Sunday, December 19, 2010

Katrina at the O

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans (the O) is presenting an exhibition titled: "One Block: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds" by Dave Anderson.
One more exhibition about Katrina and its aftermaths, really? I saw some photographs on the website and decided to go anyway...I am glad I did.

The photographs are centered around one block of the lower 9th Ward in New Orleans and its rebuilding after the hurricane.
The subjects are people I meet in New Orleans daily, confronted with their worst fear: loosing their homes, which is more than walls, it is their history, their only refuge and legacy, a home.
The photographer is catching them in their despair, but knows also how to bring humor like in "Mystery Chicken", a pair of chicken parading in the street totally out of context, or "James on a Ladder", the prank pic we would do of a member of the family to laugh at during a later reunion.

Augustine and Stacy on each side of the fence one white, one black, and so close, united in the same story, the same tragedy.
Then, a lighter note, the child playing in the grass, oblivious.
"Maxine Blue" or "Maxine at Dusk", Maxine devastated, still alive , already gone.

The new houses appear bright, so defiant , better than before, but empty. Where are the scratches done over the years, where are the souvenirs, A lifetime has been cleaned and there is no going back. It is poignant, life will never be the same.

The photographer in this sobering exhibition catches a resume of countless lives.

photographs by the author

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