New Orleans

“We drive through the Lower Ninth Ward and stare at empty apocalyptic neighborhoods, deserted homes with brown water marks like grim tattoos, bitter graffiti with messages like: Fix Everything My Ass.”

Rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina took guts. In May 2006, when I worked in the Lower Ninth Ward, only a small number of homeowners had returned. One home would buzz with workers and hammers and saws while the rest of the street sat silent. Strip malls were desolate, businesses closed. The situation has improved—in February 2012, FEMA removed the last of its trailers, the temporary homes that sat in so many yards and driveways—but Rebuilding Together, the organization I volunteered with, continues to work on over 30 projects.


These photos were taken in the Lower Ninth Ward in May 2006; the first eight were shot by my friend Amy Greber. The last one shows a condemned home in Gentilly, which was devastated by the breached London Avenue Canal.