Skip

Hurricane Katrina, five years later
August 25, 2010 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Katrina: Then and Now. Comparing scenes of devastation after Hurricane Katrina struck 5 years ago and what they look like now.
posted by nomadicink (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am so tired of this and I live in New Orleans.
posted by govtdrone at 12:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This would be priceless if it remained the only comment... ah- oops.
posted by LD Feral at 12:33 PM on August 25, 2010


govtdrone:

You ever feel like people from outside of the city have made the storm "theirs" more than it is "yours"?
posted by The Giant Squid at 12:33 PM on August 25, 2010


This would have been more interesting if the "then" wasn't mostly blocking the "now". I get that they were trying to be artsy, but....the art is obscuring the content.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:35 PM on August 25, 2010 [22 favorites]


govtdrone:

You ever feel like people from outside of the city have made the storm "theirs" more than it is "yours"?


Lord yes. I understand some people that were affected might want to share, rehash, relive, etc. what happened but there are a lot more who want to just move on. New Orleans is more than Hurricane Katrina.
posted by govtdrone at 12:38 PM on August 25, 2010


Move those old photos out of the way!
posted by ReeMonster at 12:39 PM on August 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Lord yes. I understand some people that were affected might want to share, rehash, relive, etc. what happened but there are a lot more who want to just move on. New Orleans is more than Hurricane Katrina.

You do realize that a lot of these were made by people living in the region, right?
posted by nomadicink at 12:40 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Picture #25, with the Claiborne and Pauline street signs, is from the upper 9th ward, not the lower 9th. That church was a temporary base for Common Ground Relief's distribution center and volunteer housing.
posted by ChrisHartley at 12:43 PM on August 25, 2010


You do realize that a lot of these were made by people living in the region, right?

And?
posted by govtdrone at 12:44 PM on August 25, 2010


nomadicink:

It's not so much that, but rather the number of people from outside of New Orleans (and the Mississippi Gulf Coast) who seemingly obsess over the storm.

I've met Oregonians, Vermonters, Pennsylvanians, and Englishmen, who, shortly after the storm, saw New Orleans as their second home, and saw Katrina as 'their tragedy too'.

I can only imagine how New Yorkers must feel about Texans and Nevadans engaging in the Park51 protests.

Full Disclosure: I'm not from NOLA, but a few miles upriver.
posted by The Giant Squid at 12:44 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I would love to compare scenes of five years ago with today! Unfortunately this is just a bunch of pictures of people's hands.
posted by echo target at 1:04 PM on August 25, 2010


This is becoming quite the popular perspective. Torontoist recently covered a local photographer doing historical before-and-afters using hand-held prints. They're not New Orleans-related, I'm afraid, but I daresay they're far more carefully prepared.

Careful, though... there's a self-link in the comments section of that link. Gasp!
posted by tapesonthefloor at 1:10 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


TGS

Thats EXACTLY how I feel about 9/11! I've barely ever expressed that view because I thought it was unique and somehow showed I was a broken human...
posted by sfts2 at 1:11 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You ever feel like people from outside of the city have made the storm "theirs" more than it is "yours"?

If only they had also decided to share in the recovery effort. I left NOLA the day before the hurricane, and the further I got from the city, the less sympathy there was.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:11 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heckuva job Brownie.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:14 PM on August 25, 2010


It's not the storm we obsess about, govtdrone, nor is it really New Orleans itself, but rather our collective abject failure in dealing with the problem. We're focused on the ensuing consequences, and that issue is owned completely by the collective United States.

Unless, of course, you'd prefer if we just let cities drown and then promptly forgot about them. We could do that... in many ways, it seems like we're trying.
posted by Malor at 1:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lord yes. I understand some people that were affected might want to share, rehash, relive, etc. what happened but there are a lot more who want to just move on. New Orleans is more than Hurricane Katrina.
posted by govtdrone at 12:38 PM on August 25 [+] [!]


I'm getting the idea for a TV show. I think I'll pitch it to HBO.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:33 PM on August 25, 2010


I'm surprised that the pictures of damage don't look nearly as bad as Hurricane Ike.
posted by Malice at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2010


The hope and despair in the quotes below the photos maps depressingly to race. As a society, we're failing most of our citizens terribly.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:45 PM on August 25, 2010


What's the point if the "today" is blocked by the "then"?
posted by amro at 1:47 PM on August 25, 2010


I think that's kind of the point amro. What happened then matters today.
posted by nomadicink at 1:49 PM on August 25, 2010



Unless, of course, you'd prefer if we just let cities drown and then promptly forgot about them. We could do that... in many ways, it seems like we're trying.
posted by Malor at 4:28 PM on August 25


I get what you're saying but for people who went through it, who were back in the city before everyone else when soldiers were walking around the destruction, dead animals, stripped cars, kicked-in doors and so forth it's basically like revisiting a rape, in pictures, over and over again.

Some of us just want to forget.
posted by four panels at 1:56 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I look at those pictures and all I can think is, "Yeah, that's outside."

I drive through areas every day that are indistinguishable from pre-K, and in the next block are houses (both inhabited and un-) with the search-and-rescue spraypaint still on. I can go eat at restaurants that rival those of NYC and London, or I can leave the front door of my workplace to stare at a shopping center that takes up an entire city block and still has zero signs of recovery, because some greedy developer bought it before the market went to shit and is now letting it fester.

It's hard to get excited about the "5 Years Now" articles because ... I don't know. In part because of my first statement: "Yeah, that's outside." I don't need the Times-Picayune to remind me what my neighborhood looks like. I have to remind myself that I am not the target audience.

They're difficult in a different way because I suffer some Katrina guilt. I had plans to leave this place and never move back, and then the storm came. I left on Saturday, watched the TV on Monday to see my city get flooded, and then I made a move across the country. I never came back to get my stuff because, well, it had been underwater.

The move didn't stick, though, and I ended up back here - but sometimes I feel like a cheat. I wasn't here for the recovery, I just showed up afterward. I realize that New Orleans is proud to have any of us evacuees come back, but I still can't shake the feeling that I did the wrong thing.

So for me the "God, remember the destruction?" stories and pictures are painful, because I feel like I failed this city that I later came to recognize that I love. Oh well. I can't change the past - if I could, I'd have quite a list of things to do differently, and not abandoning NOLA wouldn't be at the top of the list. Close, but not the top.

I appreciate the articles, though, because I think a lot of the country still doesn't grasp how the storm itself didn't do this to New Orleans, the government did. People can't envision the scope of the destruction. During the Nashville flood there were people saying, "Yeah, we pulled ourselves back up, didn't need government assistance. We're a real community here, people came from all over to help" and I want to shake those people. I love Tennessee; I grew up near Nashville. I love the people and I don't want them to have suffered - but to compare what happened there to what happened here? Both in scope and timeframe? It's hard to listen to without being angry.

So the more articles I can get that might help people comprehend what happened here - and get attention that hopefully will prevent it from happening again - the better.

Sorry this is disjointed. It's been five years now (in case you haven't heard) and I still don't have all my feelings sorted out.
posted by komara at 2:17 PM on August 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


I too was disappointed that the "now" was pretty much all covered up with the "then". I don't understand the point of this project given that there is very little comparison possible.
posted by Kimberly at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2010


four panels: Thank you, thank you, thank you for articulating exactly what I was thinking.
posted by govtdrone at 2:44 PM on August 25, 2010


There are times I want to forget about Katrina, like when I think of what used to be here and isn't anymore. This montage does nothing for me or those places.
posted by winks007 at 3:15 PM on August 25, 2010


i have no heartburn with the anniversary, although it's quite possible i live under a rock because i don't feel like i've been inundated with it. this cnn article, for instance: i clicked on a couple of the pics & said, 'yeah, yeah, whatever.' didn't feel any kind of anger or sadness or remorse welling up in me. katrina was what it was. i said it then & i'll say it again: makes for good cocktail party conversation when i'm in a room full of people i don't know.

i'm also happy to see that maybe for a change people are looking at the recovery--not the process of cleaning up, but the actual recovery--instead of at 'those poor, poor people who can't seem to do anything without an invasion of do-gooders and a pipeline of federal dollars.' that, to me, is the really tiresome thing.
posted by msconduct at 3:51 PM on August 25, 2010


I sort of agree about the older photos blocking the new view not really being terribly helpful. I'd have really liked to see what the original photo showed and is now covering.

I've done something similar (decay of a fallen tree over months), but I only used the old photo to line up my shot and then got my hand and the photo out of the way.
posted by Orb at 6:37 PM on August 25, 2010


It's not so much that, but rather the number of people from outside of New Orleans (and the Mississippi Gulf Coast) who seemingly obsess over the storm.

I've met Oregonians, Vermonters, Pennsylvanians, and Englishmen, who, shortly after the storm, saw New Orleans as their second home, and saw Katrina as 'their tragedy too'.

I can only imagine how New Yorkers must feel about Texans and Nevadans engaging in the Park51 protests.


Try "how New Yorkers must feel about 9/11 in general." I've felt about 9/11 what govtdrone feels about Katrina. I've actually suspected that the only people who would really ever get how I felt about 9/11 -- the way that people outside "obsess" over it who didn't live here -- are people from New Orleans and the Gulf, who lived through Katrina.

It took me YEARS to accept that this isn't because of any willful maliciousness on anyone's part -- just that there is a fundamental cognitive difference between living through a major national event that you only witness on television, and living through a major national event that you witness IN PERSON. Neither is better, and it's not like the people who don't live in an area don't deserve to have a reaction, but...there is a different quality to the reaction. When it happens to your hometown, and you have sensory input that you don't get on television (I could tell you about the smoke smell that I had in my nostrils for a MONTH after, and I'm sure govtdrone has similar stories about that swampy, rotting-vegetation smell I can only imagine may have been in the Gulf), there's more of an...intimacy to the event that sets you apart from the way everyone else relates to it.

And it feels profoundly weird to have other people sharing their reactions with you, because they're reacting to an event so different from the way you perceived it, it's like they're talking about something else entirely. But they don't know that. I once came up with an analogy for my parents: say your cousin was killed in this accident that got some national attention, attention to the point that people outside your family started sending messages of support. At first, it'd be touching. But then imagine that the outsiders and strangers kept chiming in, and then they started talking to each other, and leaning on each other for support, and then taking over and setting up memorials to your cousin -- but the only thing any of them knew about your cousin was how he died. So in their memorials, they aren't paying any attention whatsoever to the things YOU knew about your cousin and the way he was when he was alive. And then they start projecting things ONTO your cousin's memory -- speculating what he would and would not have thought about something or other -- and often, in your opinion, getting it totally wrong.

But if you try to speak up, there are just too many of them, and more often than not you get outvoted. And so - your cousin's funeral and legacy is being taken over and rewritten by total strangers who didn't know him, and you, someone who DID know him, is being ignored and you are made to feel that your input is unwelcome, and that your family relationship TO him is being discredited because it doesn't match up with a preconceived idea everyone else came up with.

I have a hunch that more than a few people in New Orleans are in the "what are you talking about? My cousin never listened to Amy Grant, are you kidding me?" phase right now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've to really like this sort things, the contrasting of different times to a specific place.. These are, to me, especially touching, because there's a clear, obvious attempt by a human to look into the past. While others are annoyed by the appearance of the old photos within the new photos, I can't help by drawn to it, almost like a visual representation of recalling a memory. Especially picture #20 or the if you click on the map, it's the solitary scene in the Upper Ward.

It's the school across from my grandparents, I'm pretty sure and Google Street view seems to verify it. It's starting to see that field identified with Katrina, with something horrible. Even as the project looks back 5 years at that spot, I'm looking back 35 years, where I played tag and kickball with cousins and friends. My grandfather, a retired salesman, would be sitting on the porch, watching the world guy, his eyes missing nothing.

I'm glad many have moved on from Katrina, but I'm also grateful for this look back, both at the aftermath and my own personal memories of a place, a city that was and is more than just a single tragic event.
posted by nomadicink at 7:03 PM on August 25, 2010


komara, speaking as someone who did move out and mostly never looked back (well, not really), thank you for articulating my continuing confused emotions.

#20 was my neighborhood for a brief time. (I was a few blocks up, on Constantinople.) All of the pictures feel like they're from another universe, but #20 feels impossibly more distant.
posted by suckerpunch at 7:16 PM on August 25, 2010


Hey, suckerpunch, you're totally welcome. I wish I could better articulate what's on my mind.
posted by komara at 9:12 PM on August 25, 2010


It's kind of a weird photoessay.

One of the photos (military personnel outside the Convention Center) compared September 2005 with October 2010.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:36 PM on August 25, 2010


I just can't believe it's been 5 years.
posted by functionequalsform at 10:12 AM on August 26, 2010


As an example of news burnout, I opened my feed reader this morning and had 33 articles from the Times-Picayune waiting for me. Out of those 33, a whopping 17 referenced Katrina either in the title or the first sentence. I can't wait for September.
posted by komara at 6:51 AM on August 27, 2010


« Older Hey! Listen!   |   Hoverboards sold separately Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post