Generating ideas, connections, and action

The Power of Place: Creating Space in New Orleans in 2009

We are holding Creating Space in New Orleans in 2009. What will it mean for us to be there? What can we learn? What do we bring? I have been thinking a lot recently about the power of place, about the stories that are layered in our environment that we are unaware of, especially the stories of those who have been excluded from history -- whose stories are invisible to us but are still etched in the land. What are those stories? What can they teach us? How do our lives embody these stories even when we are unaware of them?

New Orleans is a crucible of our time, a place that has brought together powerful economic, social, political, cultural and natural forces that reveal the fissures and energies that criss-cross our lives, often at a substrate level without our awareness. New Orleans is an opportunity for us to confront some of the profound leadership questions of our time. As you reflect on New Orleans, what questions do you have?

Here are some of my questions:

* What are the lessons about leadership that we learn from New Orleans in the wake of Katrina?
* How did leadership respond under crisis?
* How did the racial and class fissures in our social fabric reveal themselves in this crisis?
* What happened to our political leaders? How did they respond?
* How do we rebuild?
* What are the sources of strength, the assets in our communities?
* Where is leadership emerging? What linkages are being made?
* How do communities and leaders move past devastation?
* How do we heal from all the pain and suffering?
* What do outsiders contribute?
* What do we all have to learn about ourselves and our leadership from being present in (to) New Orleans?

As we prepare to go to New Orleans in 2009, what questions do you bring? What can we learn in this place, at this time? I invite you to share your questions on this blog or to email me directly. I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who is funding/working in New Orleans. What are the stories you hear? What are you learning about leadership?


New Orleans

Hello Claire,

In the mosaic of interesting questions you pose, one essential question (for me) surfaces above all: How do we rebuild?

And from that: How do we reconstruct leadership capacity? How do we re-establish a disenfranchised human population into an integrated network of relationships and communities?

I wonder how the current political leadership in New Orleans and the outlying communities are answering these questions.