New Orleans Five Years After the Water

Shawn Escoffery is a New Orleans-based photographer who says he seeks to uncover beauty in the often-overlooked images of everyday life.

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  • Stars, Stripes & Red Tape

    Stars, Stripes & Red Tape

    Many New Orleanians are feeling less patriotic these days after the experience of navigating government red tape to access any resources for rebuilding after the storm.

  • Trailers, Parked

    Trailers, Parked

    Five years after Katrina, some families still live in trailers with the hope of rehabilitating their homes one day.

  • The Magnolia, Abandoned

    The Magnolia, Abandoned

    Originally built in 1941 and expanded in 1955, much of the Magnolia Projects sat vacant and in disrepair before Hurricane Katrina dealt a final blow. 

  • The Magnolia, Clouded

    The Magnolia, Clouded

    The Magnolia, like all public housing in New Orleans, was shut down after the storm, feeding accusations that officials didn’t want the poor to return. 

  • The Magnolia, Reborn

    The Magnolia, Reborn

    The Magnolia has been transformed into a 460-unit mixed-income development billed as Harmony Oaks.

  • Call Me Harmony Oaks

    Call Me Harmony Oaks

    Harmony Oaks boasts a lower density, ample green space and design with traditional New Orleans architectural elements.

  • No Sign of Progress

    No Sign of Progress

    Developers face a tough challenge building in neighborhoods surrounded by blight.

  • Can Old and New Coexist?

    Can Old and New Coexist?

    Throughout the city, new modern designs are popping up — often clashing with the appeal of traditional New Orleans architecture.

  • The New Treme

    The New Treme

    A modern home in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, focus of the HBO TV show by the same name.

  • A Lonely Levee

    A Lonely Levee

    A rebuilt levee wall stands prominently over a field of green that once was filled with houses in the Lower Ninth Ward.

  • Homeless, Not Sleepless

    Homeless, Not Sleepless

    The homeless population in New Orleans has more than doubled since Hurricane Katrina.

  • Empty Shelter

    Empty Shelter

    Many of the homeless have sought refuge in some of the 50,000 vacant and blighted properties throughout the city. 

  • Old St. Bernard

    Old St. Bernard

    After the storm, the St. Bernard housing project sat vacant while redevelopment plans were debated.

  • New St. Bernard

    New St. Bernard

    The barrack-style public housing complex has been replaced with a vibrant mixed-income community.

  • The New and the Old

    The New and the Old

    Newly built apartment buildings are sprouting up in the shadows of the former Columbia Parc public housing development.

  • Fitting In

    Fitting In

    The new mixed-income development captures many traditional New Orleans architectural elements and colors.

  • Sidewalk Driver

    Sidewalk Driver

    With many of the public parks in disrepair, children innovate by playing in the streets or on neighborhood sidewalks.

  • Memory Steps

    Memory Steps

    In parts of the Lower Ninth Ward, steps were all that remained after the water receded.

  • Green Palace

    Green Palace

    Brad Pitt and his Make it Right Foundation are building energy-efficient state-of-the-art homes in the shadows of the levee that breached and caused endless devastation.

  • Going, Going ...

    Going, Going ...

    Five years after the storm, a house in the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood slowly deteriorates.

  • Wither Charity?

    Wither Charity?

    The uncertain fate of Charity Hospital remains a hot topic in a city that is suffering from a depleted medical system.

  • Return to Violence

    Return to Violence

    New Orleans is still grappling with an extremely high violent-crime rate.

  • Off the Ball

    Off the Ball

    The city’s underfunded Recreation Department is struggling to repair public parks and playgrounds and to provide programs for youth.  

  • The Optimist

    The Optimist

    Central City resident James Andrews remains optimistic that both his neighborhood and New Orleans will recover fully from the effects of the storm.

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