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Media Advisory 06-012

From the Eye of the Storm: Science in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

New Orleans scientist shares experiences from the post-Katrina research response

Researchers inspect a portion of the floodwall that was overtopped and flattened.

Researchers inspect a portion of the floodwall that was overtopped and flattened.

March 30, 2006

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

John McLachlan, an environmental scientist at Tulane and Xavier universities in New Orleans, experienced the devastation of Katrina first-hand. While he was able to safely leave the city during the storm, his laboratory facilities stayed. For weeks after his research team returned, McLachlan's apartment served as their center of operations.

On April 5, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will host McLachlan, who will share how he and his colleagues literally picked up the pieces of his demolished laboratory, and the tremendous, multidisciplinary collaborations that have since emerged among researchers across the country who have been studying Katrina's devastation, society's response, and the ongoing recovery.

McLachlan will highlight the Katrina Environmental Research and Restoration Network (KERRN), of which he is the principle investigator. Funded by NSF, KERRN is a coalition of nearly 80 experts in science, engineering, humanities and other fields who cross wide disciplinary obstacles to gain new insights from the hurricane and apply lessons learned to future disasters. Members draw perspectives from fields ranging from ecosystem science, cancer epidemiology and civil engineering to nursing, economics and urban studies.

McLachlan will be joined by Doug Meffert, also of Tulane. Meffert is the chair of the Committee on Sustainability for Mayor Ray Nagin’s Bring Back New Orleans Task Force.

Who:    John A. McLachlan       
            Weatherhead Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies
            Director, Center for Bioenvironmental Research
            Co-Founder and Acting Director, RiverSphere
            Tulane and Xavier Universities

            Doug Meffert
            Deputy Director, Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Tulane University
            Chair, Committee on Sustainability, Mayor’s Bring Back New Orleans Task Force

When: Wed. April 5, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.

Where: National Science Foundation
              Room 110
              4201 Wilson Blvd.
              Arlington, VA 22230
              Metro line: Orange Line, Ballston

RSVP is required. Media should contact Josh Chamot, media officer for engineering, at (703) 802-2208 or


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:

Program Contacts
Christopher L. Greer, NSF, (703) 292-8470, email:
Richard J. Fragaszy, NSF, (703) 292-8360, email:

Principal Investigators
John A. McLachlan, Tulane and Xavier Universities, (504) 988-6910, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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