Color, Laskowitzpictures.com, Photography, Pictures, Ray Laskowitz
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Inside


Empty church.

Empty church.

Yesterday was August 28th. It was exactly ten years ago that we evacuated the city.

Today, I will photograph the last of my ten-year anniversary pictures. There will be a massive Hurricane Katrina memorial second line parade that will start at Jourdan and North Galvez Streets at the levee. It will wind through the 9th Ward and arrive at Hunter’s Field some time later. It seems like everybody is coming out for it. The main brass band is Rebirth. They retired from the street a year or so ago. Kermit Ruffins is coming out. Even though he works here, he lives in Houston. Texas. There will be all sorts of healing events along the way. It’s either photograph this, or go listen to former president Bill Clinton speak about something. What would you pick? Heh, heh, heh.

As you know, this and today’s second line pictures close my Hurricane Karina work. I hope never to photograph another storm anniversary again. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop photographing New Orleans. There too many stories to tell. And, not enough days to tell them. But, as I’ve written in the past, ten years is long enough. You can only reflect and mourn for so long. It is, in the words of Leah Chase, “Time to pull up your pants and get to work.”

The Pictures. I thought that I would close my Katrina coverage with something peaceful. This is St. Maurice Church, located in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. It was built in 1857 and consecrated in 1862. During the Civil War. Even though the Archdiocese of New Orleans deconsecrated and may have even sold it (It was for sale in 2013), it seems to have risen from the flood waters as a sort of community center. The doors were open for the first time since I’ve been exploring the neighborhood. So, I went inside. I’m not going to caption each picture. You can see for yourself. The pictures don’t take much explaining.

Except.

Look at the first thumbnail on the left. That’s in a back room of what may have been the rectory. Yes. Lots of water logged computers. That’s not the most important piece of the picture. That horizontal line is. That’s the water line. Everything below it, including the church itself, was flooded to that level.

There you have it. Waterworld Rising.

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10 Comments

  1. Seeing the pictures and hearing about it from you (and not the media) has pretty put a new perspective on this for me. I mean I knew how bad it was. Since I was not there, I know I cannot even begin to imagine, but I think that so many of us take things for granted and the media never puts things in the right light. 10 years may be long enough, but I thank you for sharing this moment.

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  2. I feel absolutely honored to have seen New Orleans through your eyes, your words, and your lens. Thank you for sharing what must have been heart-wrenching.

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    • You are very welcome. Tomorrow, you can see the largest second line ever, walked in honor of Katrina survivors and those who didn’t make it. Doing this two week project was very good for me. 🙂

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  3. Being a newbee here, do you live in or near New Orleans? A sense of sadness looking at this beautiful place that once thrived. You selected the best pic for the opener … awesome!

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    • I live in the Garden District of New Orleans. Pre-Katrina, I lived in the 7th Ward in what was an old Creole neighborhood. A big part of my earlier career was working as a picture editor for newspapers and wire services.

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      • Thanks … and I also hope you never see another storm like that or even close. I saw a report today about the recent increase in population. … but I also realize there is still much to do.

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      • Certainly. It was no fun living through it. We evacuated the day before. We should have left earlier. Population is up, but still below pre-storm levels. Unfortunately, the people moving here are driving housing prices way up as they gentrify their way through what were poorer, but culturally-driven neighborhoods.

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