Katrina has been completed. It is purely coincidence that this is the hurricane’s 5th anniversary.
This is the final version of the storm in my hurricane series. Several months ago I was working on her and posted a snippet on this blog. I looked at her as the months passed and finally knew what I had to do…paint over the collage background. The resulting texture has given the piece a depth she didn’t previously have.
The water bird in the foreground is another character in southern tragedies. They appear so fragile with their long legs and necks. Their vulnerability is shared with the woman and baby. However the drive to survive is shared by both mankind and nature.
In the end, as depicted in this painting, both New Orleans, as portrayed by the woman, and the city’s future, as depicted by the baby, and the surrounding nature, as represented by the water bird are still standing. A little shaken, but nevertheless back on their feet. If you have lived in or visited the city you understand that feeling.
Even Riley, our garden pig got into the act this weekend. Geaux Saints, Laissez les bonnes temps roulez!, Who Dat…all ushered in the weekend New Orleans and its fans have waited for. Having grown up in New Orleans there is a part of my heart that beats harder when something is said about the Crescent City. I admire the people who stayed, returned or ventured into the city for the first time after Katrina. These were real pioneers. Things were rough, things were dirty, things were depressing, and there was a long way to go to reach a success that outsiders could comprehend. I can only imagine how difficult it was living in New Orleans. The house I grew up in was under 5 feet of water. The present homeowners were heroic and put it back together. 85% of the city was under water. That includes more than what you saw on tv, that includes many more people than you saw on tv. There are lots of people who are putting the city back together and there are a lot more who will continue putting it back together. They are heroes. Our doctor friend has stayed past the point of exhaustion to carry out his oath to do no harm. Leaving the folks in New Orleans without medical care would do harm. He is a hero. The Saints as a team and as individuals are heroes. Tom Benson who kept the team in New Orleans is a hero. New educators who had the vision to build and improve on the poor education system are heroes. People who put their money and muscle into the rebuilding are heroes. New Orleans deserves this win, deserves a pat on the back and encouragement to keep up the heroics that are going to be required to continue the feat of rebuilding a city that took 300 plus years to build and 24 hours to destroy.
Geaux Saints, Geaux good people of New Orleans. When the going gets tough the tough get geauxing.
For two very strong and eye opening accounts of life during and immediately following Katrina check out One Dead in the Attic by Chris Rose and Code Blue: A Katrina Physician’s Memoir by Dr. Richard Deichmann. You will have a new perspective on what happened in New Orleans and a new respect for those who endured.
In preparation for a busy day at the studio/gallery I spent the last several days painting small pieces. The thought was, in these economic times why not offer something for all pocketbooks. More birds, a sandhill crane (which are everywhere in our neighborhood. They are accompanied by their children at this time of year.)and some flying people who morphed into floating people were the subject matter.
Being from New Orleans I have a soft spot for the place. As seedy, humid, dark, and morose as it is, it is also beautiful, colorful, creative, and warm in its humanity. I know all sides, I lived there. I knew people of all types there, the really good and the really not so good. These little paintings, 5″x7″ on watercolor paper, have finally expressed some of my feelings about Katrina. There is a sad floating loss. The political aspects of this have gotten so out of hand the reality has been totally lost. I have my views, but they would not be popular in the present blame those last guys atmosphere so they will stay in my heart. Because I did live there. I do know the truth.