Look and Leave: New Orleans in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

January 16 – March 12

/ 2006

As part of the recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans city officials allowed residents from the most devastated areas to visit their homes briefly in order to assess damage.  Jane Fulton Alt, a Chicago photographer and social worker, spent two weeks in New Orleans in November as a counselor through the program sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Alt provided assistance and counsel to lower Ninth Ward residents returning to their homes in the city’s Look and Leave program. While careful not to intrude on residents’ privacy, Alt felt compelled to document the landscape of devastation and loss the hurricane left behind.  Personal items such as a shoe, family photos or clothes hanging from a tree become poignant reminders of the individual losses the people of the region have suffered.