Magazine Article


Surviving Katrina
With Katrina Behind Them, Photographers Forecast Brighter Days

satellite view of Hurricane Katrina
hurricane damage in photo studio
© Bob Bradford

tree on house
© Bob Bradford

camera next to damaged lamp
© Kimberly Morand

Beads for Hope
© Allison Earnest

I was one of the very lucky photographers in the New Orleans area who sustained just minimal damage from Hurricane Katrina. I did prepare by removing all my digital cameras and any equipment I would need to continue photographing weddings, as well as five computers from my offices, which contained all the digital files from past clientele as well as current client information.

We came through with just a little water in the studio, which didn't cause much damage. The biggest problem we face now is a lack of clients. New Orleans looks like a war zone, and all of our clients are canceling or rescheduling at a different location. I was pretty much semi-retired after 22 years as a successful photographer. I have had to start over, trying to re-establish a business in a totally different area. My co-workers and I are living in Baton Rouge now. We haven't worked since Katrina, but, fortunately, we have enough money saved to carry us through the next few months. I am hopeful things will work out for us and everyone else in our situation.

Robert Faust

I live in Baton Rouge, but my business was based in New Orleans, on Magazine Street. After Hurricane Katrina, I've pretty much been forced to relocate. Atlanta is a possibility. Except for a few tree limbs in my yard, and losing electricity for a few days, my home was not affected. Even my New Orleans studio suffered minimal damage since the flooding stopped about six blocks away. I keep all my equipment and backup image files at my home office, so I was fine in that respect. I really was extremely blessed. I didn't lose anything except my New Orleans client base.

But it's been a pretty harsh blow to my business and my cash flow. Of all the weddings I had scheduled through the end of the year, only two are proceeding as planned, and that's because they are not located in New Orleans. Most of the remaining weddings have been rescheduled for spring or summer 2006. With all the rescheduling, it has been pretty hectic. But my clients understand our loss and feel blessed just to be getting married.

Brian K. Crain Photography

Nothing can prepare one for something so across-the-board devastating. I am optimistic about the future, but my way of life and business have been drastically changed.

The destruction throughout the city is everywhere. As we continue to rebuild, we are constantly reminded of the losses we have sustained. Still, we persevere. During the past two months, I have seen and done more than I had in the last two years of my life. I look forward to the day when we are no longer recovering from Katrina and are able to return to our home. For now, we are staying in a house loaned to us.

Many people in our industry have come to my aid with monetary donations or emotional support due to my relationships within APA. With too many to mention, every bit of help has been greatly appreciated and definitely needed. LiveBooks donated a website to replace my current one. Lost Luggage is building a portfolio for me that will house my new work and reflect my branding efforts.

The city looks less depressing through the lens and to keep going forward I have become somewhat desensitized to the destruction. My camera has become my medicine. I long to be known for my work again, and not for being a Katrina survivor.

Kimberly Morand