Scottsdale Public Art

Temporary Art

When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina

When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina features interview-poems and photographs of a cross-section of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who passed through, evacuated to, or relocated to Arizona. Firsthand accounts and dramatic stories of Katrina evacuees highlight the exhibition. Drawn from the recently released book of the same title, the exhibit tracks in detail twelve individual journeys from Louisiana to Phoenix.


Writer Cynthia Hogue and photographer Rebecca Ross investigated how people survive the shock of catastrophe—of dislocation, loss of intimacy, loss of community, and the disappearance of ways one had of making a living. Hogue created poems from interviews with evacuees, using only the interviewees’ words. Their words, shaped formally and visually to communicate the depth of these individual experiences, highlight the poetry of the evacuees' language. Through black-and-white photographs of people, places, and personal belongings, Ross examined evacuees’ recreated present and retraced their steps to relate a poignant sense of journey, loss, and beginning again.


Responding to the itinerant nature of the evacuees who participated in this project, the artists document both the new lives begun in the desert and the remnants of Gulf Coast roots. Poems and photographs are woven together, creating portraits of individual lives profoundly touched by trauma and tragedy, travail and resilience. 

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