The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the release of the new book and exhibition “The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City,” featuring the haunting black-and-white images of New Orleans–based photographer David G. Spielman. His photographs, seventy-seven of which are featured in the exhibition, chronicle the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the arrested processes of rebuilding and recovery that persist in many neighborhoods.
David G. Spielman and his camera have canvassed the city since Katrina’s landfall, marking the passage of time through a slow decay of architecture and a rapid growth of plant life. His confrontation with his subjects is unflinching, and from his photographs emerge stories of neglect, renewal, and perseverance within an altered cityscape.
Also included in the exhibition are materials from the archives of the Unified New Orleans Plan (the official civic recovery plan) and photographs of damaged buildings that were ultimately demolished with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In contrast to Spielman’s images, many of which feature structures that still stand despite their damage, the FEMA photographs ask viewers to think about the number and types of structures that no longer exist.
The exhibition accompanies the publication of “The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City,” which contains 138 of Spielman’s photographs, along with essays by Spielman, exhibition curator and photography historian John H. Lawrence, and journalist and preservationist Jack Davis.
On Saturday, December 12, THNOC will host a talk, book signing and exhibition viewing with Mr. Spielman, beginning at 4pm.
“Central City, 2012”; ©David G. Spielman; from “The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City” (The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2015)