Katrina, three years on: Clayton Cubitt

Photographer Clayton Cubitt updated his "Operation Eden" blog today to mark the third year since Hurricane Katrina. He grew up in and around New Orleans. That's his mom on the far left. Here was his first post on that blog. She lost their (very modest) family home in the storm, as did many thousands of other moms, many thousands of other families. Clayton's mother is doing okay, but in spite of -- not thanks to -- the systems we're supposed to rely on in America, the systems created to help the helpless in greatest time of need. New Orleans -- and all the other poor communities nearby, all hard hit by Katrina -- never mended. Snip from Clayton's post today:

She recently received a creepy pre-recorded phone warning from Governor Haley Barbour telling her to evacuate in the path of Gustav, as if she wasn't planning on it already.

That's her on the left in the above picture. Next to her is her childhood friend Russell. Next to him is her sister, my aunt Lorraine, who's self conscious about her down-turned smile since the stroke, but who I think is just as beautiful and beaming as she's always been. The three of them grew up together first on Piety Street, then on McKain Street, in New Orleans.

Their dads worked together in the junkyard, chopping up cars for scrap using big hand axes. Russell had nineteen brothers and sisters, in a family poorer even than mine. Now he lives in a FEMA trailer on an abandoned lot with two dogs, a bunch of Katrina junk, a statue of the Virgin Mary he hand painted, and an old school bus backed up to a canal cruised by alligators, which he fishes out of for meals.

His sister was murdered in New Orleans last week. The New York Times wrote a piece about the crime in New Orleans, the crime that took Russell's sister.

Three Years On (Operation Eden)