Walking to New Orleans
Ethics and the Concept of Participatory Design in Post-Disaster Reconstruction
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
In Walking to New Orleans Robert and Deanne Ross have written an important book about the tragic conditions in New Orleans. Or, we really should say, the New Orleans tragedy--for the symbolic importance of what happened and what did not happen there will doubtless stand on its own for years to come as a symbol of what can only be described as a national loss of the sense of community. For not only did New Orleans lose itself, but all of the rest of us lost New Orleans. We lost it by reading and not thinking, by watching and not seeing, by knowing and not acting. By not really caring enough about our fellow citizens, friends, and neighbors. This is quite a beautiful book in its conception, expression, and deep valuing of human beings and their communities. And it raises important questions about who we are and what we have become as Americans in the twenty-first century.
Founder and Former Director
Center for Improving Government Performance
The National Academy of Public Administration
Walking to New Orleans is an astonishingly informed and informative account of one of the major human, natural and political disasters in recent memory. Having personally suffered the furor of Katrina, part-time New Orleans residents and longtime students of Louisiana history and Cajun culture Robert and Deanne Ross have written a book that is must reading for anyone concerned about the implications of the interplay between our natural environment and political process for questions of social justice. Weaving together historical, theological, scientific, political and economic analysis, they create a compelling narrative about pressing issues whose significance extends far beyond this particular event. Not content with criticizing the mistakes of the past, the Rosses develop a richly suggestive notion of "Participatory Design," which can serve as a model for future development. Issuing an ethical challenge that we ignore at our own peril, this book is social criticism at its best
-Professor Mark C. Taylor
Chair, Department of Religion, and Co-Director of the
Institute of Religion, Culture and Public Life, Columbia University, and
Cluett Professor of Humanities, Williams College.