Tough Times in the Big Easy: Lessons From a Catastrophe

The Conference Board of Canada, 35 pages, February 2007
Report by Andrew Archibald, Trefor Munn-Venn
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This report describes the factors that led to the collapse of good governance in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and outlines lessons Canada’s private and public sectors can learn from the disaster.

Document Highlights

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina, and the flooding that followed it, caused immense destruction in the New Orleans area. The response to the catastrophe required the action of numerous, diverse organizations. In such a complex situation, failures occurred and poor decisions were made.

The Conference Board analyzed the literature written about Hurricane Katrina to identify lessons for Canadian leaders. To complement this analysis, members of the Conference Board’s Centre for National Security travelled to New Orleans in late 2006 to examine the devastation first hand and gain insights from public and private sector representatives.

This report describes the challenges and failures that culminated in a collapse of good governance in New Orleans. It also outlines ways Canada’s private and public sectors can learn from the disaster to prepare for and respond to major security and public safety crises. The report focuses on factors such as leadership, communication, resources and coordination.

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