“Who better than the people of New Orleans to talk to the people of NYC right now. They know, they lived through Katrina. They are still living with it seven years later,” freelance journalist Andy Kopsa writes on her blog, NOLA to New York.
This connection, built out of destruction, is what makes the project so touching. The blog features photos of Katrina survivors holding signs of encouragement for New Yorkers. Among them are messages that read, “stay strong,” “be thankful,” and “be patient.”
“Be resilient. Y’all will make it through this because y’all been through hell before,” John, a native of The Lower Ninth Ward, wrote on his sign.
“It’s not about the material things. It’s about each other!” Calvin reminds New Yorkers with his sign. He was evacuated to seven different cities before the storm and returned to his hometown to open a barbershop.
Kopsa, who currently lives in New York, was a former resident of New Orleans and that is where she waited out the storm as it barreled toward the east coast. She had been working on a story in nearby Mississippi when she left to stay with a friend in NOLA until she could return to her New York City home.
“I couldn’t focus on my MS story, worrying about my husband minding the fort on the [Lower East Side of New York] and the shock. So, I threw myself into talking to people from all over the city about what they would say to NYC’ers,” she told theGrio in an e-mail.
She added that the project was born out of her deep connection to both cities and isn’t meant to “take away from the plight of the rest of the Gulf nor from the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.”
The Tumblr blog began as an investigation of the tragedy that still plagues the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, seven years after Katrina. The photos in that section of the blog show areas of the city that still haven’t recovered after the hurricane’s destruction in 2005.
It only strengthens the message of resilience the people of NOLA have to share.
Click through the slideshow above to see some of the signs. To view the rest of the project, visit sandykatrina.tumblr.com.
Monetary donations for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts can be made to your local Red Cross.
Follow Ugonna on Twitter at @ugonnaokpalaoka