Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in US history. It caused $US81 billion in property damage over a span of 90,000 square miles, an expanse of land larger than the entire state of Minnesota.
Sobering as those statistics are, they don’t really capture the horror of life in the aftermath.
The work of photographer Joe Raedle does.
These photographs show just one of the many thousands people who endured the whipping winds and 20-foot floods in Louisiana and Mississippi, yet still mustered the strength to bounce back.
The above photo was taken on September 3, 2005. Brian Mollere’s home in Waveland, Mississippi, had just been destroyed. His mother, who had tried to endure the storm inside the home, didn’t make it.
When Raedle showed up, Mollere was clutching his dog Rocky next to the makeshift shelter he’d built on the debris of his former home. The sense of desperation is palpable.
But Mollere — and Waveland — rebuilt themselves.
The below photo was taken on August 26, 2015.
Nearly 10 years after losing everything, Mollere sits on the front porch holding a small box of Rocky’s ashes.
Mollere rebuilt the house on top of the existing concrete slab. It was just about all that was left, but for a renewed chance at normalcy, the platform was enough.
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