Moving Forward After Katrina

October 2, 2017

[eric isselee]
[eric isselee]

The Strategist and Loyola University hosted a roundtable in New Orleans to discuss the ongoing challenges facing local PR practitioners, both personally and professionally, 18 months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s an edited excerpt from John J. Deveney, APR, president of Deveney Communication, which appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of The Strategist:


The entire world has been keenly focused on New Orleans since before the storm struck. As so frequently happens when there’s a crisis, our profession suddenly gets elevated in its recognition, position and ability to create change.

We have the opportunity to help people work through that change and move to a better place. I see that happening a great deal here.

So, how do you manage immediate concerns while also keeping perspective on long-term implications? We have an opportunity not just to rebuild what we have, but to look at what else we want. Some of the worst tragedies that happened immediately after the storm exposed the social ills that had crippled New Orleans for so long.

Sometimes the challenge is just: “How am I going to make it to 5:30 p.m. every day?” The other challenge … is not to just look at getting through this immediate challenge but also recognizing that we have the opportunity to be a far better society, a far better city, a far better neighborhood — whatever you’re focused on — and that the rest of the world has the opportunity to learn from us and to improve themselves.

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