Jennifer Shaw's Hurricane Story

I am returning to New Orleans for some book signings, panel discussions and to participate in PhotoNOLA 2009 . The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) did not exist pre Katrina and has grown into a very robust, all volunteer organization. They have had much support and have worked incredibly hard on what will be, I am sure, a fabulous week of photography events.

During my second visit to New Orleans I met with another photographer, Jennifer Shaw. I heard of her trials in dealing with Hurricane Katrina..she was nine months pregnant and...well the rest is told in her book, Hurricane Story.

We left in the dark of night © Jennifer Shaw

"I was nine months pregnant and due in less than a week when Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf. In the early hours of August 28, 2005 my husband and I loaded up our small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all our important papers and a few changes of clothes. We evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama and tried not to watch the news. Monday, August 29 brought the convergence of two major life changing events; the destruction of New Orleans and the birth of our son. It was two long months and 6000 miles on the road before we were able to return home."

When we arrived at the hospital it was time © Jennifer Shaw

"Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family’s evacuation experience – the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits in toys that illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile."

In spite of it all there's no place like home © Jennifer Shaw

Guthrie Contemporary
Opening: Saturday, Dec 5, 6-9pm
3815 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70115