I flew to New Orleans two days before the storm made landfall. The National Guard arrived in force on September 2 with aid from the outside and a convoy of trucks to distribute food, water, and supplies to those still at the convention center. This was the day the tide started to shift psychologically, as proper relief appeared. People had been stranded in the city for four or five days, many stuck in the Superdome or the convention center. The stench and heat were overwhelming and unforgettable.

September 2, 2005

I flew to New Orleans two days before the storm made landfall. The National Guard arrived in force on September 2 with aid from the outside and a convoy of trucks to distribute food, water, and supplies to those still at the convention center. This was the day the tide started to shift psychologically, as proper relief appeared. People had been stranded in the city for four or five days, many stuck in the Superdome or the convention center. The stench and heat were overwhelming and unforgettable.
Photograph and text by Mario Tama, Getty Images

Portraits of Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States Gulf Coast and became one of the most devastating storms in the country’s history. Failed levees in New Orleans, along with poor preparation and a slow governmental response, would have repercussions for years to come. The city became a focus of human tragedy and triumph that riveted the world.

To mark Katrina’s ten-year anniversary, we selected photographs that tell a story of resilience—from views of destruction made soon after the storm to present-day portraits showing the vitality of the Mardi Gras Indian and second-line parades. The photographers who made these images show us loss, renewal, and survival. They remind us that New Orleans, iconic as ever, is still thriving in a precarious landscape. 

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