With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, area museums and libraries are commemorating the event with photography exhibits of the storm’s devastation and its aftermath. One new exhibit looks at what happened in Baton Rouge when the hurricane hit.
The LSU Museum of Art in the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St., is showing “Debbie Fleming Caffery: Baton Rouge After the Storm” through Aug. 30.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Caffery, a Louisiana photographer, created a powerful series of photographs of Baton Rouge’s River Center, where the National Guard had been called to manage the surge of people from New Orleans seeking shelter after the storm.
“Caffery’s photographs of the River Center have never been shown in Baton Rouge, a city with no public monuments or permanent exhibitions to commemorate Hurricane Katrina,” wrote Katie Pfohl, former museum curator who crafted this show. “Although Baton Rouge did not witness physical devastation on the scale of other parts of South Louisiana, it was hugely impacted by the storm. The city’s population doubled overnight, and displaced people from New Orleans changed the social, demographic and economic make-up of the city in ways that continue to impact the region today. “
Pfohl continues: “Caffery’s photographs of downtown Baton Rouge in the days after the storm show a city in crisis. In her photographs, armed military officials flank distraught citizens crowded into the city’s makeshift shelter, and stranded children search for signs of comfort and hope. During her time in the Capital City, Caffery captured moments of great compassion and care alongside scenes of alarming brutality and mistrust. Her photographs offer a window into a time in Baton Rouge’s history often forgotten in the conversation about Hurricane Katrina’s impact in New Orleans.”
The exhibition offers a unique opportunity for the Baton Rouge community to recall a time of great upheaval, and reflect on the changes to the city that occurred in the wake of the storm.
For more information, call (225) 389-7200 or visit lsumoa.org.
Holding out …
The West Baton Rouge Museum, 845 N. Jefferson Ave., Port Allen, is showing Thomas Neff’s photographs in “Holding Out and Hanging On: 10 Years Later,” through Sept. 13.
The exhibit features original black and white prints and narratives by Neff, who interviewed New Orleans residents, providing an in-depth and personal view of the trying times New Orleanians faced after the hurricane. He compiled his work in the book, “Holding Out and Hanging On: Surviving Hurricane Katrina,” published in 2007 by the University of Missouri Press.
Neff spent 45 days volunteering and working in the area, developing personal relationships with the people who decided to stay despite the hardships.
The photos tell the personal stories of these people, who protected their houses from looters, those who took off from their jobs to become medics and others who ferried residents to safety in canoes.
Neff also brought these people the modest provisions they asked for on his trips between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
“Neff’s photographs present interesting stories and show the resilience of the people of New Orleans,” says Angelique Bergeron, exhibition curator.
Neff is a published author and is a retired professor at LSU, where he taught art and photography for 33 years. He has traveled extensively through Louisiana, Colorado and multiple countries focusing his camera lens on people, landscapes and architecture.
Also, the museum’s book club participants will have a chance to meet Neff for a gallery talk at noon Tuesday, Aug. 18, and loaner books are available for Brian W. Boyles’ book, “Blackout,” which looks at the recovery efforts in New Orleans. Boyles will visit the museum at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, and Hurricane cocktails will be served during the event. Book club participation is open to the public.
For more information, call (225) 336-2422 or visit westbatonrougemuseum.com.
3 photographers’ work
The Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, is showing three exhibits by three Louisiana photographers throughout August.
“Katrina Photographs,” by Baton Rouge photojournalist James Terry, documents the hurricane’s aftermath in New Orleans.
“The Katrina Experience,” by New Orleans native photographer A.J. Sisco, shares his experience with the hurricane in his photos, and the library also is showing Thomas Neff’s photos in its own exhibit of “Holding Out and Holding On: Surviving Hurricane Katrina,” featuring the photos from Neff’s book of the same title.
Also, the library is featuring a display of the eight parishes affected by the hurricane.
For more information, call (225) 274-4440.