On August 29, 2005, the American state of Louisiana was hit by Katrina, one of the most powerful hurricanes in the history of the United States. The hurricane came ashore at Biloxi, but caused the most damage in the nearby city of New Orleans, most of which was flooded as the result of breaks in the dikes protecting it. Because there was no electricity and the water appeared to be polluted, the residents were ordered to evacuate the city. More than 1300 people would die in the disaster, and several thousand victims are still missing today.
Thomas Dworzak (Germany), Stanley Greene (US), Kadir van Lohuizen (Netherlands) and Paolo Pellegrin (Italy) visited New Orleans and Biloxi in the months after the disaster. They came to the conclusion that it was not Katrina which had caused the most damage, but the failures of the American government. Money that had been allocated for strengthening the dikes has been diverted for the war in Iraq. Aid for the region, which to a large extent was populated by poor blacks, was exasperatingly slow in arriving. 'Had Katrina hit New York, it would never have been like that,' says Kadir van Lohuizen.
New Orleans is still a scene of devastation, and bodies are still being recovered. Of the half-million residents only 60,000, overwhelmingly black, have returned. 'The largest part of the black population are not welcome any more,' explains Van Lohuizen. 'It is clear that project developers have their eye on the ground where their homes stood. One could call it ethnic cleansing.'
Presentation new magazine
The photos from the exhibition are published in the new magazine The Issue. At the opening of the exhibition the first issue will be presented (isbn 90-5330-505-X, 15,00 euro). The large format magazine was initiated by Mets & Schilt publishers and will appear irregularly worldwide.