In the city of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina did only minimal damage.  The first news coming out of the
city, by way of WWL 8.70, the lone radio station still broadcasting, was that it looked as if the city had
once again dodged the bullet.  And, in point of fact, it had.  But, then, on the morning of August 29th,
the unthinkable happened, the ultimate horror of every citizen protected by a levee system.  
Floodwalls on five U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' levees collapsed:  the MS River Gulf Outlet, the
IntraCoastal waterway, the Industrial Canal, the London Avenue Canal (it, in turn, causing the Orleans
Canal levee to overtop), and the 17th Street Canal...creating the greatest engineering failure in the
history of America.  For my native city, nothing would ever be the same.
A clock on the mantel of a home in Lakeview shows
the time when the floodwalls of the 17th Street Canal
collapsed and inundated the neighborhood and a large
portion of the city with as much as 11 feet of water.
The images in this retrospective were collected in the months right after the levee failures in New
Orleans.  In those days, I was so overwhelmed with grief at what had happened to the city, I couldn't
imagine that there would ever be a time when I could work with them long enough to create
webpages.  But now, time has allowed me to reach a point where I have been able to do that.

When I thought I was saving them just as a record for my own family's future generations, my intention
was to save photos that had personal meaning to my family (our former neighborhood of Lakeview, for
example) or images that would convey--each in their own way--the story of the people of the city of
New Orleans, whose lives were forever and inexorably altered on Monday morning, August 29, 2005...

. . .
when time stood still.
I am proud of New Orleans.

Eighty per cent of the city of New Orleans lay underwater after the collapse of the floodwalls of the
levees.  Entire neighborhoods were decimated, including Gentilly, New Orleans East, the Upper and
Lower Ninth Ward, Bywater, Treme, Broadmoor, Mid-City, City Park, Carrollton and many others.  I
didn't concentrate on all of the affected neighborhoods when I collected these images for the
reasons outlined in my introduction above.  But all of  these neighborhoods were harmed irrevocably
and their residents affected beyond imagining.  My heart goes out to all of them as they continue to
re-build their lives, homes and businesses.  Very few people outside of what I've come to refer to as
"the zone" will ever know the true story of what has happened to the city of New Orleans since the
floodwalls failed.  And, regrettably, few people will ever know the inspiring stories of her residents.  
They have made and continue to make me proud to claim New Orleans as my native city.  I hope the
photographs in this retrospective will reveal a small part of their remarkable story.

The sources of these photographs:  I scanned photos from newspapers and magazines; I saved
photos from websites; I took hundreds of photos myself; I received hundreds of photos from friends
via e-mail and snail mail.  I regret that I didn't keep track of the credits because, at the time, I didn't
intend to use the images publicly.  I've tracked down as many original sources as I could and asked
and received permission to use the images, or, if permission was not granted, I've deleted those
images from the site.  If I find that any of the remaining photos are copyrighted, I'll seek permission to
use them or remove them.

This retrospective was assembled in July, 2007 by
Nancy Brister
~  ~  ~

I am indebted to Kevin M. Himel for allowing me to share several of his photographs on
these pages.  Mr. Himel was a volunteer with the New Orleans Police Department in the
days immediately after the levee failures and he was in a unique position to capture many
dramatic images of the city while it was still under water.   Nancy

~  ~  ~

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Hold the Corps of Engineers Accountable for the devastation of New Orleans
Visit LEVEES.ORG for information.