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Two months ago, we hatched a crazy idea around the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Instead of a simple before-and-after photo gallery, what if we asked our CNN iReport community to help us tell the story in a creative and innovative way?
Taking a page from Flickr's Looking into the Past group, we decided to show how much – or little – has changed in the areas affected by Katrina by taking photographs from 2005, returning to the locations where they were taken, and shooting new photos today. What makes these pictures special is that the photographer lines up the old photo with the present-day view, linking the past and present in one frame.
Shooting these photos wasn't only tough to do; it also required a group of iReporters who were willing to put in time and effort to track down these original locations. But we crossed our fingers and launched the project in late July and, since then, watched with awe as dozens of photos came in across the New Orleans area.
Lauren DiMaggio sent photos from the broken levees, which are now fixed and fenced in. Eileen Romero visited her old residence from five years ago. And Conrad Wyre III took us on a photography tour of Hollygrove, where some shops never reopened in Katrina's wake.
Hearing the stories behind these photographs is what made this project really special. Hurricane Katrina affected all the iReporters who took part in this project and they each had important tales to tell. It was immediately evident that, five years later, Katrina's impact on the residents of the Gulf Coast is still substantial.
The final result of this project – featuring the past-meets-present photos and the stories behind each shot – is stunning. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
So, now's the time to give a HUGE round of thanks to all of the iReporters who were part of this project. You wowed and inspired us. We also appreciate those of you who helped to track down the locations of the CNN photographs from 2005. We couldn't have done it without you!
Be sure to check out this compelling video that gives a closer look at this project and features many of the iReporters who participated. They’re pretty incredible folks.
my name is johnnie mae i am a katrina lost one y 4 grandkida there mom is on drugs in 2005 i lost my car my boat which was the way we put food on the table then we put money on land so we could build a home now no onecan tell us nothing i have had 3 heartattacts icant get money vegas say they are my grandkids i get ssi so i cant get no money i want to go back home we was down there when the oil spil come we went fishing everday to eat and put food on the table robert would sell fish all over in slidell and miss bp sa we need tax paper we sold fish out of our car obama wife get on tv and ask for help for hati she dont say nothing about katrinacan some one please help me and my family please help
I absolutely loved this story - you guys did an incredible job! I hope all is well at the iReport fortress!
Thank you for your coverage of New Orleans and Katrina, both then and now. We need to be reminded of what happened and what could still happen to such a great city. More importantly, thank you for continuing to provide us with a true, balanced face of all of New Orleans.
Regarding one of your stories wherein you interviewed Mayor Mitch Landrieu. You really need to be from New Orleans to understand that in many, many instances, race takes a back seat to who the person is, who his or her family may be and their historical connection to the people of New Orleans. New Orleans and its people are about relationships and about relationships that have developed over time, sometimes generations. Mitch Landrieu is not viewed as the White mayor, but as the Mayor, a person that we know and we know puts New Orleans and its people, all of its people, first. We know that he comes from a family who is about honor,committment, dedication, and passion about New Orleans and its place in Louisiana, this nation and the world.
Everything in New Orleans is not about race. This nation which is becoming more obviously racially polarized needs to know this. New Orleans has never been a Black city or a White city. It has been and is a city that always figured out a way to get along and move on, cultivating relationships across all lines to move forward. This is what New Orleans and its people will continue to do. If New Orleans continues to hold on to the value of its relationships,its principles, and belief system about people,New Orleans will succeed and be an even better city.
Thanks for allowing me to comment.
God bless New Orleans!Project humane,hope everything well there.
Time flies by so fast in life. To think this disaster happened 5 years ago and to try and understand how much it hurt the people and the economy is simply just crazy!