Today marks four years since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf region with a fury.
Four years ago, the levees broke.
Four years ago, ten of thousands of people had their homes and lives utterly shattered and permanently altered.
Four years ago, the illusion of federal caring about, and competence in responding to, the needs of the some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens was undeniably exposed.
The hurricane and its destructive aftermath have generated a host of books, films and even songs.
New Orleans Times-Picayune editor Jed Horne’s Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City is a panoptic and accessible account of Katrina and the devastation it left it ins considerable wake.
Harold Platt’s Shock Cities has a hauntingly prescient chapter in which he describes both the placement of the poor residents of Manchester, England in harm’s way during the nineteenth century as well as the repeated ignoring of warnings about the negative and predictable consequences that would ensue were the levees not given adequate support.
I wrote about Platt’s work earlier this year.
Dart Society Vice-President and friend Mike Walter has put together a moving documentary film, Breaking News, Breaking Down, about the impact on reporters and photographers of covering the story for weeks and moths.
The film focuses on photographer John McCusker, who suffered a mental breakdown and ended up getting arrested for a confrontation he had with police during his altered state.
The firsthand footage of the hurricane as it was happening can make the viewer feel dizzy, but the story of Kim Roberts and her husband Scott’s journey before, during and after Katrina provides an intimate look at the love so many New Orleanians had for their community and the impact the hurricane had on them.