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Columbia College Chicago
City of Memory

City of Memory

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Distributed by The University of Georgia Press

Photography, New Orleans

10 x 9

Page count:
96 pages

Illustration count and type:
96 pages

Publication date:
November  2009

New Orleans Before and After Katrina
by John Woodin, with an essay by Craig E. Colten


    One year before Hurricane Katrina flooded his childhood home, photographer John Woodin returned to the city that shaped his life. Led by intuition and fading memories, Woodin wandered the neighborhoods of his youth and photographed the architecture of the working poor, documenting the conflict between of order and chaos, the effects of poverty and neglect, and the incongruous beauty of decay.
    The day after the search for Katrina's victims was abandoned, Woodin returned to the same locations he documented the year before. Most of the visual landmarks he relied on were altered or missing, and the neighborhood he grew up in was barely recognizable. It was as if a lifetime had passed since his last visit. Pairing photos of pre- and post- Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, Woodin creates a document of the changes resulting from that natural disaster. The photographs remind us how tenuous our own existence is and how quickly our worlds can change.

Author Biography

John Woodin was born and raised in New Orleans. He received a B.A. in communications from the University of New Orleans and a M.F.A. in photography from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. He is an adjunct associate professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he has taught photography since 1990. His fine-art photographs have been exhibited internationally and are held in private and public collections, including the Allentown Art Museum, Library of Congress, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Smithsonian Museum of American Art, among others. He and his wife, Amy Orr, are co-editors of The Artist’s Guide to Philadelphia, 5th Edition (1990).