A few weeks ago, I posted about work I was doing with Neighborworks America as part of the Comeback Communities Summit here in New Orleans June 18th and 19th. (You can find those posts here and here.) The summit was a success, gathering people from all over the country who dedicate their lives to helping communities recover after disasters. Now that it has ended, I can share with you the project I worked on for Neighborworks. I feel passionately about this project, having photographed some incredible people who may or may not be aware of just how special they are.
Storycorps (storycorps.org) partnered with Neighborworks America to find individuals in New Orleans and the Gulf South region who had an impact on the recovery efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. With the tenth anniversary of the storm approaching (August 29th), it is even more important that the stories of these extraordinary people be heard. My assignment was to listen to their interviews and then tell their stories visually with photographs. I worked to capture each individual’s personality in my images and help share the difference they were able to make in their communities.
This is a clip from an interview with Faubourg Lafitte resident, Emelda Paul. She is interviewed by Terri North, CEO of Providence Community Housing, an organization that works to revive neighborhoods and communities. Ms. Emelda is 80 years young and has continued helping her community long after the initial battle the storm waged. She volunteers at a local hospital, visiting with patients and bringing joy into their lives. She’s also an active member of the Sojourner Truth Community Center in the Faubourg Lafitte neighborhood- the place she has called home since before the storm. I learned so much about Ms. Emelda during our photoshoot; she entertained us with stories of growing up in New Orleans and the lessons she’s learned throughout her life. At the Summit, she was the recipient of the Comeback Communities Resident Leadership Award. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.
Thank you to Neighborworks’ own Dana Matthews for compiling this video!