August 6, 2008 - "Katrina Exhibit"

An exhibit opening this weekend in Baton Rouge offers a unique reflection on destruction and on hope. The subject is hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

In it you'll find photographs from the storm--devastation, but also renewal. Katrina and her aftermath also inspired paintings and sculpture by more than 100 Louisiana artists. The works are brought together in "40 Days and 40 Nights: the Artistic Resilience of Louisiana." The exhibit opens Saturday at the State Archives building.

Secretary of State Jay Dardenne stands in font of a gallery entrance. There stands the front of a home which once stood at 407 Telemachus Street in New Orleans. "This house literally took on eight feet of water in the storm," says Dardenne. "It was located in the Ninth Ward, and it was salvaged and deconstructed, treated and then reconstructed and brought to Baton Rouge to be rebuilt in essence--at least the facade--here at the Archives to set the stage for this very, very interesting and innovative exhibit."

The gallery is filled with artifacts recovered from the hurricane. Secretary Dardenne says, "You're going to see the horns that belonged to one of New Orleans' most renowned musicians. You're going to see the cameras that were destroyed in the studio of Don Young, the photographer for the Port of New Orleans who helped to create this exhibit."

Dardenne says the artifacts and art--plus music, poetry and drama--drive home a compelling message: "The spirit of the Louisiana resiliency that has been recaptured by these artists whose spirit is going to continue to live."

The exhibit opens Saturday with a 6 PM reception which will include music, a play and invocation by Archbishop Alfred Hughes.