An explicitly methodological case study conducted for a multidisciplinary symposium on the Atlantic relationships of pre- and (post-)Katrina Louisiana illustrates some methods that geographers might usefully contribute to an emergent Atlantic Studies. Three general types of method apply to a substantive question related to the hurricane that struck on the morning of 29 August 2005: Is (post-)Katrina New Orleans emerging as a Hispanic place in contrast to its predominant pre-Katrina associations with the Black and French Atlantics? One type of method involves spatial analysis of data, whether social survey data such as census enumerations, environmental data such as flood depth and persistence, or others. Another relies on fieldwork that combines informal interviews with observation of landscape elements, both those diagnostic of past relational processes and those suggestive of emerging ones. The third employs analysis of long-term dynamics in the relationships among places, in this particular case New Orleans, the Canary Islands, Honduras, and other places of the Hispanic Atlantic. That mix of methods makes understandable some of the processes driving the emerging Hispanic geography of New Orleans, such as new Hispanic in-migrants creating a place for themselves among the Vietnamese of New Orleans East. The question of whether New Orleans is really emerging as a Hispanic place thus begins to become much more meaningful than the categorical claims to date, which have cited a relatively minor increase in the proportion of a social survey category termed Hispanic, while ignoring the much more significant shifting location of New Orleans within the network of relational processes that comprise the Hispanic Atlantic.
Sluyter, Andrew, "(Post-) K New Orleans and the Hispanic Atlantic: Geographic method and meaning" (2008). Faculty Publications. 30.
Taylor & Francis