NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana–It’s been 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans; 10 years since it changed the city forever.
The storm hit on Aug. 29, 2005 claiming more than 1,800 lives, most of them in New Orleans after a levee was breached in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Recently, Cleveland-area photographer Seph Lawless visited the region to look at the impact on the city all of these years later. He found many homes and apartment buildings still damaged as rebuilding efforts continue in the Lower Ninth Ward.
The images are powerful. Lawless said he witnessed more people doing whatever they could to support themselves. He said in some cases that amounted to setting up a lemonade stand.
Lawless said images of ‘The Stairs That Lead to Nowhere’ were perhaps the saddest he has captured. They show empty stairs and platforms where houses once stood.
“When I approached a group of men sitting on one of these structures in the Lower Ninth Ward, a man pointed over to his friend and said ‘This used to be his home.’ ‘The Stairs That Lead to Nowhere’ can be seen all throughout the most devastated areas of Hurricane Katrina, sometimes right next to the new homes being built. A sharp contrast and sobering reminder of a painful transition,” Lawless said.
There are bright spots a decade later. Lawless’ photos show rebuilding efforts including several colorful modern homes designed with solar panels, which are becoming more prevalent. Lawless said actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie started this movement with community leaders years ago with a promise to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward with affordable housing.
*See dozens of his photos above*