Chuck explained to me that he had been living in his trailer with his three-legged dog, Spunk, for going on two years. He’s a marble worker and tiler by trade, offering his services to his neighbors that are getting back on their feet and rebuilding their houses. He has even made a poker table for the governor of
This essay documents the remaining FEMA trailers and the people that live in them. Since this essay’s infancy, it was always meant to be a sensitive retelling of the state of New Orleans and the under-represented population that occupies FEMA trailers. I never intended for this essay to be a documentation of tragedy, or for my travels to be considered disaster tourism, a practice that I consider ethically ambiguous. Not all stories are happy, but, by the same measure, not all stories are sad. This series of photographs conveys, as truthfully as I can, the stories of the people documented in this visual essay.
This project began, in earnest, in September 2008 when I traveled to
After having followed the story for years, I was convinced that I knew all that I needed to make a successful photo essay. I quickly found out that my perceptions of the situation at hand were largely incorrect. Talking to residents of
I returned to
In the same way that the project underwent a creative genesis, this book has evolved significantly from its original published form. As I reflect on it now, the original book was hastily made, so in assembling this second, revised version, the standards I set for myself were much more stringent. Now that I have the experience of presenting this work in the form of a book once, presenting old and new material in the same way is a different experience. Just as my photographic process has changed, the process of presenting this work has also changed. This new book is the logical progression from the original offering.
The number of trailers in
This project will continue to evolve until there are no longer any FEMA trailers in
To this day, Chuck is still slowly rebuilding the house that his father built. He is like so many others in