Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jessica Christian

Reader 2

Albert Dorsey

Reader 3

Andrew Aisenberg

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Rights Information

© 2022 Marcella A Cannatti


On August 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. It left flooding, death and destruction in its wake. In the aftermath of the hurricane, neoliberal reformers saw the chaos brought by the hurricane as a chance to remake the city according to their principles. They pushed for pro-market reforms in all areas of rebuilding, but none so successfully as the complete restructuring of the public school system in New Orleans. Coordinated efforts from the state and federal governments managed to eliminate traditional public schools from New Orleans and replace them with privately run charter schools.

This paper examines the history of K-12 public education in New Orleans and the school reforms implemented after Katrina. It will explore the shortcomings of Orleans Parish schools prior to the hurricane, and how these were used to justify a state takeover of public schools in September 2005. The paper also looks at the legal structures that were in place before the hurricane, which enabled the shift to a charter-portfolio model of education, and the impacts that these reforms have had on students since they were first introduced.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.