August 31, 2005

On The Sidelines of the Sidelines


In the face of the horrendous tragedy in New Orleans, the news images carry with them a countless number of fateful themes. 

Beginning with the weekend evacuation, one unstated subtext running through much of the reporting involved the disparate prospects between rich and poor.  In many accounts, for example, the more well-to-do were securing refuge by way of upper-floor hotel rooms, or escape via rental cars and long-haul taxi rides.

On the other hand, those of modest mean mostly headed for the football stadium.

In looking through the painful photos coming out of this ravaged city, I was particularly struck by the scenes shot at the New Orleans Superdome — which seemed to have transformed, almost overnight, into the world’s largest disaster shelter.


Besides people trying to adapt to the building as living quarters, what I found ironic was the fact that  this was the only way the lower income evacuees — not to mention the needy or indigent — would ever get close to these field level seats. 


As I publish this blog, I think every day about those things I constantly see in news photos but rarely see in the news.  In the face of a disaster of this magnitude, who can imagine the kind of blow Katrina administered to those who were devastated already?

(Note: If you found this post via search engine, I have a more recent entry with additional Katrina Superdome images and commentary here.)

(images: Eric Gay/AP.  Around midnight, August 28, 2005.  New Orleans Superdome.  At YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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