BY CHRIS KERR | August 29, 2012
As we recognize the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on the Gulf Coast, our thoughts and prayers are also with those who are being impacted by Hurricane Issac throughout the Gulf Region and those who are recovering in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Katrina called our entire country to respond to immediate needs and eventually to reflect on challenging issues of poverty and race in the storm’s aftermath. The Ignatian family took this “call” to action very seriously from the moment the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, and their response continues today.
In the immediate hours after Katrina assaulted the Gulf Region, Jesuit institutions across the country began what would be a response that continues today. Universities and high schools offered short and long term places of refuge for students and faculty, the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province became core partners in the region’s rebuilding effort, faculty at institutions across the country (especially Loyola University New Orleans) continue to provide academic analysis on the root causes of injustice that were exposed in light of the hurricane, and to this day Jesuit works around the country continue to send groups to the region to serve in partnership with communities in Louisiana and Alabama. In addition, in 2007 the Ignatian family gathered for a spring Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice to learn more directly about the issues and support struggling communities through service.
In recognition of the anniversary, we offer a few resources for reflection from the Ignatian family:
- “The Katrina Pain Index, seven years later” – Bill Quigley (Law Professor, Loyola New Orleans) [August 27, 2012]
- “Post Katrina New Orleans: A Welcoming Community?” – Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola New Orleans [Spring, 2011]
- “Solidarity is mutual respect and understanding” – Carlos Martinez (Santa Clara University, 2015)
- “Five Years After Katrina Jesuits Continue to Rebuild” – Jesuit Conference USA [August 27, 2010]
- “Service Learning in Post-Katrina New Orleans” – the Jesuit Way” – Kelly Rotzman (Director of Service Learning, Loyola University New Orleans) 
- “Contemplating the Katrina Whirlwind: From “Apocalypse Now” to Solidarity for the Common Good“ -Edward Arroyo, SJ [Fall, 2008]
- Christian Social Responsibility in a Post-Katrina City” – Edward Arroyo, SJ 
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.