"How You Gonna Cross That Water," is what the Original Big Nine Social Aid and Pleasure Club sings when they parade across the Industrial Canal into their home neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward, one of most devastated during Hurricane Katrina. 'Cross that water' is a metaphor for the recovery of the whole city, especially for those working class African American communities that have struggled since The Storm. Though three-quarters of the population has returned, many thousands of black New Orleanians have not been able to come home in the past decade, a shifting demographic that challenges the very identity of a city defined by African American traditions and culture. The following pictures are part of an ongoing essay about these important black communities.
For the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, I collaborated with National Geographic's Proof photo blog to produce a series of stories about the current issues my native city and the surrounding areas. The thumbnail picture to the right links to this series of stories.