Sunday, December 24, 2006

People of New Orleans

During my family’s evacuation from Hurricane Katrina I was shocked at how the press handled the catastrophe. Like the government the press was not prepared for such an event. On top of that they did not have an idea of what New Orleans was really like before the storm. It takes people living in New Orleans to talk about New Orleans. Simon Dorfman took on the challenge of documenting the event from the perspective of the people who lived it. His project is appropriately called “People of New Orleans”.

“People of New Orleans” is a collection of video interviews of people from all over the New Orleans area. Simon began his project with these parameters: the interviews would be five minutes in length with very little questions and posted to his website unedited. The interview would be lead by the interviewee with only a few questions at the beginning to get the ball rolling. These parameters evolved as the project went on and the interviews became longer. However, Simon stayed true to the other rules and did not edit or manipulate the interviews. In addition, visitors to the website can make comments about their reactions to the videos and the Katrina event as a whole. The comments add an interesting aspect that reveals the perspective of those outside of New Orleans within the affected areas and from other parts of the country.

I came away from Simon’s website refreshed to hear the thoughts of New Orleanians about their evacuation, their return home, and their rebuilding efforts. Since the storm passed the state and local governments have not been able to bring the resources together to bring the city as a whole into a rebuilding mode. As this process occurs or does not occur, the people of New Orleans are left to rebuilding the city themselves. Like so many things in New Orleans, rebuilding is a grass roots effort. Simon’s work to reveal this to the rest of the world is indeed needed.

You can find Simon’s website at, browse the many videos and feel free to leave your comments. You can also subscribe to the RSS feeds available on the site as well.

Don't forget to leave a comment in the "Blog Name Suggestions" entry giving your ideas on a good name for this blog!

-Tim Best


Courtney said...

Peter Mayer, a N.O. based ad firm, has done their own stories thing here:

David found it at the Eyebeam Reblog, which is a great contemp art "reblog"

for info about what a reblog is

Courtney said...

for more stories,
a continuing project by Mondo Bizarro