Rouge and varying meeting places for seniors in New Orleans from 2005 to 2016. For older persons who left their homes and returned later or never returned, and those who did not leave their communities after the storm, meeting places and the establishment of various social ties were found to be critical components of survival, and the ability to recover and process the traumatic events and their consequences. The role of establishing meeting places for older persons and facilitating the development of social ties within a community are discussed.

Contact: Karl Hedman