In August 2005, one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States, Hurricane Katrina, struck News Orleans leaving at least 1,800 people dead and over 80% of the city underwater. This devastating natural disaster affected the lives of thousands who had to flee the city, lose their jobs and loose part, if the whole, of their homes.
The government, under the Bush administration, did not react to this crisis effectively, according to many news agencies. A lot of anger towards the government was expressed through signs on the streets and graffiti on the walls next to fully destroyed houses.
Five years after the disaster, my partner, Amit Chowdhury, and myself realized that the issue revolving the government has been covered quit a bit in the media but found a lack of stories discussed about New Orlean’s culture that has been affected by the hurricane.
For our summer field reporting course to New Orleans, Amit and I took the opportunity to reveal what has been sidetracked from, the arts and culture of New Orleans.
Since New Orleans is one of the greatest sources of the United State’s art and home to Jazz, Creole and crawfish, it was easy to find people who were willing to talk about their experiences.
When asked the question, “Now, five years since the disaster, what has happened to the arts and cultures of New Orleans? What has changed? What hasn’t?”, we got a fair 50-50 split of opinions. Some said that only through Hurricane Katrina did the people notice the importance of the art and culture and therefore it prospered. Other said that Hurricane Katrina caused people to leave and thereafter the culture to disappear.
Watch the short documentary, The Muse of New Orleans, to get a better sense of what has happened to the arts and culture of New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina.