Delaware State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will host a day and a half symposium titled “Five Years Later: Hurricane Katrina and Global Disasters in the 21st Century” Wednesday, Sept. 29, to Thursday, Sept. 30, in the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus.


Delaware State University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will host a day and a half symposium titled “Five Years Later: Hurricane Katrina and Global Disasters in the 21st Century” Wednesday, Sept. 29, to Thursday, Sept. 30, in the Martin Luther King Student Center on campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

The destruction and devastation wrought by the hurricane along the Gulf Coast and the breaking of the levees in New Orleans represents one of the most important events in American history to occur during the first decade of the 21st century. The symposium will be presented to highlight the impact of Katrina, but also the increasing frequency of both natural and man-made disasters throughout the world. 

“Listening and engaging in dialogue with scholars and artists about the significance of such transforming events as Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the flooding in Pakistan, and of course the Gulf oil spill will better prepare our students to confront the ever-growing challenges of a complex and dangerous world,” said Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The symposium will feature documentaries, artwork from Louisiana native Nina Spencer, presentations by Wilmington News Journal journalist Molly Murray, Professors Jerry Ward and Robert Collins from Dillard University in New Orleans, and Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, a central figure in the Spike Lee documentary about Katrina, “When the Levees Broke.”

All events will take place in the Martin Luther King Student Center.

Wednesday, Sept. 29

4 p.m. Opening remarks by DSU President Harry L. Williams and Provost Alton Thompson

4:15 p.m. Introduction by Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the DSU College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, “Why Katrina is Important.”

5 p.m. Presentation by Molly Murray, News Journal journalist, on “Delaware’s Perfect Storm.”

5:45 p.m. Featured speaker Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc, a central figure in the Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke.

7 p.m. Film documentary “The Storm that Drowned a City.”

Thursday, Sept. 30

11 a.m. Presentation by Dr. Robert Collins, professor of urban studies at Dillard University, New Orleans, “New Orleans at Five Years: Recovery and Resilience after Hurricane Katrina.”

Noon Film “Axe in the Attic,” by Ed Pincus and Lucia Small.

2:30 p.m. Dr. Jerry Ward, professor of English, Dillard University, New Orleans, and the author of The Katrina Papers, to give a presentation “The Evidence and Art of Katrina Narratives.”

4 p.m. DSU reflections on Hurricanes. Perspectives from DSU members who were involved with the people of the impacted region.

5 p.m. Film documentary: A Village called Versailles. A film about Vietnamese “boat people” immigrants who had settled in the Versailles section of New Orleans only to have their neighborhood destroyed by the storm. Although those people were among the first to rebuild their neighborhood, their community was then threatened by the dumping of toxic waste nearby.

For more information, call the DSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at 857-6628.