There’ll be plenty of Hurricane Katrina remembrances over the weekend, the fifth anniversary of the deadly storm that still makes us shake our head when we look back at the pictures.

When I was in New Orleans in January, Frank Vardeman of St. Paul, who spends most of his time working in disaster services in New Orleans for the Presbyterian Church, took me on a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward. One of the pieces of information he gave me that I found most surprising is that the city is still assessing taxes on the heavily damaged homes.

It’s clear that New Orleans has come a long way. NPR’s Picture Show blog accompanies Getty Images photographer Mario Tama’s return to the city. He tells the story not with pictures of buildings, but with pictures of faces.

(Update 8:46 a.m. Sat.) – Here are more images from Tama’s new book.


In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, about 800 residents of New Orleans ended up in Minnesota. Many returned, but if you know a few people who didn’t, please let me know. I’d like to talk to them.

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