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Panel to discuss legacy of Hurricane Katrina

28 August 2007

ATTENTION: General assignment and higher education reporters

Contact: Esther Gulli, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
(510) 643-8582 egulli@berkeley.edu

A public discussion at the University of California, Berkeley to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and raise awareness of the ongoing struggles of the people of the Gulf Coast Region. The event, whose panel will feature a civil engineer involved in restoration efforts, an anthropologist and a New Orleans native, will highlight the wide-ranging, interconnected rebuilding efforts of groups and individuals across the campus community. It will also include an exhibition of post-Katrina New Orleans by San Francisco photojournalists Justin Maxon and Stefan Jora.

The "Hurricane Katrina Second Commemoration" is organized by the Cal Corps Public Service Center, the campus office for student public service, leadership and community development, and civic engagement, in collaboration with other students, faculty and staff.

This Wednesday, Aug. 29, 7-9 p.m.

2050 Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley. See campus map.

Speakers will include:
Robert Bea, professor of civil and environmental engineering, whose inspections helped uncover serious design flaws with the newly repaired levees. Bea will give an update on levee restoration efforts.

Charles Underwood, executive director of University-Community Links (UC Links), is an anthropologist who has been working with youth at Renaissance Village, the trailer park being run by FEMA for families displaced by the hurricane, and with teachers in school districts affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Antoinette Chevalier, a New Orleans native, postdoctoral lecturer in the English Department, and co-founder of "Voices from the Margins," an oral history project involving UC Berkeley students and Katrina survivors. Chevalier has just returned from a nine-month stay in New Orleans. She will discuss her family's experience and offer suggestions as to how ordinary citizens can be of help.

Representatives will be on hand from the Magnolia Project, a UC Berkeley student group that dispatches volunteers to New Orleans to assist in the reconstruction of the city.

"After our experience in New Orleans this summer, we felt it was really important to come back to Berkeley and let people know how little progress has been made in restoring the lives of people and communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina," said student Alice Chamberlain from the Magnolia Project. "Our hope is to get more people involved in all the different work that's going on in the region."