Struggling to Recover New Orleans: Creativity in the Gaps and Margins



As an ethnographer currently conducting research in New Orleans, I use my own lived experience and role as curator to explore the way in which Ethnographic Terminalia 2010: New Orleans, Art Spill: Disaster, Art, Activism, and Recovery, and other American Anthropological Association (AAA)–sponsored exhibitions entered ongoing local conversations about boundaries, resistance, recovery, and social action in the post-Katrina era. Taking the position that the exhibition may work as a kind of ethnographic experiment—involving collaboration and agitation between various actors—I build on Shannon Dawdy's use of archaeological taphonomy to speculate on the role of disruptive curatorial projects in the region's chronic, ongoing post-disaster recovery process.