The Condition of Neighborhood Parks Following Hurricane Katrina: Development of a Post-Hurricane Assessment Instrument

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access

Background:

Parks provide environments for physical activity, yet little is known about how natural disasters affect them or how these disasters alter physical activity. Our objectives were to (1) describe the development of an instrument to assess park conditions following a hurricane and (2) document the conditions of New Orleans’ parks 3 and 6 months after Hurricane Katrina.

Methods:

A Post-Hurricane Assessment (PHA) instrument was developed and implemented in 54 parks 3 and 6 months post-hurricane.

Results:

Summary scores of the Park Damage Index and the Neighborhood Damage Index showed improvement between 3 and 6 months of data collection. Parks and neighborhoods most affected by the hurricane were located in the most- and least-affluent areas of the city.

Conclusion:

The PHA proved to be a promising tool for assessing park conditions in a timely manner following a natural disaster and allowed for the creation of summary damage scores to correlate to community changes.

Bedimo-Rung, Tompkins, and Sothern are with the School of Public Health, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, LA 70122. Thomson is with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Mowen is with the Dept of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. Gustat and Strikmiller are with the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112.