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Words by Mikael Lopez / Photos by J.J. Medina

New Orleans post-Katrina has been on my mind a lot during the last year. As a big fan of David Simon (and The Wire in particular) I was excited to see his new show Treme premiere last spring. While it didn’t quite reach the level of the Baltimore saga it’s still a fascinating look at how the city, its people and the music try to survive the consequences of a natural disaster of that size. The second season finale was just aired and a third season was just announced.

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While Treme deals with what happened a couple of months after, Spike Lee’s 4 hour plus When the Levees Broke from 2006 was a devastating document of what happened right before and during the disaster. Last year Lee returned to New Orleans to examine how the city was doing five years later in If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise. While there seems to be hope, things like gentrification, oil spills and personal tragedies threaten to extinguish it:

Finally, photographer Jamie-James Medina (who took the photo at the top and gave the post its name) visited New Orleans eight months after the hurricane which resulted in a feature showing “how a musical city is fighting to keep its heritage alive, and how individual musicians are still struggling/…/to deal with a situation in which/…/they find themselves painfully alone”:

Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins outside his family home

Two pianos left stranded in a church destroyed by the flood

A carnival Krewe

A member of the Hard Head Hunter Indians

You can see all of Medina’s photos here.