chapter  6
32 Pages

Imageability and Justice in Contemporary New Orleans

WithDelia Duong Ba Wendel

ABSTRACT In the highly contentious rebuilding debates that emerged in New Orleans

after the 2005 hurricanes, neighbourhoods were compelled to use rhetorical methods to

solicit funding and municipal support for reconstruction. The stakes were particularly

high for the Lower Ninth Ward; a neighbourhood the city was reluctant to rebuild.

In New Orleans, notions of ‘justice’ were multiple, variable, and instrumental to the

Lower Ninth Ward’s ‘right to remain’ assertions. To discuss the ways in which the ‘just

city’ was conceived after the hurricanes, the paper draws from the work of John Rawls, Iris

Marion Young and Hannah Arendt. Kevin Lynch’s notion of imageability is employed to

discuss the centrality of spatial representations in debates over justice and rebuilding. The

paper concludes by illustrating this theoretical framework in Lower Ninth Ward efforts to

circumvent the municipality’s exclusionary rebuilding plans.