08-29-2005 Hurricane Katrina

Nine years ago on this date, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the southeast Louisiana coastline and irrevocably changed the lives of thousands of residents, myself included.  I won’t dwell on the specifics as they have been well-documented over the past years.

Since then, several documentaries and books have been made about the hurricane, specifically, the federal levees failure, the physical damage, the emotional effect on the residents, etc.  Nine years later, I still find it very hard to watch or read any of these as it just hits too close to home.  However, there are a couple of post-Katrina books that I cherish:

Spoiled – Tom Varisco

“Refrigerators of New Orleans go outside in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And they have things to say.”

Spoiled cover

After the flood waters receded and residents were allowed back into the city, many returned to homes that were severely damaged and/or without power. If you experience a power outage, you’ll know that the food will keep in your refrigerator for several hours. However, it will not last for several weeks. Refrigerators full of rotten food were the first to be thrown out. This book is simply a collection of photographs of those refrigerators, patiently waiting to be picked up and disposed. The messages written on them reflect the resilience, ingenuity, and sense of humor of the people of New Orleans.

1 Dead in Attic – Chris Rose

“New Orleans still unfolds itself to you in a sensual way.  That was always her seductive forte, but it is different after the storm.”

1 dead in atticThe collection of stories in this book comprise most of the columns that Chris Rose wrote for The Times-Picayune between August 29, 2005 and New Years Day, 2006. It tells the stories of those who evacuated, stayed, died, survived. Some are tragic. Some are even funny. Regardless, these first person narratives clearly give you an indication of what life was like in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Nine years later, this is still an emotional read for me; however, I am grateful that Chris Rose gave a voice to so many people who didn’t have one at that time.

 

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3 thoughts on “08-29-2005 Hurricane Katrina

  1. I enjoyed reading “Spoiled.” It was evidence in a book about how a city struck with disaster was just left to fend for herself. It has been a while since I have read it, but I just remember that my jaw dropped with disbelief. And I thought that it was brilliant that the author, Tom Varisco thought to record this. Something that we all look at so simply like a refrigerator is telling a huge story. Great post. I did not read “1 Dead in the Attic,” but I did watch Spike Lee’s “Requiem in Four Acts.” Such raw footage and such heartfelt and heartbroken stories. I was happy that when I returned three years ago, to see that the city was coming back. Gotta get back there again soon. I’m hungry :).

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    1. I still can’t watch the Spike Lee documentaries. There’s another one that’s about the animal rescues called “Mine” that I can’t watch either. I could barely get through 1 Dead in the Attic. Maybe one day I’ll get to that point where I won’t get so “verklempt” but I seriously doubt it.

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      1. I think it will always be hard for you and rightfully so because you are apart of New Orleans and New Orleans is apart of you. It’s like if the same thing had happened to Hilton Head. I am pretty sure I would not be able to read stories written or documentaries either. And it’s okay to be “verklempt.” That keeps us all from forgetting.

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