Ten years ago, sculptor Takashi Horisaki peeled off the 10 layers of latex rubber and cheesecloth he’d painted onto a partially collapsed shotgun house on Caffin Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward. To create them had taken two months of work, 200 gallons of natural latex and nearly 14,000 square feet of cheesecloth.

To those who saw his work later in New Orleans and New York, it became a life-size, and lifelike, symbol of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina and the flood of 2005.

This past week, Horisaki flew to New Orleans from New York, where he now lives, to check on his creation and pack it into a travel crate.

New Orleans metalwork artist Luis Colmenares, who ended up storing the sculpture for nearly a decade, stopped in New York in 2007 and made a point of seeing Horisaki’s work, which is formally called “Social Dress New Orleans — 730 days after.”

For nine months in 2007 and 2008, the sculpture hung, like a huge house-shaped shower curtain, from a network of iron pipes and wire in Socrates Sculpture Park, across the East River from Manhattan.

“When I saw it, the wind was blowing slightly and it was kind of misty,” said Colmenares, who stood inside it and felt like the house had a life of its own.

“It looked like it was breathing,” he said. “It was just beautiful.”

In late 2008, Horisaki moved the sculpture from a warehouse on Magazine Street for the Prospect.1 art biennial. Afterward, he again rolled up the layers of latex and placed the big carpet-size rolls into cardboard boxes. Since then, the boxes have sat in Colmenares’ hot, humid metal studio in Chalmette.

On Saturday, Horisaki grabbed a box and unrolled its contents, inspecting the amber-colored rubber, which still bore a clear imprint of the Caffin Avenue house, complete with textures and remnants of the house itself: white paint pulled from the siding, green from its window frames and other colors of paint pulled from the plastered walls of interior rooms, along with the imprint of a cat’s claw vine, nail holes, door hinges, window locks, even the papery skeleton of a small fish that was lodged on an inner window frame after the floodwaters receded.

At first inspection, Horisaki felt good about what he saw. Though he would need to mend a few pieces of the latex where paint was coming loose, there was little corrosion in the metal grommets, spaced at roughly two-foot intervals along the top edge. So the sculpture could, once again, be suspended from wire.

Certainly, the natural rubber had aged. But so had its artist, said Horisaki, now 42, using two fingers to lift up some loose skin from his arm, to illustrate his point.

In the next few days, a forklift will place the crate onto a flatbed truck for a ride to the City Point building in downtown Brooklyn, where next month it will be part of an exhibition called BKLYN IMMERSIVE, that coincides with the end of the annual Frieze New York art fair.

After that, he’s not sure. He has no place to store it in New York, and he and his wife are planning to move to Tokyo in a few years. That may be the end of the road for this artwork, he said.

“Nothing is eternal, even art,” he said.

He and Colmenares met coincidentally in 2007, as Colmenares passed the house on Caffin Avenue and stopped to talk with the rail-thin, stressed-out young man who was tirelessly painting latex onto the house. He started work each day at dawn and ended at dark, continuing even during rainstorms. At night, he blogged about his experience.

Horisaki faithfully purchased a daily shrimp po-boy from a neighborhood market, though he often ate it while working, with a brush in one hand and the sandwich in the other.

Sometimes, neighbors or officials from FEMA or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would stop by because the house had been deemed “in imminent danger of collapse” and was slated for demolition. In the end, the Corps staff became his champions, shuffling demolition lists to give him time to finish his work.

Even with the help of a pro bono lawyer, volunteers and the loan of a skilled work crew from Evenstar, a Kenner contractor, Horisaki finished just before the house was demolished on July 12. Toward the end, he felt frantic, worried that he would arrive one morning to find a bulldozer destroying the house and all of his work.

Confusion over post-Katrina bureaucratic lingo and procedures was widespread in New Orleans at the time, but Horisaki faced an additional barrier: He didn’t quite understand the nuances of the English language. “So when people told me, ‘It’s going to be all right,’ I didn’t know exactly what that meant,” he said.

Several years before, because he loved jazz and also wanted to learn English, he had moved from Japan to New Orleans to enroll in an English as a Second Language program. He ended up at Loyola University, where he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree.

His first latex sculptures were of his own body, to show that each person is formed through layers of experience, of a life lived. At the end of each performance, he would step out of his latex skin and hang it on the wall. But then his latex castings grew, to the size of a warehouse door, a telephone pole and a grand entrance to a high school.

In April 2007, he chose the house at North Johnson Street and Caffin Avenue for his next sculpture, because he believed that his work wouldn’t interrupt neighbors there and because he liked the yard’s large trees. He received the permission of owners Roosevelt and Billie Johnson, who had lived in the house as newlyweds.

Roosevelt Johnson, then 85, said he had heard from the young man who wanted to “do his art, draw a picture of the house or something.” He had told Horisaki to go ahead.

Johnson felt there was no way to keep his family ties with Caffin Avenue, given the nearly demolished house and the unaffordable tax bill that had arrived from the city. “Our family has many memories of that house. We’ll keep those memories,” he said then. “But there’s no way to keep the house in the family.”

Starting in May, Horisaki began painting the alternating layers of gray-tinted latex and cheesecloth on the house. Ultimately, he would peel off 39 pieces weighing a total of 600 pounds, he estimates.

Today, the skin is all that remains of the white house with green trim. The memories of the house are fading, too. Roosevelt Johnson died in 2013.

Next month, Horisaki will place metal poles in Brooklyn to the exact measurements of the house on Caffin Avenue. And then he will hang the latex skin onto the poles, to pay homage to those who once lived inside its walls.