Katrina Survivors Give NYC Hope in Sandy's Aftermath
John is one of many survivors of Hurricane Katrina who shared words of wisdom and solidarity for New Yorkers in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
CREDIT: Andy Kopsa
Survivors of Hurricane Katrina's devastation know all too well what New Yorkers are going through in the struggle to find food, clean water and gasoline in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Some of their empathetic messages directed at New York City have begun appearing online through a new tumbler website.
The "NOLA to New York" tumbler is the brainchild of Andy Kopsa, a freelance journalist who calls New York home but who also once lived in New Orleans. Unable to return from her latest New Orleans (NOLA) trip because of Hurricane Sandy, Kopsa decided to go around on foot collecting words of wisdom from Katrina survivors — a project that helped take her mind off worrying about her husband and friends in New York.
John, a NOLA resident who had to evacuate to Baton Rouge because of Hurricane Katrina, appears on "NOLA to New York" holding a sign with his written message for New Yorkers. Other NOLA residents also appear in the same format holding signs.
"Be resilient," John said. "Y'all will make it through this because y'all been through hell before."
Some of the written messages tried to convey lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina experience. That was the approach taken by Calvin, a NOLA resident who evacuated to seven different cities because of Katrina.
"It's not about the material things," Calvin said. "It's about each other!"
Other messages conveyed simpler ideas of shared experience or wisdom. Laura, a Katrina survivor who evacuated to Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey before returning home, wrote "Inner Strength" on her sign.
Laura, a reporter who covered Katrina's devastation of her hometown of New Orleans from Baton Rouge, held a sign saying "It shapes you" with the "o" in "you" replaced by a drawn heart.
Sometimes the photos and signs alone didn't do justice to the gestures of solidarity. When Kopsa asked a NOLA resident named Yolanda about what she would like to tell New Yorkers, Yolanda simiply gave her a hug and said "pray."