January 3, 2014

Fork found in the Lower Ninth Ward 4 years after Katrina.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have written previously about my trips to New Orleans, LA that occurred three and four years after Hurricane Katrina.  This fork is from the Lower Ninth Ward and was found during the second trip in December 2008, and I think about it, and those trips, often.

Symbolic Interactionism is a sociological theory that basically says we use symbols for communication-a symbol is anything that stands for something else.  What strikes me about this fork are the remaining tines.  It is as if the fork, at least when oriented this way, is “giving the finger” or “flipping the bird”, which is a not terribly nice gesture to make.  In our culture, when one does this, the meaning is quite clear.  Cut someone off in traffic and you might get to see it.

However, as a symbol, I always thought this fork represented the general feelings many folks in New Orleans had for FEMA in the aftermath of the storm.  I do not want to summarize those events as there simply is not enough space in the posts I like to do.  Instead, I would recommend reading The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Douglas Brinkley as it is an excellent depiction of the history and events of that storm.  Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink is on many of the “best of” lists for 2013 and is also highly recommended.  One could also watch Spike Lee’s documentary “When the Levees Broke”.

Here’s hoping there are few chances to use or receive this gesture in 2014.

Take care.

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