Religion, Rhetoric, and Social Change after Hurricane Katrina

Anne Marie Arlinghaus


In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and in its aftermath, Americans were left asking why it had happened. This paper explores the discussions that occurred in newspaper articles, editorials, websites, and blogs in an attempt to distill the multiple interpretations people had of such a major natural disaster. Three major meanings emerge: that the hurricane was a type of divine retribution, that the hurricane was caused or its consequences exacerbated by human failings, and that the hurricane could serve as a catalyst for social change.


Hurricane Katrina; Theodicy; Social Movements

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