Margot Habets

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Susan Cutter


Hurricane Katrina was a historic event, forever changing many lives as well as altering impacted communities in the short and long term. In the fifteen years since the storm, patterns of damage, recovery programs and dollars, and existing neighborhood change have altered demographics in coastal Mississippi. This thesis investigates how population, median age, race, and education demographics have changed at the census tract level in the fourteen years since Hurricane Katrina (2006-2019) compared to pre-Katrina trends (1990-2000). A moving average using American Community Survey data as well as interval changes measure how different neighborhoods have been altered since the storm. Local Moran’s I cluster and outlier analysis combined with a change concept test identified clusters of large and small change. Large changes were focused on the Gulf Coast and inland tracts where development has focused since the storm while small changes were less common and scattered throughout the tri-county study area.

The subsequent case study on coastal Mississippi considered damage, FEMA assistance recipients, and the growth of impervious areas before reviewing reports on Katrina recovery, city and county development, and regional plans for the future. The case study found that housing development was focused away from the coast, with many people priced out of rebuilding homes directly on the coast or opting away from future risk. For the most part, economic development remained focused on the coast, including tourism and multiple ports, which have been repeatedly impacted after Hurricane Katrina, including the 2010 BP oil spill.


© 2022, Margot Habets

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Geography Commons