Skip to main content

Five years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Katie Bowler and photographer Donn Young found themselves leading an “NBC Nightly News” crew to Young’s studio to save what was left of the 1.35 million images that Young had taken of the city over a 35-year career.

When they arrived, they found nearly all of those images had been under 10 feet of water, and 40,000 of them could be saved.

Bowler, now the assistant dean for communications at Carolina’s School of Law, would later write “State Street,” a book of poetry that captured the surreal landscape of post-Karina New Orleans by chronicling their expedition into Young’s ruined studio. She and Young are also engaged.

Young will be part of a campus event called “Hurricane Katrina Five Years Later: A Humanities-Focused Observance” September 8-10. He will be part of a panel discussion in Gerrard Hall to discuss the ongoing impact of Hurricane Katrina on the people and communities of the Gulf Coast.

The observance was organized by the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters, in partnership with the Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity, the School of Government and the School of Law Pro Bono Program to explore the human impact of the storm through workshops, storytelling, photography, singing and songwriting.

A series of free events will explore the storm’s impact on people and communities and how lives are being rebuilt and renewed.