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In Review: Hurricane Florence

satellite image tracking Hurricane Florence over Wilmington, NC.
Before the Storm

On a warm humid Friday afternoon a week before Hurricane Florence hit our community head on, a student in the halls at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington could be heard telling classmates, that her parents were making her drive home that weekend fearing the future impacts of the still forming storm in the distant central Atlantic Ocean. She rolled her eyes and shrugged. Several students mustered a “huh,” clearly uninterested in the rumors of some distant weather system that loomed somewhere off their social or conceptual radar. Others, myself included, responded with numerous opinions on the future of the specific weather conditions that would afflict our area citing various sources for these predictions; each individual clearly trying to demonstrate their ability to identify valid information amongst an overwhelming array of web posts, government pages, opinion-based blogs, live feeds, new stations, and hobbyists offering possible scenarios). Thus, a sort of cultural capital based entirely on popular notions of weather and trust (or distrust) of the media and the “experts” was being exchanged. To my surprise, students were discerning of the sources of many predictions, clearly recognizing the fickle and ever changing nature of what constitutes pertinent information.

After class, I was anxious to share the newest storm predictions (validated by the causal pre-class discussion with my students – clearly experts at navigating today’s technological minefields). Arriving back at my office suite I consulted with my colleagues who had also heard the student chatter but were somewhat surprised by the validity of the schoolyard predictions. A weather aficionado myself, I had heard of the forming storm a week before from an amateur online hurricane guru named “Mike.” I advised one colleague of my insider information. Later that night I ran into the same colleague and her partner at the local Costco (an iconic and distinctly American “must-visit” ritual in the face of impending disaster — much the way the Eiffel Tower is a “must-visit” attraction when touring Europe). After a friendly exchange and an examination of the supplies that had been procured thus far by each party, our foursome found pride in the fact that we were some of the only people in the otherwise perpetually busy warehouse store on that Friday evening. We were clearly “in the know.” The few other shoppers we encountered similarly nodded a sort of acknowledgement or sign of respect as we progressed down the aisles — “ahhh, you too pay attention to what’s going on in the world … good for you” they seemed to convey. Again, cultural capital was being exchanged. And, suspecting the coming weather system would, in fact, be a big deal, it seemed the story we knew we would later tell about the storm, and our role in it (or the identity we would portray ourselves as having had during the event: victim, survivor, evacuee, hero) had begun.

Over the weekend, buzz about the impending storm was ramping up. Media outlets began bombarding audiences with wind, rain, and tide forecast models and explanations about how each possible scenario was calculated using largely quantitative scientific meteorological terms few members of the general public would likely comprehend in any depth. Such abstract predictions with maps depicting the entirety of the eastern seaboard being threatened by a swirling green force centered in the vast Atlantic ocean forced viewers (and consumers of this information across any platform) to consider “where” they were in relationship to the anticipated landfall. After all, it was hard to tell the scale or distance of the storm when framed through only a handful of maps and models. The animations put the storm somewhere, but not here. Instead the storm existed in the “other,” an abstract, unimaginable “space” devoid of meaning or context. The “potentially catastrophic storm” was at that point nothing more than a blob of color on a screen. The sky was blue and the weather warm in Wilmington.

Unsure whether panic was warranted or not, many people along the Southeast North Carolina coast seemed to engage in an intense and intentional semiotic study of their social and physical environments not typically intentional in the everyday life. Jokes about the correlation between the number of times a male forecaster’s dress-shirt sleeves has been rolled up and the severity of the coming weather event were made over and over again; a measurement gaining validity and social acceptance in the way of online memes and casual social exchanges. Conversations were filled with observational evidence that seemed to support the notion that the local wildlife had gone crazy. Everyone seemed to agree that the squirrels had been particularly feverish in their destruction of the pine cones of late — a sure sign that an epic weather event was on its way.

It became evident in the days leading up to Hurricane Florence that people had become hyper aware of the many, usually unobtrusive features our modern landscape and contemporary culture that mold everyday American life. Even trusted meteorologists were caught on live television recognizing the fragility of their role as an authority in the minds of their audience. Claiming that “any drunk donkey can post a Euro model,” a local TV weather person seemed to gawk at the idea that a self-taught weather enthusiast broadcasting his predictions on social media could offer a more accurate or reliable picture of what was about to unfold than she could. The “drunk donkey” quickly became a symbol for the grassroots dissemination and interpretation of complicated scientific climatological data … a ‘screw you’ to the traditional media platforms.

Landfall Imminent

By Monday morning it was clear that the large abstract mass of color depicted on the maps shown by weather themed television stations, local news channels, and online weather gurus was closing in on the Southeast North Carolina coast. Friday’s murmurs were silent. School was cancelled for the week starting at noon (school would remain cancelled for a month in total) but few students, faculty, or staff made it to campus, by then working on preparing their own homes and/or evacuation plans. At this point, the massive weather system was being referred to strictly by its official name Florence. The moniker popularly associated with older women reflecting grandmotherly traits seemed strange juxtaposed with her being called “mean” and “angry”. Nonetheless, naming the storm and giving it human characteristics, anthropomorphized it and made it personal — she was coming after us. Legends in the Caribbean attribute hurricanes to a sort of karma brought upon the islands and the American south by the decades of slavery perpetuated there. Each storm as the tale goes is depicted as an angry mother born on the coast of Africa, gaining fury as she crosses the Atlantic in search of her stolen children, unleashing her wrath upon meeting the places where atrocities against her kin had been committed. Given the current political unrest and racial tensions prevalent in our nation, the fables seem as relevant as ever.

Regardless of its depiction, Florence was coming … here. The process of the “other” becoming the familiar, of the spaces depicted on weather station maps and charts becoming places (as Taun in 1974 1 and Lefebvre in 1992 2 would describe, complete with meaning, depth, and unique character) began when scenes from the location where landfall was anticipated started being shown alongside images of the “cone of uncertainty” (or the predicted storm path). The images were no longer of “the other”. Instead, reporters stood in front of increasingly familiar and identifiable local locations. The national news wasn’t showing just any grocery store, just any gas station, any café. That was my grocery store, the gas station on my way to work, my favorite lunch spot. The transition from the “other” to the familiar made the situation real. Jim Cantore (The Weather Channel’s star weather reporter) was no longer an enigma associated with extreme weather events taking place across the country. He was here — a sure sign, more reliable than any chart, barometric pressure reading, or statistical calculation (in the eyes of most Americans anyway) that things were going to get rough. Excited reports of Cantore spottings surfaced all over town and pictures of the icon with locals graced many friends social media feeds.

The Weather Channel, recognizing the impacts of the arrival of their star weathermen on perceptions of place, even made a series of humorous commercials depicting Jim Cantore showing up to a handful of tourist destinations for vacation only to scare fellow beach goers from the shores (his arrival typically a sure sign that extreme weather wasn’t far behind). But the commercials are all too true. The figures accused of sensationalizing extreme weather also conversely signify to locals when it was, indeed, time to panic. The phenomenon emphasizes the role of semiotics and popular culture on the public’s behavior, and highlights how these passive features of everyday culture become active presence of a looming natural disasters event. Oddly, little scholarly research has addressed what is popularly referred to the “Cantore effect.”

A few days out, when Florence’s path and impacts had been confidently forecasted and landfall was imminent, it was evident in daily encounters with friends, neighbors, and strangers in the grocery store (it is the South after all, people talk to strangers regularly) that the warnings repeatedly given over all sources of mass and social media had not penetrated to the general population as much as one might think. How could someone not know that a historic and potentially catastrophic and life-altering event was unfolding today in 2018? Was it just an inability to sort out and identify information pertinent to ones life amongst the plethora of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis? Or, perhaps a willful ignorance? Miles and Morse explain that people often do not take weather warnings seriously because of the number of watches, warnings, and weather statements issued on a daily basis (out of an abundance of caution).3 Perhaps we have just become numb. Regardless there is a often a general assumption among Americans that popular culture reaches everyone… My husband was shocked when, upon asking a next door neighbor if she needed help securing her kids’ trampoline before the storm, she responded “what storm?.” Florence was only days away from wreaking havoc on our town and we live only a half-mile from the Intracoastal Waterway, on a tidal creek. How could she not know?

When the warnings could no longer be ignored, it was time to act. While a number of studies have examined why people decide to stay or leave their homes when natural disasters are looming, finding concern for pets, financial constraints, and the anticipated severity of expected conditions to be factors in the decision, the decision process really starts with an immediate need to consider how the place one calls “home” is conceptualized. The notion of “home” implies comfort and safety. But, threatened by adverse weather conditions, the details of the specific aspects that created those safe and comfortable conditions come into question. They are no longer background elements quietly molding how we go about our daily lives (see Edensor, 2000 for a discussion on place and performance).4 Rather, people are forced to question what makes a place “safe”; to question the accuracy of how places are depicted by the media; and to question the proximity of ‘home’ to other places. Those in the predicted path were forced to find new ways to conceptualize home. In my own neighborhood, information gathered from the newest technology was juxtaposed with information garnered by arguably one of the oldest forms of popular culture — oral storytelling. A neighbor on our cul-de-sac informed us that the water “only came to the bottom of your driveway during Fran” (referring to the last major hurricane to hit the area some 20 years earlier). According to Wikipedia, storm surge during Fran peaked at 12 feet. According to the high-tech GIS (geographic information systems) plot mapping service available through our county’s assessor website, our home sat at 15’ above sea level. Modeling from a number of sources including NOAA’s National Hurricane Center repeatedly predicted a storm surge of 15’-20’ with Florence. A neighbor, attempting to zoom in as close as possible on a map on his phone remarked that he had never been so aware of the property lines, watersheds, elevations, historic floodplains, and escape routes associated with his home. Elements of place had suddenly gone from background features to factors impacting our active decision-making. Despite the maps, predictions, and the fact that one neighbor had gassed up and positioned his boat for emergency evacuation of the cul-de-sac if needed, it was impossible for any of us to imagine our street as a veritable part of the Atlantic Ocean. That did not fit anyone’s version of home. Interestingly, the immediate need to consider how we conceptualized both “place” and “home” actually worked as a catalyst in developing social and hyper local community connections many of us might not have otherwise participated in. Only in the face of disaster did we truly ‘get to know” the neighbors.

By now a decision about evacuating had to be made. Stay or go, it didn’t matter, it just needed to be decided. “It’s your last chance to leave” warned forecasters and government officials, “please leave” read social media posts from worried friends and family. But where does one go? Again, other normally passive aspects of contemporary culture were called into question. Several studies indicate that natural disaster evacuees often stay with friends and family.5 However, little if any research has addressed how decisions are made about which friends or family members to stay with. Faced with evacuation, evacuees must suddenly consider the dynamics and nature of relationships with friends and family (concepts not likely grappled with on an average day). The situation virtually corners evacuees into a sort of forced heritage tourism. “Who do we know where?,” many people asked themselves. Friends and colleagues reported scrolling through their phone contacts and social media ‘friends’ lists carefully evaluating each individual — the nature and history of the relationship, their living conditions, the perceived safety of their location. For many, myself included, links to personal and ancestral heritage appeared in earnest (some after long periods of no contact). Former next-door neighbors offered shelter in our old hometown (making a rare post on Facebook just to issue the invitation); a step aunt and uncle (whose typical communication consists of an annual Christmas card and the occasional social media comment) told us to make the “easy drive” to them; a college roommate’s sister sent a text insisting we would be no trouble in her extra bedroom. Others reached out to offer advice (rarely spoken to family members telling us to) “take an axe upstairs in case you have to chop your way out of the attic”; “have your life jackets ready to go”; “park your car on higher ground in case you can’t get off your street”, or to inquire about the validity of the forecasts that by now had reached a nationwide audience (old high school friends posting questions on social media) “is it really that bad?”; “are people worried there?”; “are you planning to stay?”. I even received an email from several former colleagues noting that if I was still planning to ride out the storm might I be interested in doing some data collection for a study on natural disasters! It was a virtual trip down memory lane. Whether out of social obligation or a true desire to help, Florence had presented an opportunity to reconnect with people from our past (or for them to connect with us). Evacuation as a quasi heritage tourism endeavor has received little attention from the scholarly community but could yield interesting findings and highlight other often overlooked social interactions.

As kind and genuine as the offers appeared to be, the norms, or at least the limits of social graces whose existence quietly dictates our every social interaction were deliberately evaluated. 6 “Do they know we have dogs?”, “3 dogs?”, “3 indoor dogs?”; “Will they mind our habits?”; “How long can we stay without it getting awkward?”; “Are they religious?”; “Political?”; “Vegan?”, we asked ourselves. “Can they stand us for a week or more?”. “Can we stand them?”. The storm necessitated a review of ‘who do I know where’ and a consideration of what makes a place feel safe and comfortable when home is not an option.

Evacuating – Forced Tourism

Deciding to evacuate was much like experiencing the five stages of grief. 7 The initial reaction to learning of the predicted path and intensity of Florence was of dismissal (or denial); it will fizzle out, it won’t hit here many claimed in passing. When that did not pan out, anger surfaced. People were angry at nature — the storm was throwing a wrench in everyone’s social, professional, and personal plans. Spouses were angry with each other — neither wanting to make the ‘wrong’ call about staying or evacuating, or wanting to take on the responsibility of securing temporary housing. The bargaining stage manifest as an attempt to understand the series of events that had led to the current situation. I found myself wondering if ‘maybe we could have prepared differently,’ and thinking ‘if only I had taken that other job in another region’ this wouldn’t be happening to us right now. Finally, the tears flowed. Florence was coming and conditions would deteriorate quickly. Friends, family, and colleagues described being overwhelmed with sadness and concern about neighbors, neighborhoods, and the community as a whole. At this point nothing more could be done — stay or go, historic events were about to unfold. Completely numb, my husband and I packed up our vehicles and our dogs in the middle of the night (realizing traffic would be horrendous by daybreak) and hit the road. Pulling out of the driveway and passing boarded up buildings on the way out of town it felt as if we would never see these places again. The media had framed Florence as an event that would cause extreme damage and, possibly, total loss. (see Miles & Morse, 2006 for a discussion on how the media frames natural disasters). Thus grief seemed like a natural reaction to the loss that was coming, even before the first winds of the storm swept the North Carolina shore. Plagued by relentlessly wet weather in the weeks prior to Florence, many parts of the eastern seaboard were already saturated and dealing with localized river, lake, and stream flooding. In fleeing Florence’s path, these challenges were encountered frequently and we were forced to forge flooded roadways against both expert advice and common sense. We, like many others, simply had no choice. It felt as if the Demigorgon from the second season of Stranger Things was chasing us – dark, ominous, too big to fully conceptualize, but heading our way just the same. Heeding every weather statement, watch, and warning quickly results in a realization that there are, in fact, no safe places. Everywhere has some sort of vulnerability to nature. There is no panacea from the forces of nature. Rather, safety seems to be in accepting the possibility of one threat over another - the lesser of two evils. Of course this is not regularly mentioned when evacuation warnings are issued or when forecasters discuss predictions of extreme weather events.

After evacuating, people in our temporary home community (as well as people along the way) were exceedingly kind and understanding. The owner of a restaurant where we got lunch paid for our meals; a friend’s colleague got out of bed at an obscene hour to let us into his apartment to rest and shower as he was out of town; his landlord made an exception for our three dogs in the otherwise pet-free building. Overall people were genuinely concerned. It seemed that the lack of sleep, distraught looks on our faces, and the general aura of despair and helplessness we conveyed validated the reality of the situation in ways that media outlets simply could not. We “legitimized” the news. Florence was not simply a mundane weather event sensationalized for the entertainment of the masses. It was affecting real people. We went from the “other” to the familiar.

After departing the affected location, specific information on Florence was surprisingly hard to come by. Local and national news sources focused on images of destruction and extreme weather conditions. TV personalities — mostly distinguished older men, clad in dark colored performance outdoor gear positioned in exposed locations reported on wind speeds, rain fall, and the overall deteriorating conditions. Little other information was available. With reporters positioned at the most vulnerable locations (for maximum visual effect), it was extremely hard to get a sense of what was really happening; what the event was like for the average Wilmington resident. After the repeated messages by government officials, media outlets, and other authorities to evacuate, most information platforms appeared to largely forget about the plight of evacuees. “Get out” they said urging the evacuation of entire swaths of the geographic area … but after leaving, little detailed information about the specifics of how our community was faring was provided. Instead quick recaps of the damage were reported and the same clips showing the same damaged gas station or downed trees across a storefront were shown over and over again. Of course information would be hard to get out of severely damaged areas, but evacuees essentially became the captive audience for these stories. People were desperate to know what was happening to their neighborhoods; their homes. The placelessness of displacement induced frustration (see Barber et al., 2007; Falk, Hunt & Hunt, 2006).8 Evacuees needed detailed information and remained glued to any and all media platforms reporting on the storm. For the four days that Florence hovered over Wilmington, nothing else seemed to exist. Nothing else mattered (see also Barber et al., 2007).9 Evacuees literally could not look away. The experience not only induced frustration among many evacuees, it also highlighted the often vague and general nature of media coverage that often goes unrecognized. More frustrated than those who chose to evacuate were those who had chosen to stay and ride out the storm. Many who had initially downplayed the seriousness of Florence were quickly desperate for any information when communication channels began to fail. It had become clear that their confidence in the face of disaster was based on the simple idea that information was and would always be available (a feature of modern society clearly taken for granted). Neighbors who had stayed were now cut off from print, social, and all forms of mass media, and found themselves reliant upon people outside the area for information — in many cases having only text messaging (with intermittent cell service) to find out vital information about tornado warnings, tide tables, and surge forecasts (during the storm), the availability of utility services after the storm (which at one point were under threat of being shut down due to a lack of fuel until a social media post tipped off local officials that spare fuel was kept on hand at the city’s port, which as it turns out was utilized to keep the city’s domestic water and sewer operations running). In the current “Information Age,” fear it seemed was derived from a lack of information, not the presence of tornados or rising waters, or the possibility of a lack of modern convinces. Once the shock of what had transpired passed and it became clear that we were not going back to Wilmington anytime soon (as the city was both inaccessible from the outside world due to flooding, and given that authorities had stated the need for the general public to stay out of the way so that first responders, supply trucks, and utility workers could get into the area first), many were encouraged by friends and family (and even neighbors stuck in the storm ravaged area) to “enjoy” their “vacation” (or “evac-u-cation” as it had become popularly known). But it seemed wrong to enjoy the place we sought refuge as if it were a vacation while those at home were suffering, burdened with cleaning up and assessing the damage done to their own and their neighbors’ homes.10 Many went through the motions of participating in the destination-specific activities associated with whatever location they had evacuated to, but few pictures of or ‘check-ins’ referring to these endeavors were posted to social media… even from those individuals whose pages are typically filled with a continuous documentation of every aspect of their lives. The experience seemed to induce evacuees to ponder what is socially acceptable during times of disaster, and to question whether it was OK to ‘enjoy’ their temporary home as if it were a destination selected for a carefree vacation. Though surprisingly little research has considered this form of “tourism” or sought to understand what do evacuees ‘do’ while displaced. While there appears to be no one way to ‘suffer’ in the wake of natural disasters, what are the social, cultural, economic, and/or psychological impacts of these touristic practices?[^] Most research on evacuation is focused on the process of departure and or on the return of residents to affected areas. More research is needed to understand what happens during evacuation.

After the Storm

When returning to Wilmington after Florence it became clear that the storm had, in fact, be an extremely serious event. On television and computer screens the audience is shown clips of the damage one frame at a time. A camera may pan around a particularly hard hit neighborhood or extremely damaged intersection in town, but the images are fleeting and disparate. In reality the damage was everywhere. It was not just one neighborhood or one intersection. Instead Florence had affected every neighborhood, every corner of town.

Many used post-apocalyptic popular culture references to describe both their experiences during the hurricane, flooding, and subsequent power and infrastructure outages, and the damage left after the storm. Mad Max references were used to describe the post storm looting that threatened our neighborhood (people dressed in black and equipped with headlamps riding recreational vehicles had cased homes in neighborhoods where the power was out causing residents to position themselves as armed guards in many front lawns). Zombieland illustrated for those not here to witness it firsthand how empty and eerie the streets of town were in the immediate aftermath of Florence. The Day After Tomorrow was alluded to as a means of depicting the power of the storm. In this sense, the aesthetics and intensity of the films referenced seemed to capture and convey the magnitude of Florence and its physical, emotional, and cultural impacts in ways otherwise not easily expressed or understood. Again, the often background elements of popular culture were brought to the center of attention this time highlighting the reliance we as a culture have upon the notion of shared imagery and storylines, both utilized to make sense of our lives and the events that impact them.

After the mass media had gone, a re-emergence of and renewed interest in the neolocal (see Schnell & Reese, 2003) developed and Florence was positioned as a central component of belonging and community bonding.11 A “communitas” or notion of the shared experience of Florence permeated local culture. Benefit concerts, fundraisers, and other events were held to both commemorate the historic storm and to bring the community together in order to motivate each other to stay strong (as the rebuilding process and return to normalacy would take both time and perseverance). Zetter and Boano (2009) note that these social events that help to reconstruct a sense of place are important for a community’s healing after a disaster. 12 Nods to Florence in menu item names and beer varieties offered at local restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries implied that those who understood the reference were entitled to a sort of respect or badge of honor – sending the message that “we survived together”. Tangible souvenirs of the hurricane became popular – almost everywhere in town sold stickers, hats, and t-shirt referencing Florence. Unlike Macomber, Mallinson, and Scale who found that consumer goods referencing Hurricane Katrina (which hit New Orleans) were primarily vulgar – an attempt at bringing humor to the situation, anecdotal evidence in the weeks following Florence suggested that the latter storm was being commemorated differently – as simply a force of nature that had been weathered rather than as a evil woman hellbent on causing destruction and suffering.13 A number of hashtags emerged appearing on social media, bumper stickers, and advertisements for local businesses. Popular culture was, and continues to be essential to the community’s economic, social, cultural, and physical recovery.

A month later, piles of debris, tarped roofs, and splintered trees still line most streets in Wilmington and the sound of chainsaws and heavy machinery is still heard daily. Hurricane Florence was an event many in southeast North Carolina won’t soon forget, but likely an event most of the rest of the country already has. In fact, just a few short weeks after Florence, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle causing overwhelming destruction. By then Florence was already being used as a benchmark for comparison, a “historic” reference point for viewers in describing what they were to expect from Michael. Regardless, for those who experienced Florence (whether first hand or as evacuees), the storm will live on in perpetuity in the stories we tell. Florence has become part of both the history of Wilmington and a part of the personal histories of the tens of thousands of individuals it impacted.

Hurricane Florence

In many ways, Florence (and other natural events like it have and will continue to) thrust many of the passive background aspects of contemporary society and American culture to the forefront of consciousness. These events virtually force audiences to actively participate in the critical analysis of the otherwise largely overlooked features of everyday life. Florence brought to light the ways in which we conceptualize place and space, “home” and “the other”; it forced event participants to analyze the role of mass media, technology, social media, science, and authority in their lives; it made them question the validity and source of the information they rely on daily; and it created new and reinvigorated old relationships and traditions. In short, Florence brought into focus for many who might not otherwise recognize it, the many forces of popular culture and society that shape the lives of Americans everyday.


Notes


  1. Yi-Fu, Tuan. Topophilia: A Study of Enviromental Perception, Attitude, and Values. Prentice Hall, 1974. ↩︎

  2. Lefebvre, Henri. The production of space. Vol. 142. Blackwell: Oxford, 1991. ↩︎

  3. Miles, Brian, and Stephanie Morse. “The role of news media in natural disaster risk and recovery.” Ecological Economics 63, no. 2-3 (2007): 365-373. ↩︎

  4. Edensor, Tim. “Staging tourism: Tourists as performers.” Annals of tourism Research 27, no. 2 (2000): 322-344. ↩︎

  5. Cox, Robin S., Bonita C. Long, Megan I. Jones, and Risa J. Handler. “Sequestering of suffering: Critical discourse analysis of natural disaster media coverage.” Journal of health psychology 13, no. 4 (2008): 469-480. ↩︎

  6. Goffman, Erving. The presentation of self in everyday life. Anchor Books, 1959. ↩︎

  7. Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth, and David Kessler. On grief and grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. Simon and Schuster, 2005. ↩︎

  8. Falk, William W., Matthew O. Hunt, and Larry L. Hunt. “HURRICANE KATRINA AND NEW ORLEANIANS’SENSE OF PLACE: Return and Reconstitution or “Gone with the Wind”?.” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 3, no. 1 (2006): 115-128. ↩︎

  9. Barber, Kristen, Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, Timothy J. Haney, Stan Weeber, Jessica W. Pardee, and Jennifer Day. “Narrating the storm: storytelling as a methodological approach to understanding Hurricane Katrina.” Journal of Public Management & Social Policy 13, no. 2 (2007): 99-120. ↩︎

  10. Schnell, Steven M., and Joseph F. Reese. “Microbreweries as tools of local identity.” Journal of cultural geography 21, no. 1 (2003): 45-69. ↩︎

  11. Kleinman, Arthur, and Joan Kleinman. “The appeal of experience; the dismay of images: cultural appropriations of suffering in our times.” Daedalus (1996): 1-23. ↩︎

  12. Zetter, Roger, and Camillo Boano. “11 Space and place after natural disasters and forced displacement.” Rebuilding After Disasters: From Emergency to Sustainability (2009): 206. ↩︎

  13. Macomber, K., Mallinson, C., & Seale, E. (2011). “Katrina That Bitch!” Hegemonic Representations of Women’s Sexuality on Hurricane Katrina Souvenir T‐Shirts. The Journal of Popular Culture, 44(3), 525-544. ↩︎

About the Author: 

Alana Seaman is an Assistant Professor of Recreation, Sports Leadership, and Tourism Management at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She earned her Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University where her dissertation research examined the connections between literature, place, and tourist performance (or what people ‘do’ while traveling). Today her research interests are still focused on the links between popular culture (particularly literature, film, and television) and tourism, heritage tourism, semiotics, place-making, tourist performance, and humanistic geography. Her recent research has been published in the Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences and The Sport Journal, and she was also recently appointed Secretary/Treasurer of the Media & Communications Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

Volume 3, Issue 2

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Rape Jokes in the Era of #MeToo

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