Remembering Hurricane Katrina: Portraits of Tragic Loss

Remembering Hurricane Katrina: Portraits of Tragic Loss

Photography by: Chris Jordan

Today, the mayors and governors along the Gulf Coast issued dire warnings about Hurricane Isaac. Seven years ago, Katrina slammed into New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, as a strong Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph. More than 1,800 people were killed, most of them in Louisiana. On Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Isaac had become a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph, which could get stronger by the time it’s expected to reach the swampy coast of southeast Louisiana. The latest projections showed Isaac making landfall at or near New Orleans late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

This week marks the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s ravages of New Orleans, a city that not long ago appeared to be completely lost. Only seven years have passed since rotting corpses were floating through the city’s streets, since hundreds of thousands of survivors sat in hotel rooms and shelters and the homes of relatives, finding out from news coverage that they had been forced to join the ranks of the homeless. The unbelievable devastation of New Orleans is almost beyond human comprehension. The virtually complete destruction of the entire city by Hurricane Katrina, the loss of huge numbers of lives, the ruination of the property and lives of so many, especially the poor and disadvantaged, is a tragedy of historically monumental proportions.

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with devastating force at daybreak on Aug. 29, 2005, pounding an area that included the fabled city of New Orleans and wreaking large-scale damages on neighboring Mississippi. In all, more than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others were displaced. Packing a terrifying punch of 145-mile-an-hour winds when it made landfall, the category-4 storm left more than a million people in three states without power and submerged highways even hundreds of miles from its center. The hurricane’s storm surge pushed a 29-foot wall of water ashore when the hurricane struck the Gulf Coast, which was the highest level ever measured in the United States. Levees failed in New Orleans, resulting in political and social upheavals that continue a half decade later.

Damage, costing billions of dollars, has made Katrina one of the costliest storms on record. In New Orleans, floodwaters from the breached levee rose to rooftops in the poorest neighborhoods, and in many areas residents were rescued from roofs of homes that had become uninhabitable. The hurricane’s roaring winds stripped 15-foot sections off the roof of the Superdome, where as many as 10,000 city residents had been forced to take shelter. An exodus of hundreds of thousands left the city, many becoming refugees, finding shelter with nearby relatives or restarting their lives in states as far away as Massachusetts and Utah.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper is maintaining detailed Hurricane Katrina Anniversary coverage, as well as an extensive archive of historical news coverage and photographs about Katrina, which can be accessed here.

After Hurricane Katrina: The Ghost Town

A Photographic Essay: In the Wake of Katrina

Slide Show: A Remembrance of Katrina’s Wake/Portraits of Tragic Loss

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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Bush’s Farewell Address: Delusional From Beginning To End

Bush’s Farewell Address: Delusional From Beginning To End

Arianna Huffington Talks With Rachel Maddow About Bush’s Farewell Address: “Bush Was Delusional From The Beginning To The Very End!!

Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow” show Thursday night to discuss President Bush’s farewell address to the nation, which took place earlier last evening. When asked by Maddow what the big headline from the speech was, Arianna suggested paraphrasing Paul Simon’s: “Still Delusional After All These Years!

President Bush: Delusional From Beginning To End

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Photos of the Day: The Art of the Grotesque

Kris Kuksi in His Kansas Art Studio

Kris Kuksi: The Art of the Grotesque

Kris Kuksi is a Kansas artist who quite obviously has an extremely strong distaste for the stereotypical images of American life and pop culture, feeling that he has instead always belonged to the “Old World.” His “grotesque” works of art are about a new wilderness, refined and elevated, visualized as a cultivation emerging from the corrupt and demoralized fall of modern-day society. Kuksi’s art conjures up places where new beginnings, new wars, new philosophies, and new endings exist.

Kuksi feels that in the world today, much of mankind is too often comprised of merely frivolous and fragile beings driven primarily by greed and materialism. His twisted and distorted art is aimed at exposing the fallacies of contemporary man, which he hopes might suggest a new order of awareness to the viewer. Kuksi’s work has received several awards and prizes and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide, including at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. His art can also be seen in a number of international art magazines, book covers and theatrical posters. Kris’ art is featured in both public and private collections in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Photos of the Day: The Art of the Grotesque

Artistic Works by: Kris Kuksi

Kris Kuski: The Art of the Grotesque

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Photos of the Day: Republican National Convention Guns

Photos of the Day: Republican National Convention Guns

This are extremely frightening photographs of what protesters might be faced with at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul this week.

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There’s Just No News Today

There’s Just No News Today

There’s just no news today. The President was cloistered all alone in The Oval Office, so there are no news reports of any shenanigans or misbehaviors on his part. Plus, there were no terrorist attacks in either Europe or the Middle-East. And, sadly, there were no new juicy sex scandals involving government officials, ranging from senators to governors to mayors and city council members.

Private businesses simply closed their doors to all journalists yesterday, no access. Reportedly, most major corporations have agreed to institute a new nationwide rule: if any employee talks to a journalist, his or her job is in jeopardy. So, needless to say, there were no corporate whistle-blowers, neither yesterday nor today.

And, for the first time in decades, there were no news stories about celebrities. Perez Hilton didn’t post a single gossip item today, not a one. Celebrity thingees were going so slow, that it’s rumored Perez took the day off to do some whale impersonations with his bestest buddy Jason “Gummi Bear” Davis (Perez is still trying to get over the loss of his “kissy-kissy” John Mayer) ) at a Malibu beach. Lately, there have been so many unflattering articles about celebrities, ranging from the A-list to D-list celebrities, that public relations representatives would not give interviews with any of their clients yesterday or today. Now there was one celebrity report that was released yesterday, which at first looked as though it might turn out to be a good news story for today. Avant News released the findings of a large-scale, empirically-based study of the trajectory of celebrities and celebrity-hood, which reached the conclusion that in recent years there has been a remarkable rise in short-term celebrity status among citizens from all walks of life.

For the first time, according to our projections,” Dr. K. Phillip Townsend, a statistician at Rutgers University in New Jersey (many might remember Dr. Townsend from his three-week appearance on Fox TV’s Tenured and Untamed last spring), said, “America now has more celebrities than fans.” That trend, which determined that the current celebrity-to-fan ratio (CTFR) is 52:48, is due to multiple factors, including the proliferation of venues for reality television, politics, sporting events, and tabloid news outlets, but even more to do with a substantial “lowering of the bar” that is required for the elevation of an ordinary person to celebrity status, according to Dr. Townsend.

Fans tend to be fiercely loyal to a given celebrity for a period ranging from thirty seconds up to four days,” co-author Dr. Griffith said. “At that point, either the celebrity is deposed by a new, bigger, brighter celebrity, or the fan’s attention span is simply unable to sustain further interest. Either way, the fan moves on and the celebrity is left out in the cold.”

Hoping to wrench a real, headline-grabbing news story out of this research report, entertainment news executives and news anchors made lightning-fast searches to track down one of those “ordinary people” who had suddenly achieved celebrity status and notoriety, hoping to land a blockbuster interview about the experience of newly-found fame, celebrity-hood and notoriety. Finally, they found who they initially thought was the perfect candidate, a Mr. Rupert Ioderm.

Rupert, an unemployed temporary worker, had achieved brief celebrity status yesterday evening during his appearance on Dancing With the Unemployed Temporary Workers on The Lifestyle Television Channel. Mr. Ioderm said that he has been very painfully affected by what he calls “post-crawl depression“, referring to the euphoria that an ephemeral celebrity experiences upon seeing his or her name briefly appear in the news crawl at the bottom of the television screen, only to disappear and never appear there again.

When I saw my name flickering by with the headline ‘Ioderm Wins Dancing With Temps Round 1, Chokes in Runoff’, I thought I’d finally found my calling,” Mr. Ioderm said. “To be famous for having had my name appear in the crawl. Life feels so empty and meaningless now. The crawl is gone. The crawl is gone away.”

So Rupert Ioderm is really old news, not News for Now, News for Today. He’s just one more example of “Just No News Today.” However, Mr. Ioderm will be appearing next month on Losers in the News and on Dancing with the Temps: A Retrospective, both of which will air on The E-Network. Now, if reporters (maybe like from Gawker or TMZ) can just manage to catch up with him quickly enough, maybe he’ll be news then. We’ll just have to wait and see.

But for now, while the bulk of our print and TV news is usually chock-full of local crimes, stupid celebrity news, just pain old silly stories, weather, sports, and consumer information (with randomly partisan narcissistic pundits giving their smarty-pants spins about government, elections and economic issues…Hello, Andrew Sullivan…), today there was absolutely nothing to report. There was just No News Today.

Just No News Today

The Beatles: A Day in the Life

I Read the News Today…Oh Boy…

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Let Us Call It by Its Proper Name: Torture

Let Us Call It by Its Proper Name: Torture

Let us not forget that on Saturday, March 8, 2008, President Bush announced that he had vetoed legislation that would have banned the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods, such as waterboarding, to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that he said have prevented attacks. The bill that he rejected would have provided guidelines for intelligence activities and has the interrogation requirement as one provision. The bill would have limited CIA interrogators to the 19 techniques that are allowed for use by military questioners. In 2006, the Army Field Manual banned the use of methods such as waterboarding or sensory deprivation on uncooperative prisoners.

Therefore, at this moment in history, let us not forget what is still being executed by our government. Rather than simply describing it as an “advanced” or “enhanced” interrogation technique, let us call it by its proper name: Torture.

Let Us Call It by Its Proper Name: Torture

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