National Geographic : 2015 Aug
122 PROOF A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL | proof.nationalgeographic.com Portraits of Katrina On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States Gulf Coast and became one of the most devastating storms in the country’s history. Failed levees in New Orleans, along with poor preparation and a slow governmental response, would have repercussions for years to come. The city became a focus of human tragedy and tri- umph that riveted the world. To mark Katrina’s ten-year an- niversary, we selected photographs that tell a story of resilience—from views of destruction made soon after the storm to present-day portraits showing the vitality of the Mardi Gras Indian and second- line parades. The photographers who made these images show us loss, renewal, and survival. They remind us that New Orleans, iconic as ever, is still thriving in a precari- ous landscape. — Jessie Wender Robert Polidori September 2005 Two weeks after the levees collapsed, New Orleans was deserted. While photographing each dwelling, I could imagine its residents. The pictures I took show traces of interrupted and discarded lives. Most of the people didn’t die but became refugees in their own country and from their own lives. They had to move on, either living someplace else or perhaps later com- ing back, but the life they used to live, surrounded by their objects of personal value, was gone forever.