The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America [NOOK Book]

Overview


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 to work around the old institutions to revitalize and transform New Orleans. This team led the charge to restore equilibrium and eventually to ...
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The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America

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Overview


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 to work around the old institutions to revitalize and transform New Orleans. This team led the charge to restore equilibrium and eventually to rebuild. For the past nine years, Cowen has continued this work, helping to bring the city of New Orleans back from the brink. The Inevitable City presents 10 principles that changed the game for this city, and, if adopted, can alter the curve for any business, endeavor, community—and perhaps even a nation.This is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities. Ordinary citizens, empowered to actively rescue their own city after politicians and government officials failed them, have succeeded in rebuilding their world. Cowen was at the leading edge of those who articulated, shaped, and implemented a vision of transformative change that has yielded surprising social progress and economic growth: a drowned city identified with the shocking images of devastation and breakdown has transformed itself into a mecca of growth, opportunity, and hope.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/31/2014
After Hurricane Katrina, most of Tulane University lay paralyzed and underwater. Cowen, president of Tulane at the time, led a charge to dramatically refashion the university, and the surrounding city, with a mission of social service and responsibility. In forthright and upbeat fashion, Cowan details the development of that mission, and the sometimes-controversial renewal plan he helped steer with civic and business leaders. Facing unprecedented devastation and a shockingly slow and inadequate government response, Cowen and company were forced to make “hard call” that often met with resistance from, among others, members and representatives of an understandably suspicious population of poor, mostly African-American residents. The university soon restructured and mobilized its academic departments, such as the School of Architecture, bringing services and expertise to blighted areas of the city, and encouraging undergraduates (via a new academic requirement) to actively engage neighborhoods through the Center for Public Service. Part memoir, part leadership study, the book offers 10 principles for rebuilding American cities. Given Cowen’s central role in the regeneration of New Orleans, this is a bird’s-eye view that’s sure to appeal to policy makers, activists, and corporate managers. In addition, Cowen acknowledges historical patterns that feed both the city’s character and the frictions it faces as a diverse but still unequal society. (June)
From the Publisher
“On its surface The Inevitable City is a book about leadership by a man who led his community through a crisis. But what it really is is the story of a love affair, between a man and the city he did so much to save. One day historians will realize how incredible it was that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans found its greatest leader in a university president. They will turn here to see how and why he did what he did.” New York Times bestselling author Michael Lewis

“Our most famous fictional resident, Blanche DuBois observed that she depended on the kindness of strangers. The truth is in the time after Hurricane Katrina the fate of New Orleans was depending on the vision and competence of a guy that grew up in New Jersey. That person was Tulane President Dr. Scott Cowen. New Orleanians unanimously credit him as being the most significant individual in the resurrection and rebirth of the city. This book is a superb place to become educated on post-Katrina New Orleans.”James Carville

"Scott Cowen takes us on his personal journey rebuilding and revitalizing his university and community after the worst natural disaster to ever hit a modern American city. His unflinching courage and deep compassion propel a narrative that is at once a leadership epic and an examination of the true meaning of service. Scott reminds us that while we mourn the losses inflicted on our beloved Gulf Coast, we must never let that be the end of the story—we must write the next chapter." —Lisa Jackson, VP, Apple Inc and former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency

"In this beautifully written book, Cowen describes how New Orleans’ leaders, in partnership with its extraordinary and diverse community of citizens, drew on the history, culture, unbreakable spirit and unquestionable strength of this unique metropolis to reimagine new models of urban renewal and reawakening. The Inevitable City serves both to inspire and instruct all of us who know that while great storms are always possible, revitalization and rebirth are more often the result when men and women of courage and determination face the storm together." —Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, former president of Brown University

The Inevitable City is a wonderful and accurate account of Hurricane Katrina.  Scott Cowen saved Tulane University and helped save the City of New Orleans. We had no greater leader.” —Archie Manning

"Dr. Cowen (Scott) articulates how to turn disaster and despair into an opportunity to make our world a better place. By creating a culture that values education, service, faith and commitment we can change the fate of Urban America without eroding its cultural character." —Chef John Besh, author of Cooking from the Heart

 

“Cowen offers the blueprint for revitalizing our nation’s urban centers with his experience as a leader through the recovery of The Crescent City after America’s costliest natural disaster.” —Scott Greenstein, President & Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM Radio

“Scott Cowen writes with obvious passion and personal knowledge."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-05
The outgoing president of Tulane University looks back on his role in the rebuilding of post-Katrina New Orleans.When Hurricane Katrina drowned the Crescent City in 2005, it appeared as if the once-great American metropolis might never recover. The deceased bodies of poor, mostly black citizens were left for days to decompose on muddy streets, and many of those who survived the floodwaters were later denied relief at gunpoint when they tried to flee. At the same time, members of the wealthy white elite were openly talking about suddenly having a clean slate to start rebuilding New Orleans to their liking. Into that context came the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, formed with Cowen as the quarterback charged with rebuilding the decimated school system and, by extension, the city. That any impoverished child in the forsaken town ever again sat down in the classroom to study is a remarkable achievement. However, the blueprint used for that success—with its emphasis on charter schools and high-stakes testing—was controversial at the time and remains so today. Cowen skates over the particulars while continually exalting his can-do leadership doctrine. He delivers some blame to embattled former mayor Ray Nagin and his famous “Chocolate City” speech for inciting early black suspicion of the reconstruction effort. Although Cowen later takes pains to outline New Orleans’ long and tragic history of racism and social re-engineering, he seems oblivious to how the poor, black citizens of New Orleans might perceive a meeting with a group of white bankers and real estate developers in which one of his pals was quoted as saying, “I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities.”More controversial and polarizing than the universal prescription for urban ills it yearns to be.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137464248
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 250,514
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Scott Cowen

Scott Cowen is president of Tulane University and was one of the key players in the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. His work has been widely covered by the media, including Fast Company Magazine, Newark-based The Star-Ledger, The New York Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also a guest panelist on the Sirius talk show “Doctor Radio.” TIME magazine has named President Cowen one of the nation’s Top 10 Best College Presidents and New Orleans CityBusiness called him one of the 30 “Driving Forces” in New Orleans in the last 30 years.
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Read an Excerpt


On its surface this is a book about leadership by a man who led his community through a crisis. But what it really is is the story of a love affair, between a man and the city he did so much to save. One day historians will realize how incredible it was that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans found its greatest leader in a university president. They will turn here to see how and why he did what he did.

 

—Michael Lewis

 

Our most famous fictional resident, Blanche DuBois observed that she depended on the kindness of strangers. The truth is in the time after Hurricane Katrina the fate of New Orleans was depending on the vision and competence of a guy that grew up in New Jersey. That person was Tulane President Dr. Scott Cowen. New Orleanians unanimously credit him as being the most significant individual in the resurrection and rebirth of our city. This book is a superb place to become educated on post-Katrina New Orleans.

—James Carville

 

"Scott Cowen takes us on his personal journey rebuilding and revitalizing his university and community after the worst natural disaster to ever hit a modern American city. His unflinching courage and deep compassion propel a narrative that is at once a leadership epic and an examination of the true meaning of service. Scott reminds us that while we mourn the losses inflicted on our beloved Gulf Coast, we must never let that be the end of the story -- we must write the next chapter."

—Lisa Jackson, VP, Apple Inc and former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency

 

In this beautifully written book, Cowan describes how New Orleans’ leaders, in partnership with its extraordinary and diverse community of citizens, drew on the history, culture, unbreakable spirit and unquestionable strength of this unique metropolis to reimagine new models of urban renewal and reawakening. The Inevitable City serves both to inspire and instruct all of us who know that while great storms are always possible, revitalization and rebirth are more often the result when men and women of courage and determination face the storm together.

            —Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, former president of Brown University

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