“Our History is Based on Loss”: Memorialization as Disaster Response on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Sarah A. Torgeson (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

The Mississippi Gulf Coast was the site of two of the deadliest, most destructive hurricanes in United States history, Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Katrina (2005). In the wake of these storms residents built an extensive disaster memorial landscape, inscribing narratives of loss and recovery into the lived environment. This paper examines how people facing environmental precarity create sites of memory within the ruins of their community, even as they acknowledge the likelihood of future loss. Such actions complicate conceptualizations of vulnerability and resilience by emphasizing individual and community agency and the potential power of acting in the present despite the future.

Part of 04-12 Folklore and the Environment in the Coastal American South, Friday, November 03, 8:30 am–10:00 am