A volunteer’s perspective: Relief work, white privilege, and gentrification

Renee Corrigan, trainer at the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), talks about her experience coming down and staying in New Orleans after Katrina as a college student. She particularly dwells on the privilege white volunteers enjoyed over local African Americans, the conflict between addressing immediate needs and tackling systemic problems, and the gentrification process. Drawing from her work experience, she also comments on post-Katrina mental health issues. Interview conducted by Xiayue “Patrick” Li. Permission given by both participants to post.

[Editor’s Note: This reflection was captured as part of an English class taught by Gaurav Desai to document memories of Hurricane Katrina. It was originally written on April 28, 2014.]


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