The Wall

9Ward-4 copy
The new levee designed to protect the Lower Ninth Ward

This picture may just seem like a bunch of lines and sky. But, it’s far more important than that. For those of you who watched Hurricane Katrina destroy The Lower Ninth Ward as well as about 80% of New Orleans, you know that it was not the hurricane itself that did the job. It was the failure of the levees. There were over 50 breaches, including two major breaches along the Industrial Canal which turned The Lower Ninth Ward into a wasteland of water, mud, broken homes, twisted trees and overturned cars and trucks. Yes. There were also many people who died there, making most of The Lower Ninth Ward sacred ground. It is also important to know that the levees did not overtop. They were breached mostly due to poor design and shoddy maintenance. In fact, the levee protecting The Lower Ninth Ward had a hole blown through it that was a quarter of a mile wide. Even a barge managed to float through that giant hole. Many local people call this The Federal Flood because of those failures.

The levee you are looking at is the new Industrial Canal levee. It is armored. It is sunk deeper into the ground. And, it held fast for the last hurricane, which was last summer’s Isaac. With luck, we won’t see a storm with Katrina’s strength and potential for significant damage for many years to come. With even more luck, this levee and all the new levees around the city will hold.

The picture. It’s sort of hard to made such a simple picture, so I worked the picture a little more than normal in post production. Hopefully, it worked. Sorta. Funny about that simplicity thing. The older I get, the more I try to work towards simplicity. But, it isn’t easy.


  1. Hi Ray,
    I think this image represents both hope & sadness.
    Don’t you think it seems like an oxymoron to work harder for simplicity 🙂 (so true though)
    Here’s to holding……


  2. Thank you. No. The older I get, the more I realize how hard it is to find simplicity. After all, Zen believers study and work all their lives for simplicity. Rarely do they find it. My very best pictures are simple things. I have few very best pictures.


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