Search and Rescue

Dale Maharidge

in Someplace Like America

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262478
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948792 | DOI:
Search and Rescue

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One might believe that the authorities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which left some 70,000 rotting and abandoned buildings, would make a concerted effort to help the thousands of squatters who are now living in these buildings. However, help for the displaced comes down to two men, Shamus Rohn, twenty-eight, and Mike Miller, twenty-nine. They are outreach social workers for UNITY of Greater New Orleans, described as “a collaborative of sixty agencies working to end homelessness.” It was funded on a shoestring. Its mission statement: “Working to End Homelessness, Bringing New Orleans Home.” However, the title of “social worker” does not fully explain the job description of these two men. They can be described as the U.S. Marines of the social assistance world, the first to hit the backstreets of despair, armed not with weapons but with Magnum flashlights, on the front line of a lonely battle to help people in dark places.

Keywords: Katrina; New Orleans; squatters; Shamus Rohn; Mike Miller; social workers; UNITY of Greater New Orleans; homelessness; Hurricane Katrina; social assistance

Chapter.  2974 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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