Funding provided by the National Science Foundation ( award #BCS-0554959.

The Katrina Project is a longitudinal study of New Orleans business and organization social networks. In this project we use in depth interviews and online surveys to gather data that help build an understanding of business, organization, and community recovery after disaster. Specifically, findings point to
- how interorganizational social networks (professional relationships with other organizations and businesses) in the area, the nation, and around the globe helped facilitate various types of organization and business recovery and rebuilding, and
- how businesses and organizations reconnect to and make new connections with business and community partners as a way to return and rebuild.

The project's design is longitudinal. In other words, we are tracking participating businesses and organizations over time in order to capture the changes and complexities the study participants face as attention, resources, and support to the Gulf Coast region wax and wane.

Dr. Doerfel's Research Team Members include doctoral students:
- Lisa V. Chewning
- Teresa L. Keeler
- Chih-Hui Lai
- Alena Vasilyeva

Award winning research findings have been written for and presented at various national and international conferences, including:
- The International Communication Association (
- The International Network of Social Network Analysts (
- The National Communication Association (

Current Status of Project:
Interviews: Interviews with organizational, business, and community leaders were conducted from December 2005 through August 2007. These interviews were conducted so we could learn from those who were trying to get their business or organization back up and running. We asked business, organization, and community leaders about their challenges, successes, use of social and professional ties as sources of support, and their ability to recreate their professional relationships.

Analysis: Transcripts of over 2000 pages of interviews with business and organizational owners and leaders are now coded. Over 30 diminsions of support, relationships, and functions of communication were needed to capture participants' stories. These dimensions reflect the various and nuanced ways participants in this study managed their return and rebuilding processes.

Ongoing data collection: Based on the transcript analyses, we developed an online survey and are inviting organizational and business leaders (e.g., CEOs, Presidents, owners) to take it. If you own or run your business/organization/community group and are interested in participating in this study, please send an email to Marya Doerfel.

Publications: Manuscripts are written and being written for publication.

Doerfel, M. L., Lai, C-H., & Chewning, L. V. (2010). The evolutionary role of interorganizational communication: Modeling social capital in disaster contexts. Human Communication Research, 36, 125-162.