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The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America
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The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
After seven years of service as the president of Tulane University, Scott Cowen watched the devastation of his beloved New Orleans at the hands of Hurricane Katrina. When federal, state, and city officials couldn't find their way to decisive action, Cowen, known for his gutsy leadership, quickly partnered with a coalition of civic, business, and nonprofit leaders looking t ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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Andy Grabia
Jan 11, 2015 Andy Grabia rated it did not like it
Put it down after about 50 pages. Found it too self-serving and vain.
Jun 17, 2014 Patricia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: researchers
I purchased and read this book because I was a part of the Tulane community during the Katrina experience, before and after. Scott Cowen's leadership was essential to all of us after Katrina and I was interested in reading his account of the experience. I am rating it completely based on how it met my expectations, and not on the basis of how it might be helpful to folks seriously researching recovery after disaster and issues common to American cities. Scott Cowen is in the role of the man on a ...more
May 06, 2014 Katherine rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of this book through the First Reads program. The subject was of particular interest to me, as someone who loves New Orleans (born and raised there), and has many friends and family who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Due to his position as President of Tulane, Mr. Cowen has a rarefied perspective on the events before, during and after Katrina. Cowen's affection for New Orleans and its culture is clear and heartwarming. However, the structure of the book and the wr ...more
May 27, 2014 Tiffany rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Mings
Aug 15, 2014 Josh Mings rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I had the pleasure of having Scott Cowen as my university president while attending Tulane. What he did to help New Orleans come back after Katrina is nothing short of a miracle and I was glad to have a small part in it while attending Tulane post-Katrina. I greatly enjoyed reading it and reminiscing about all the places mentions where I used to hang out in New Orleans. This book is equal parts history, leadership, and love story, all about the inevitable city on the impossible site.
Aug 11, 2014 Andie rated it liked it
I received a review copy of this book from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

Scott Cowen, the outgoing president of Tulane University in New Orleans played a critical role in not only getting his university back on line in record time, but also in the reorganization of the city's public school system, and in doing so became not only well known in New Orleans, but also nation-wide as a man who could get things done - if sometimes ruthlessly. Unfortunately, he decided to make his book abou
May 25, 2014 Kristy rated it it was amazing
What a great book to inspire both the young and the more experienced members of our community to go and make a difference (I say "experienced" because I'm from the older generation:-). When I first took a look inside - I expected a story, relating the efforts of rebuilding the community of New Orleans. But what really surprised me as I read through the chapters - was this was more than a story. This is a book on leadership principles that are infused and strengthened by a core dedication to comm ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I read two nonfiction books concurrently and found the contrast in them fascinating. Reading the two books also gave me a huge appreciation for living in the United States. The two books were Behind the Beautiful Forevers, about a slum in Mumbai, and The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America.The first book has no hope. The second is not only full of hope, but hope fulfilled.
Despite what many think, the United States is one of, if not the least, corrupt c
Sandra Grauschopf
May 26, 2014 Sandra Grauschopf rated it really liked it
I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program, and I was thrilled to receive it. In the very short amount of time I spent in New Orleans, I came to absolutely love it, and I was very interested in this story of recovery after the horrors of Katrina.

First, the criticism: this is a slim book, only about 250 pages in length, but it tries to do a lot of things at once. It's at once a personal recounting of the fight to save New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, a lea
May 13, 2014 Faith rated it liked it
I was selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads for review. I found this book to be very interesting.

We all know about the devastation that occurred in New Orleans, but other than everyone making loud noises in every direction I really didn't know much about what had happened since. Well, I know everyone blamed everyone and everything on this that and the other, but I have never really gotten a clear picture after the storm. That's exactly what this book covered, and I think th
May 01, 2014 Claire rated it liked it
I received The Inevitable City as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

President of Tulane University Scott Cowen discusses his adopted hometown, its struggles, and its successes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Subjects from education to crime to non-profit outreach to race relations are covered, leading to a larger discussion of the problems that many cities face today.

It's a broad, sweeping book, which has its benefits and drawbacks. It's a great generalist overview for someone who (like me) doesn't
Jul 03, 2014 Sheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a review copy of The Inevitable City through the First Reads giveaway program. I entered the giveaway because I have a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs, worked in community development for a few years and even did flood recovery work. I thought it would be interesting to examine how to accomplish large-scale community development after a tragedy such as Hurricane Katrina.

Former Tulane University President, Scott Cowen, took an active leadership role in the redevelopment of New Orleans afte
Karen E. Garcia
Apr 12, 2015 Karen E. Garcia rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads contest. I personally do not know anything about New Orleans nor do I know anybody who if from there. I saw Hurricane Katrina on the news and felt bad for those who had to endure what was given to them. After a while everybody around me started talking about other things and moved on. Scott Cowen helped to rebuild New Orleans and made me realized that although the natural disaster was over, New Orleans was still in need of help. I am glad there are p ...more
Jun 20, 2014 Rhonda rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book terribly and then I won it. First off,
as usual tragedy is always a way to test a government response. Tragedy of
any kind is always a test for any said government and responses are
always criticzed and there is no right or wrong and not everyone will
be happy. Scott Cowen loved Tulane and it was easy to feel his pain and want
to put things back together at the University. Red tape, challenges, money
you name it , it's in the book. I found it to be a very personal hard jou
May 03, 2014 Skylar rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. LOVED IT. I feel so inspired and hopeful after reading it! Problems are not insurmountable when there are creative, realistic leaders available. I was surprised by the candor of the book, both recognizing his own compromises and the failures of leaders who should have stepped up after Katrina. I think the author makes an important point: we always say "the perfect is the enemy of the good," but we don't realize this applies in everything. If you're going to accomplish anything ...more
Jun 02, 2016 April rated it did not like it
I was interested in reading about New Orleans, because I was too young when Katrina happened to really grasp how everything unfolded. I still don't know a lot about it because I ended up not wanting to read this book.

There was a lot of rambling about leadership, and what good leaders do (I bet it's all the author! Someone tell me if I'm right.) And then I got to a really weird sentence about how ~the civil rights movement never made it to Louisiana, so there was less racial tension there~ or som
Jun 10, 2014 Betsy rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book is written by Scott Cowen the president of Tulane University. Scott had a huge job after Katrina trying to save Tulane and restoring hope and growth back into New Orleans. The book is suppose to be about leadership and how to fix other communities, but I felt more like he was trying to defend the decisions he made more than anything else. I also feel like he wouldn't of had the opportunity to accomplish all that he did if it hadn't been in the wake of Katrina where someone was forced t ...more
May 07, 2014 Misty rated it liked it
I really, really wanted to give this 5 stars, but just can't. The rebuilding/rebirth of NOLA is an issue close to my heart. The problem with this book is that it is so formulaic, it would work better as a powerpoint or a talk. It is also uses a lot of scholarly language, which is not surprising given the author but it makes it less accessible to some people. I am surprised since it appears he had a co-author that this was not a more readable work. There are some interesting snippets about progra ...more
May 27, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
The story of the devastation of New Orleans and its struggle out of that devastation told by the president of Tulane University. Mixed in with the recounting of events relating to the recovery of NOLA were the leadership principles demonstrated in that chapter that Cowen felt were important. A great inside take, even if from the ivory tower perspective, on the recovery of NOLA, leaning heavily toward the positive but not afraid to show some of the negative as well. I would rate this book 3.5 sta ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Pam rated it liked it
I read this book because I heard Scott Cowen, the author, speak at a conference organized by my employer. As a speaker, Cowen was incredibly knowledgeable and motivating. But I was a bit disappointed in his book. I found it to be a little too much of a light smorgasbord, and a bit elitist -- especially after reading the many stories about the people who have been left out of the recovery, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Cowen is a privileged white man, and thus sees ...more
Ricki Certain
Nov 23, 2014 Ricki Certain rated it liked it
While I don't agree with all of Scott's views, I understand that he has had to make some tough decisions in order for Tulane and New Orleans to keep going. His passion for his adopted city is evident. He speaks highly of much of the community and the traditions that he's found himself in. And I am awed by his decision to add a community service component to the student curriculum, allowing students to give back to the city in which they live.
Dottie Resnick
Jun 28, 2014 Dottie Resnick rated it really liked it
This book has a dual narrative, the revitalization of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and leadership principles employed to do it. These leadership principles can/will work to re-energize other cities, companies and our own individual lives. Every person, organization, city has it's own story, circumstances, opportunities. Using the principles we can incorporate our pasts and build new futures.
Nov 29, 2014 wade rated it really liked it
This is a good book for a very narrow audience. The subject is the recovery of New Orleans after Katrina. Although there is some human interest stories here the book was written by the former President of Tulane University so it definitely has a administrative bent to it. So, I see the book as more beneficial to someone who cares about leadership from a governmental point of view. Essentially the author tries to figure out what worked and what didn't in New Orleans' post Katrina recovery.
Jun 23, 2014 Lynsie rated it really liked it
As someone who lived in New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina, I witnessed much of the rebirth of NOLA. This book is a different take on the story: it is at once a memoir of events from both a personal and professional perspective, as well as a guide to leadership skills. It balances these rolls well and is never boring. A great look at the different levels of development needed in blighted inner cities that takes into account what worked and what didn't work.
Ricky Kilmer
Aug 05, 2014 Ricky Kilmer rated it liked it
I received a reader copy of this book and found it fairly interesting. This book is a great example of a community facing adversity and pulling together. it's a detailed accounting of the events in a readable format.
May 28, 2014 Riley rated it really liked it
This was a great book
Sheri Horton
Jun 10, 2014 Sheri Horton rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Great perspective of post Katrina New Orleans, well thought out and well written.
Nov 25, 2016 Billy rated it liked it
Lots of initiatives, initials but the author has a big heart, great attitude, and good principles.
Jan 26, 2015 Jenni rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Great book about the resurgence of NOLA post-Katrina and Scott Cowen's hand in same.
May 25, 2014 YYY marked it as to-read
Thank you First Reads for winning this free book. I will read and review soon.
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