How Do Hurricane Katrina's Winds Blow?
Racism in 21st-Century New Orleans
by Liza Lugo, JD
March 2014, 293pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2888-1
$53, £40, 46€, A72
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-2889-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Housing ordinances passed by St. Bernard Parish post-Katrina are eerily similar to ones passed during the Jim Crow era.

The disproportionate effect of Hurricane Katrina on African Americans was an outcome created by law and societal construct, not chance. This book takes a hard look at racial stratification in American today and debunks the myth that segregation is a thing of the past.

An outstanding resource for students of African American history, government policy, sociology, and human rights, as well as readers interested in socioeconomics in the United States today, this book examines why the divisions between the areas heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and those left unscathed largely coincided with the color lines in New Orleans neighborhoods; and establishes how African Americans have suffered for 400 years under an oppressive system that has created a permanent underclass of second-class citizenship.

Rather than focusing on the Katrina disaster itself, the author presents significant evidence of how government policy and structure, as well as societal mores, permitted and sanctioned the dehumanization of African Americans, purposefully placing them in disaster-prone areas—particularly, those in New Orleans. The historical context is framed within the construct of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricane catastrophes in New Orleans, demonstrating that Katrina was not an anomaly. For readers unfamiliar with the ugly existence of segregation in modern-day America, this book will likely shock and outrage as it sounds a call to both citizens and government to undertake the challenges we still face as a nation.


  • Documents how the Katrina disaster uncovered the pathology of dehumanization and draws connections between the rampant problems in government and society to the root cause of dehumanization
  • Reveals how Louisiana's laws, customs, and society structure have sought to maintain separation between the races and subjugated African Americans and non-whites, from the establishment of the state to today
  • Suggests a number of remedies based on the basic principles of good government and the elimination of dehumanization that can move our society away from present-day segregation—a condition that is fatal to democracy
Liza Lugo, JD, is a legal scholar with expertise in constitutional law, international human rights law, civil liberties, and criminal law, as well as president of her own consultation firm. Her published works include "Is Affirmative Action Really Necessary in the 21st Century" in Praeger's upcoming Controversies in Affirmative Action and dozens of online articles at under the pen name, "lawdoctorlee." Lugo holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a bachelor's degree magna cum laude in government and world affairs from the University of Tampa.


"In How Hurricane Katrina’s Winds Blow, Liza Lugo has given us a vivid and masterful portrayal of the dehumanizing racism that was evidenced in Louisiana and the broader society during and after Hurricane Katrina. The author has also deftly placed this racism within a broad sociological, political, and legal context in a way that is highly thought-provoking. This book is an important and insightful addition to the extensive scholarship on the topic of race relations in the United States."—J. Richard Piper, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Government and World Affairs, The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida

"Liza Lugo, JD, takes a unique approach in detailing the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans by exploring the historical and contemporary discriminatory practices that were catalysts for the devastating impact of the event on the city and its citizens. By exploring the historical discriminatory treatment of African Americans in the United States, Louisiana, and New Orleans, she presents a foundation for understanding how an act of natural disaster could be elevated to a catastrophic event because of the disparities inherent in the legal and social systems blacks in the United States are forced to contend with. She also examines how continual institutionalized disparities are impacting a population that has been devastated through neglect and racial retaliation through the conditions they were placed in after Katrina. This book is an eye-opening examination of the galvanization of forces across decades that targeted a specific segment of the American populace, ending in the tragic fragmentation of individuals, families, and communities from the American way of life that is espoused to cherish life, liberty, and equality."—Dr. Glenn L. Starks, Adjunct Professor, Northcentral University

"The author has composed an excellent book discussing race through the prism of time—both past, present, and future. A fascinating book that should appeal to any reader wishing to learn more about the intersection of race and law in Louisiana."—James A. Beckman, Chair and Associate Professor, Legal Studies, University of Central Florida

"Lugo has done a masterful job of integrating historical trends, the impact of Katrina, and the legal struggles that ensued after the storm. She weaves a discussion of racial oppression in U.S. history with its contemporary consequences for economic, social, and political inequality in New Orleans and the American South. The author carefully documents and analyzes the impact of national and local trends on one of America’s best-known cities and adds unique insights into the present state of affairs in New Orleans."—Robert Kerstein, Dana Professor of Government and World Affairs, University of Tampa

"As meticulously documented as How Hurricane Katrina’s Winds Blow is, it conveys the author’s passion for justice. Beginning with the broad historical sweep of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, it comes to focus on one dramatic instance of post-Katrina racially motivated legislation before grounding the evil of racism in the more basic problem of dehumanization. Lugo demonstrates the power of law to reinforce the process of dehumanization, but equally the need for law to restrain it."—Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
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