I was walking through the St-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in Paris in September 2005 when I saw the front page of Le Monde on a newsstand. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina that hit the US Gulf Coast a few days earlier was the top story all over the world. Now three and a half years later I was standing in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans that had been on Le Monde’s front page. And very little had changed since then.
The water had receded. But so had the relief. A great vacuum of leadership. Ravaged communities scattered up and down the coast. Lives uprooted forever.
There seemed to be a paralysis of reconstruction. Will the still inadequate levees hold if we rebuild? Should we bother to rebuild the levees if no one lives there?
Other international cities like Amsterdam and Venice seem to have learned to tame the water. Why can’t we? Is it really that easy to forget the poor, the less fortunate, the elderly?
I wanted to visit the forgotten Lower Ninth with my camera. I photographed street after street of abandoned homes. Abandoned lives. I wanted to remember the promises made. And ask why this community still remains frozen in time. The question echoes without a proper answer.
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