The Atlantic's “New Orleans: Ten Years Later”—August 24 Event on the City’s Resilience and Continued Challenges

Program to hear from Mayor Mitch Landrieu, FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, Gwen Ifill, Brandan “Bmike” Odums, authors Jesmyn Ward, Chris Rose, John M. Barry, Gary Rivlin

Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, LA (August 19, 2015)—As New Orleans prepares to mark ten years since it was forever changed by one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, The Atlantic will gather city leaders and those shaping its future for “New Orleans: Ten Years Later” on Monday, August 24—a daylong symposium recognizing the city’s resilience and evaluating how it and other great cities will surmount shared challenges. The event is organized with the Urban Institute. A detailed agenda and full list of speakers is below; updated information will be shared at

“New Orleans: Ten Years Later” will feature Mayor Mitch Landrieu in conversation with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. In the September issue of The Atlantic, Goldberg explores Landrieu’s crusade to break the cycle of violence in his city.

Voices of New Orleans will resonate throughout the event. 19-year-old poet Madeleine LeCesne of New Orleans, one of five National Student Poets, will recite a recent work. Three brothers from one long-time local family will share the stage, and their story: Dean, Terry, and Wayne Baquet. Dean is executive editor of The New York Times, Terry is director of print for The Times-Picayune, and Wayne owns the local cafe Li’l Dizzy’s. The Atlantic’s Editor in Chief and President James Bennet, who covered post-Katrina New Orleans for The New York Times, will lead a discussion about neighborhood development. We’ll understand how schools are faring with John White, superintendent of education for Louisiana, Kira Orange Jones of Teach for America, Andre Perry of The Hechinger Report, and parent Rosylin York. Other conversations will address the disappearing coast; racial inequality and opportunities for young black men in New Orleans; the culture that permeates the city; and what the future holds.

Local musical legends HOT 8 Brass Band will play at the close of the day’s programming. The band, which is about to embark on a tour, was featured in Spike Lee’s two documentaries about the city following Katrina. There will also be a pop-up bookshop, in partnership with Garden District Book Shop, for speakers to sign their latest works.

“New Orleans: Ten Years Later” is underwritten by The Rockefeller Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Jones Walker.

At a Glance:

“New Orleans: Ten Years Later” Program Agenda:

9:00 AM: A Sense of Place

  • A poem from Madeleine LeCesne, National Student Poet

9:02 AM: Opening Remarks

  • James Bennet, Co-President and Editor-in-Chief, The Atlantic

9:05 AM: Town Hall: What Does It Mean to Know New Orleans?

  • Lolis Eric Elie, Writer and Filmmaker
  • Madeleine LeCesne, National Student Poet, Southwest Region
  • Minh Nguyen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, VAYLA
  • Chris Rose, Journalist and Author, 1 Dead in Attic
  • Oliver Thomas, Former City Council Member; Host, WBOK Radio
  • Tracie Washington, President and CEO, The Louisiana Justice Center
  • Moderated by: Gwen Ifill, Co-Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour

9:45 AM: The Crescent City in 2015

  • Mitch Landrieu, Mayor, City of New Orleans
  • Moderated by: Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic

10:15 AM: Disaster Preparedness and Anticipating the Next One

  • W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, FEMA
  • Moderated by: Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic

10:40 AM: Housing and Changing Neighborhoods

  • Pres Kabacoff, Co-Chairman of the Board and CEO, HRI Properties
  • James Perry, Former Executive Director, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute
  • Moderated by: James Bennet, Co-President and Editor-in-Chief, The Atlantic

11:10 AM: Through the Eyes of Artists: Culture Across Generations

  • Marcus Akinlana, Artist
  • Leonard Galmon, Student and Artist
  • Brandan “Bmike” Odums, Artist and Owner, 2 Cent Entertainment LLC
  • Moderated by: Jonathan Ferrara, Artist and Owner, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

11:30 AM: Opportunities and Challenges for New Orleans’ Young Black Men

  • Michael Harrison, Superintendent, New Orleans Police Department
  • La June Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Margaret Simms, Director of Low-Income Working Families Initiative, Urban Institute
  • Moderated by: Jarvis DeBerry, Columnist, The Times-Picayune

12:00 PM: Chartered/Uncharted: Navigating Education for the Next Generation

  • Kira Orange Jones, Executive Director, Teach for America Greater New Orleans-Louisiana Delta
  • Andre Perry, Education Advisor and Author, The Second Line Education Blog
  • John White, Superintendent of Education, Louisiana
  • Rosylin York, Parent
  • Moderated by: Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, The Aspen Institute

12:30 PM: Story of a Family: The Baquets

  • Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times
  • Terry Baquet, Director of Print, The Times-Picayune
  • Wayne Baquet, Owner, Li’l Dizzy’s

12:55 PM: Lunch

1:50 PM: A Roadmap for Resilience

  • Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

2:05 PM: Katrina and Sandy: What Kind of Cities Do We Want to Build?

  • Luisa Dantas, Filmmaker, Land of Opportunity
  • Robin Keegan, Director of Community Resiliency, GCR Incorporated
  • Moderated by: Eve Troeh, Director of News, WWNO

2:25 PM: Living with Risk: Designing a Better System

  • Karen Durham-Aguilera, Director, Contingency Operations and Office of Homeland Security; Director of Task Force Hope in New Orleans, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Mark Schleifstein, Environment Reporter, | The Times-Picayune

2:50 PM: Living with Water: Designing a Better City

  • David Waggonner, President, Waggonner and Ball Architects

3:10 PM: A Sense of Place

  • Jesmyn Ward, Author, Salvage The Bones and Men We Reaped
  • Moderated by: Eve Troeh, Director of News, WWNO

3:30 PM: Resilient Nation: Strengthening Our Places

  • Lauren Alexander Augustine, Director, Program on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events, The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
  • Rolf Pendall, Director of the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Zack Rosenburg, Co-Founder and CEO, St. Bernard Project
  • Moderated by: Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic

4:00 PM: Town Hall: What Does New Orleans Now Know?

  • John M. Barry, Author, Rising Tide; Distinguished Scholar, Tulane Center for Bioenvironmental Research
  • Cherice Harrison-Nelson, Education and Artist; Co-Founder and Curator, Mardi Gras Indians Hall of Fame
  • Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Inc.
  • Bennie Pete, Founder and Band Leader, HOT 8 Brass Band
  • Gary Rivlin, Journalist and Author, Katrina: After the Flood
  • Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Moderated by: Gwen Ifill, Co-Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour

4:35 PM: Program Closes

4:45 PM: Reception with Music by HOT 8 Brass Band