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60 Powerful Photos of New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina

Regular readers are likely familiar with the work of photographer Seph Lawless, whose hauntingly gorgeous images of abandoned malls and amusement parks have been regularly featured on the site. In keeping with his interest in forgotten places, Lawless recently paid a visit to New Orleans to document the city, and its people, a full decade after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The result is a collection of photos that serves as a powerful and poignant testament to a resilient city that, 10 years later, is still recovering from the devastation of the costliest storm in America's history.

More of Lawless’ work can be viewed on his Website, or by following him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

"Meet Darrick Toney, holding up all 10 fingers representing 10 years of surviving Hurricane Katrina," Lawless says. "After losing family members and close friends to the catastrophe, Darrick was sent to Texas like many others. He would move back after seven years away and now lives back in New Orleans and struggles to assimilate back to his hometown."

The MGM Grand Casino.

Images from a hotel/restaurant 10 years after the flood waters from Katrina.

"The homeless population has risen almost 80 percent since Hurricane Katrina," according to Lawless.

"I witnessed more and more people doing whatever they could to support themselves," says Lawless. "Sometimes not much more than what amounts to setting up a lemonade stand."

Images of abandoned schools.

A forgotten factory.

The Wanderer: "A local transient walks amongst the ruins of a nearby apartment complex littered with clothes and personal belongings," explains Lawless.

"In 1960, several African-Americans' homes were removed to make way for the new highway overpass," Lawless explains. "Today, the overpass serves as gigantic umbrella against the summer sun for the homeless and local transients."

Born from the Great Flood: Twin brothers Donovan and Devon, both 10 years old, "were born in the Lower 9th Ward just days after Hurricane Katrina," Lawless says. "They play near their home at an abandoned house."

Construction of a new home.

The Stairs That Lead Nowhere: "Perhaps the saddest images I've captured were the shots of empty stairs and platforms where houses once stood," Lawless says. "When I approached a group of men sitting on one of these structures in the Lower 9th Ward, a man pointed over to his friend and said 'This used to be his home.' The stairs that lead nowhere can be seen all throughout the most devastated areas of Hurricane Katrina. Sometimes right next to the new homes being built. [It's] a sharp contrast and sobering reminder of a painful transition."

"'The Irony' Street name," Lawless says.

 

While visiting the Lower 9th Ward, Lawless encountered a "displaced man taking refuge in an abandoned home that has a huge hole in the side of it from where a tree rammed into the house after flood waters devastated the area. The man now fishes and makes the best of his shelter."

We Will Rebuild: "A church offers hope and plans to rebuild 10 years after Katrina," Lawless says.

"'Vote Early' became a slogan after the disaster to encourage people to become more proactive in local government," according to Lawless.

Ten years after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, this Six Flags amusement park sits eerily abandoned.

The above images are all homes in the Lower 9th Ward, which famously suffered some of the storm's worst damage. "The hardest hit section of the city during Katrina was once the largest area of the city in which African-Americans owned homes," Lawless says.

The Color of Hope: "Even though most of the hardest hit areas of Katrina are open fields and abandoned, several colorful, modern homes designed with solar panels [and] futuristic designs are becoming more prevalent," Lawless says. "Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie started this movement with community leaders years ago with a promise to rebuild the Lower 9th Ward with affordable housing."

"Finally, I was able to sit down with FEMA's Ryan Mast to get old images of a few places right after Hurricane Katrina," says Lawless of his desire to create some before and after images, like the one of The Wilson School above, or two restored homes below. "I used those photographs to recreate them 10 years later. The same exact locations and shots—just 10 years later."

All images courtesy of Seph Lawless
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MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images
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This Just In
Pablo Neruda's Death Wasn't Caused by Cancer, Experts Conclude
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MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

Pablo Neruda—whose real name was Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto—died on September 23, 1973, less than two years after he was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. The official cause of death was recorded as cancer cachexia, or wasting syndrome, from prostate cancer. But while Neruda did have cancer, new tests on his remains indicate that the left-leaning Chilean politician and poet didn’t actually succumb to the disease, according to BBC News.

It’s still unclear what, exactly, caused Neruda’s demise. But in a recent press conference, a team of 16 international experts announced that they were "100 percent convinced" that the author's death certificate "does not reflect the reality of the death,” as quoted by the BBC.

Neruda died in 1973 at the age of 69, less than two weeks after a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet ousted the Marxist government of President Salvador Allende. Neruda, a Communist, was a former diplomat and senator, and a friend of the deposed politician.

In 2011, Manuel Araya, Neruda’s chauffeur, claimed that the poet had told him that Pinochet’s men had injected poison into his stomach as he was hospitalized during his final days, Nature reports. The Communist Party of Chile filed a criminal lawsuit, and Neruda’s remains were exhumed in 2013 and later reburied in 2016, according to the BBC.

Many of Neruda’s relatives and friends were reportedly skeptical of Araya’s account, as was the Pablo Neruda Foundation, according to The New York Times. But after samples of Neruda’s remains were analyzed by forensic genetics laboratories in four nations, Chile’s government acknowledged that it was “highly probable” that his official cause of death was incorrect.

And now, the team of scientists has unanimously ruled out cachexia as having caused Neruda’s death. “There was no indication of cachexia,” said Dr. Niels Morling, a forensic medical expert from the University of Copenhagen, as quoted by The Guardian. Neruda “was an obese man at the time of death. All other circumstances in his last phase of life pointed to some kind of infection.”

The investigating team says that their analysis yielded what might be lab-cultivated bacteria, although it could have also originated from the burial site or been produced during the body's decomposition process. Test results will be available within a year, they say.

[h/t BBC News]

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Fox Photos, Stringer, Getty Images
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Art
Winston Churchill’s Final Painting Is Going to Auction for the First Time
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Fox Photos, Stringer, Getty Images

While serving as an influential statesman and writing Nobel Prize-winning histories, Winston Churchill also found time to paint. Now, The Telegraph reports that the final painting the former British prime minister ever committed to canvas is heading to the auction block.

The piece, titled The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell, depicts the pond at Churchill’s home in Kent, England, which has been characterized as his “most special place in the world.” A few years after the painting was finished, he passed away in 1965 and it fell into the possession of his former bodyguard, Sergeant Edmund Murray. Murray worked for Churchill for the 15 years leading up to the prime minister's death and often assisted with his painting by setting up his easel and brushes. After decades in the Murray family, Churchill’s final painting will be offered to the public for the first time at Sotheby’s Modern & Post-War British Art sale next month.

Winston Churchill's final painting.
Sotheby's

Churchill took up painting in the 1920s and produced an estimated 544 artworks in his lifetime. He never sold any of his art, but The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell shows that the hobby was an essential part of his life right up until his last years.

When the never-before-exhibited piece goes up for sale on November 21, it’s expected to attract bids up to $105,500. It won’t mark the first time an original Winston Churchill painting has made waves at auction: In a 2014, a 1932 depiction of his same beloved goldfish pond sold for over $2.3 million.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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