Tracing the Effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Population of New Orleans

The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study

by Narayan Sastry

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The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study examined the current location, well-being, and plans of people who lived in the city of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. The study used a representative sample of pre-Katrina dwellings in the city. Fieldwork focused on tracking respondents wherever they resided, giving them a short interview by mail, by telephone, or in person. The pilot study was fielded in the fall of 2006, approximately one year after the hurricane. This paper describes the motivation for the pilot study, outlines its design, and describes the fieldwork results. This analysis focuses on the study’s ability to locate and successfully interview displaced New Orleans residents and includes calculating a set of outcome rates and estimating a series of multivariate logistic models for outcome indicators. It ends with a discussion of the lessons learned from the pilot study for future studies of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the population of New Orleans. The results point to the challenges and opportunities of studying this unique population.

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