Katrina: A History, 1915-2015.
Harvard University Press, 2020.
Critical Disaster Studies.
Co-edited with Jacob Remes. University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2021.
"The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror: Trauma, History, and the Great Storm of 1900,"
Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques Vol. 41, No. 3 (Winter 2015, special issue on "History and Trauma")
Revised version anthologized in Cindy Ermus, ed., Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2018.)
The specific catastrophe of the Galveston flood was part of the ongoing catastrophe of racial terror.
“Hurricane Betsy and the Politics of Disaster in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, 1965-1967,”
Journal of Southern History Vol. 80, No. 4 (November 2014)
Certainly the story does not start with a broken levee, because somebody had to build the levee first before it could break.
"The BP Oil Spill and the End of Empire, Louisiana,"
Southern Cultures Vol. 20, No. 3 (Fall 2014): special issue on "Southern Waters"
As much as this experience has been defined by an acute, chemical event, it also has come to represent a chronic, cultural trauma.
"Jacob Remes, Disaster Citizenship," Journal of American History Vol. 104, No. 1 (June 2017)
"Jason Theriot, American Energy, Imperiled Coast," Journal of American History Vol. 102, No. 3 (December 2015)
“StoryCorps,” Journal of American History Vol. 93, No. 1 (June 2006)
"Hurricane Katrina Failure Was a Preview for COVID Response," Time, August 26, 2020
When made by those with power, claims of government impotence are self-fulfilling prophecies.
"Hurricane Katrina Wasn't a 'Natural' Disaster," Boston Globe, August 23, 2020
I begin the story of Katrina in 1915 in order to pursue a different idea: that disasters come from within.
"Pre-Existing Conditions: Pandemics as History," Items: Insights from the Social Sciences, July 9, 2020
Consider the stakes of a seemingly simple question: when did the history of the covid-19 pandemic start?
"How is a Disaster Made?" Lapham's Quarterly, July 7, 2020
A disaster is at best an interpretive fiction, or, at worst, an ideological script.
"A Cosmopolitan Alluvium," in Overstory: A Field Guide to A Studio in the Woods (Antenna, 2020)
Intersection of empires and refuge of revolutionaries, a quiet place at the center of the world.
"Hurricane Barry and the New Normal," New York Times, July 14, 2019
It was once a truism that disasters are "not like the crises of everyday life." But the lines are blurred now.
"When the Levees Break Again," New York Times, June 1, 2019
Engineering alone cannot resolve the problems the climate crisis poses.
"Disasters Have Histories: Teaching and Researching American Disasters," with Chad Parker and Liz Skilton,The American Historian, November 2018
History is the antidote to inevitability.
"Don't Repeat the Mistakes of the Katrina Recovery," New York Times, September 14, 2017
When cities flood, our actions often create and re-create inequality.
"The Racial Strife That Can Blow In With A Hurricane," Washington Post, August 25, 2017
When crises of state and storm collide, the thirst for stability can lead to the well of white supremacy.
Anthologized in Power: Infrastructure in America (Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University, 2019)
"Donald Trump's Hurricane Season," New York Times, August 16, 2017
The administration's seeming indifference to these issues is baffling to many of us in hurricane country.
"New Orleans's New Flood Maps: An Outline for Disaster," New York Times, June 1, 2016
I was briefly elated — and then, horrified — when the federal government declared New Orleans safe from flooding.
"Inevitability vs. Responsibility," Lux et Data, April 15, 2013
The storm may have been inevitable, but the disaster that followed was not.
“Taking the World by Storm,” Lux et Data, February 18, 2013
We govern in response to situations that, even if they could have been foreseen or forestalled,
present themselves as emergencies.
“Seeing the Federal Light,” Slate, November 2, 2012
Governors before Christie have had hurricane-induced conversions in which they see the light of federal assistance.
“Didn't He Ramble: A Night With "Uncle" Lionel Batiste,” New Orleans Gambit, July 17, 2012
New Orleans has a way of turning facts into myths, myths into cliches, and cliches into articles of faith.
“The Problem with the Fukushima Report,” The Atlantic, July 11, 2012
We must be most careful when we find ourselves creating problems for which there are no solutions.
“Santorum Flunks the History of Home-Schooling,” Salon, February 25, 2012
Santorum’s assertion that most presidents home-schooled their children at the White House is unfounded. I checked.
“Saul Alinsky: A True American Exceptionalist,” The Atlantic, January 27, 2012
Gingrich has invented a straw man, an imagined un-American, and set him up against an
imagined "classical" American past.
“An Andrew Jackson History Lesson for Newt Gingrich,” The Huffington Post, January 20, 2012
Bad history is worse than no history at all.
“A Natural Disasters History Lesson for Ron Paul,” The Huffington Post, August 30, 2011
Disasters remind us what government is, or might be, for.
“Bagelizing America,” in Betty N. Hoffman, ed. A History of Jewish Connecticut: Mensches, Migrants, and Mitzvahs, (Charleston: The History Press, 2011)
"I guess I go back again to ancestry,'" Sam Lender reflected once. "We all learned something and it never left us."
“The Lender Family,” Jews of New Haven Vol. IX (2009)
Murray was fifteen years old when he set out to "change the breakfast eating habits of the Christian world."
“Our Beef With Texas,” New York Times, January 28, 2007
Let us rejoice in the city we have made and sustained for ourselves and one another.