August 2015

August 14, 2015

New Orleans 9th Ward bedroom post Hurricane Katrina

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

We have just passed the 70th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  John Hersey’s Hiroshima is a useful, classic, read.  Susan Southard’s Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War is available, although I have not as yet read it.  The debate over the efficacy of using those weapons continues as issues related to nuclear power and nuclear weaponry dominate current news.  Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s story is both poignant and compelling as it straddles these eras.

Destroyed kitchen in Lower 9 house

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

We are also coming up on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina-this post is not a comparison between that storm and the aforementioned bombings.  There is no argument to be made that both man and nature are capable of unleashing incredibly destructive forces.  It is the former, though, that has the capacity for rationale thought.

Hat outside Lower 9 house

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The photographs in this post were all made in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans during my trips there in 2008.  It is worth remembering that Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005.  These were made in January and December, 2008.

Car beside Lower 9 house

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There has been many other storms, the 1900 hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas is an important example, but few have had the impact on the national conscience as has Katrina.

Abandoned house and overgrown gasses

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

One could certainly argue that the changes in technology and media coverage have played a major part in this impact as there was no Internet or 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year news coverage in 1900.

Closeup of broken plate lying in street NOLA

Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That global media coverage was there as Katrina fully exposed the racial, socioeconomic, and political conditions that exist in the U.S.  Michael Eric Dyson’s Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster, Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke, and Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast are all important sources to understand these historical and cultural factors.  I am awaiting Gary Rivlin’s Katrina: After the Flood.

NOLA House and Computer Sign

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Lower 9 Tourist Sign

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Destroyed sign in Lower 9 Ward three years after Katrina.

Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Earlier this month, The New York Times published “Is New Orleans Safe?” and this is worth a read as it updates the story and also looks back at the storm. It is also a very interesting counterpart to this National Geographic article that appeared in 2007.

Lower 9th Ward Roots Run Deep sign

(C) Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Roots do indeed run deep-those roots are the culture of a community, city, and/or country.  Embedded in culture are memories and the subsequent belief and value systems that arise from historical and current events and serve to shape the present and future.  The issues of race, wealth, and politics continue to dominate the news.  A key issue is what we do with that capacity for rational thinking.

It is important to remember.

And with regard to that, it is also vital to remember that memories are subject to a great many forces, trauma being a major factor-certainly for the issues described in this post, and the processes of consolidation and reconsolidation often make recall a highly subjective and fleeting experience.  Therefore, it is important (mandatory?) to access additional resources that allow for the movement from a purely subjective perspective to a larger, more objective analysis of an issue.  (This is one reason why there are so many links in this particular post.) That is, we need to add critical thinking to the process of rational thinking so as to not continue to see history repeating itself.

Take care.

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