Archives and Disaster Relief Fund

One never knows how life is going to turn out or what lies ahead.  For me, Hurricane Katrina (2005) was the disaster of all disasters for New Orleans and the surrounding region, the people, churches, museums, archives, businesses, etc.  That storm changed lives in many ways.  Response took weeks.  Weeks rolled into months.  Recovery took even longer, closer to a decade for residents to feel that New Orleans was back on her feet, sturdy and ready to handle whatever comes next.  My journey into ICA started because of my efforts responding to the devastation and doing archival recovery work. In 2008, ICA invited me to attend the Congress in Kuala Lumpar to give two presentations about the disaster response and recovery, and the lessons learned.  Fast-forward 10 years, and I am now the chair of the ICA’s Expert Group on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness (EMDP).  Since its establishment in 2015, EMDP has responded to calls for advice following disasters and conducted workshops for archivists in Mexico, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, Cameroon and South Korea.  This important work has led to the establishment ICA’s Disaster Fund which will provide small grant monies to repositories following disasters,  advice and assistance, and when possible, deploy a team of archival experts to affected areas.  This is such rewarding work, and it has enriched my life as an archivist and humanitarian one-hundred fold.  If you would like to be involved in the expert group or make a donation to the fund, please visit

Many thanks,

By Emilie Gagnet Leumas, PhD, CA, CRM – Archivist Archdiocese of New Orleans