The photographs accompanying this blog were taken in 2006 in Bay Saint Louis, MS, ground zero for Hurricane Katrina and are part of my Photojournalism Collection on KeppenArt.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast the insurance industry blamed almost all damage on the storm surge knowing that would release them from their responsibility to pay wind and homeowner claims. Residents, engineers and scientists know for a fact that there was an enormous amount of wind damage before any water flooded the coast. Two groups of people were very angry about the actions of the insurance industry.
Residents were angry that they had paid high premiums to be covered for wind damage but were not being paid for that damage. Taxpayers were angry that the National Flood Insurance Program was having to pay for flood damage even though quite a bit of that damage was caused by wind. It appeared as though everyone lost out except for the insurance industry who made millions of dollars of profit even after paying a small percentage of Hurricane Katrina claims.
The image above contains a few of the signs that residents made out of scrap wood found in the debris fields. These signs were posted in front of travel trailers that were being lived in or placed where homes once stood.
I was inspired to create this image because I knew how that anger felt.
The signs in the image Righteous Anger were approximately one mile from our property. We were called “slabbers” as Hurricane Katrina had left us with only the slabs where our houses had been. The photographs were taken seven months after Katrina’s almost total destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Living in a travel trailer with only my legs and a tricycle for transportation, I spent many hours walking and riding around my neighborhood and community, picking up necessary items from the PODs (Points of Distribution) and documenting what I was seeing with my camera.
As I learned the true meaning of Life Is A Matter Of Perspective after Katrina I also learned about Righteous Anger. There are many lessons to be learned during and after natural disasters, just as there are in ordinary, everyday living.