Winner of Friends of Fondren Library Graduate Research Awards, 2010
Mere months after residents of New Orleans were left stranded on their roofs, before, even, all of the bodies were to be found within the flood wreckage, Gray Line New Orleans announced plans to begin bus tours of the wreckage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Such tours have now multiplied, almost a dozen companies offering bus or van tours of the death and destruction that so many watched unfold on network television. This essay will track the Katrina devastation tour through its various formations, noting, especially, its changing status as a commodity throughout. The commoditization of Katrina has not been a straight path towards increasing commoditization, but has been alternately contested and promoted as a commodity throughout its history.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005