Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Los Isleños, Croatians, culture heritage, environmental stressors, faith-based disaster relief, coping


Hurricanes are associated with environmental destruction and traumatic stress for directly affected communities. In this chapter, we compare and contrast younger and older commercial fishers from two south Louisiana coastal parishes (counties) who experienced profound losses in the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Content analysis of narrative data based on open-ended interview questions yielded three core themes: (1) Materialism and True Colors Revealed: Despicable Deeds and Acts of Grace after the Storm, (2) Helping Efforts Across Denominations: God was Using his People to help His [Other] People, and (3) Historical Ties that Bind: Old Roots and New Connections. Themes 1 and 2 capture similar responses across age groups. Younger and older fishers alike reported material losses and shifts in outlook and priorities after the storms, along with an outpouring of support from volunteers associated with faith-based disaster relief efforts. Theme 3 reflects pronounced points of difference between the age groups. For younger fishers, salient trends were new friendships with displacement hosts and social opportunities in non-coastal communities to which they had evacuated. By contrast, salient trends for older fishers conveyed perennial environmental concerns, including coastal erosion and land loss. Ties to family and their coastal homeland were well represented in both age groups’ narratives. Implications of the present findings for understanding age and cultural identity influences on post-disaster resilience are considered.

Original Publication Citation

Cherry, K., Marks, L., *Adamek, R., & *Lyon, B.(2015). Younger and older coastal fishers face catastrophic loss after Hurricane Katrina. In K. Cherry (ed.), Traumatic stress and long-term recovery: Coping with disasters and other negative life events (pp. 327-348). New York: Springer.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date







Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor