Green tourism and the ambiguities of sustainability discourse: The case of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward

Author(s): Gotham, K.F., J.A. Lewis
In: International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 6: 57–73
Year: 2015
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Full reference: Gotham, K.F., J.A. Lewis. 2015. Green tourism and the ambiguities of sustainability discourse: The case of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 6: 57–73

Summary

This paper uses a case study of the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood in New Orleans to examine the relationships between green tourism and sustainability discourse in shaping the post-Katrina rebuilding process.

Specially, we draw on long-term ethnographic field observations to highlight the tensions between abstract and idealized conceptions of sustainability and the complicated realities of uneven rebuilding and neighborhood disinvestment. We focus on changes in the tourism sector since Hurricane Katrina, the promotion of green tourism through actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right (MIR) Foundation, and the ambiguities and paradoxes of sustainability discourse.

Overall, our goal is to develop a critical understanding of niche tourism in a disaster-devastated neighborhood and highlight the ways in which unspoken norms about sustainability create political-economic blind-spots to the ways in which socio-spatial inequalities, disinvestment, and entrenched social problems structure life in the city and the Lower Ninth Ward.

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