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