GIANT LEAPS FOR SUSTAINABILITY: SANDRA SYDNOR, MARIA MARSHALL AND HOLLY SCHRANK

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Holly Schrank, Sandra Sydnor and Maria Marshall studied the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on businesses in Mississippi. Photo by Vincent Walter. 

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2019 |

While other researchers were focusing on businesses that survived Hurricane Katrina, three Purdue faculty members also wondered about the ones that didn’t.

When Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on August 28, 2005, with 125 mph winds and 30-foot storm surges, it was Mississippi, not Louisiana, at ground zero. Plowing up the western half of the state, the tempest devastated town after town, leaving $30 billion of damage in its wake.

Traveling a 10-county region several years after the hurricane, Sandra Sydnor, Maria Marshall and Holly Schrank cross-referenced business names from public records, and then hired the University of Wisconsin Survey Center to conduct telephone interviews of business owners. Not surprisingly, businesses that ceased operations immediately were more likely to have experienced catastrophic building damage or a loss of inventory, crops, equipment or employees.

Read more in our 2017-18 annual report.

Writer: Angela Roberts, akroberts@purdue.edu, 765-494-2629