Artists' Interest From Katrina Disaster
January 1, 1970CARMEL ARTISTS’ CONCERNS ABOUT KATRINA
By Steve Shapiro
New Orleans devastated by hurricane Katrina with art works vulnerable and taken care of by private gallery owners and professional museum curators should offer lessons of relief for Carmel residents.
Joshua Mann Pailet, A Gallery of Fine Art Photography reports to photography artists, “I Just got out last night. I could have stayed , my supplies would have lasted for seven more days.”
Mann Pailet’s personal observations are unique in the face of media reports.
“The fires have started,” Mann Pailet goes into detail. “The reports of looting downtown are exaggerated. Yes, they broke into the grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, for food, etc. Canal street had a few hours of thugs doing sports shops, but all other shops and the ENTIRE French Quarter is safe and untouched. The storm did glass and roof damage and trees UPTOWN Just needs to be swept. Looks LESS dirty than a typical Mardi Gras day.
About the art works and his personal safety, he says “I was never threatened. 99.9% of our people are heroic, stoic, and human beings of great quality.” Mostly, concern for the art works were confirmation of reassurance.
“THE FLOOD did NOT get into the Fr. Quarter and along the river to AUDUBON PARK,” Mann Pailet’s reassurance echoed concerns for public places, too.
“I stayed and helped and photographed and bicycled these areas every day.” He put some time into help and documentation. “NO shooters, some idiots, but everyone doing the best to get along and survive. Other flooded areas, it is very desperate and there are some battles going on, but very isolated.”
“I stayed in the Qtr at A Gallery. The building and contents is presently fine.” Some local artists may find relief in his care for the photography collection he preserved. “I will be going back soon to help the other people.”
“The Amazing people of NEw Orleans will survive and rebuild.” Mann Pailet may be a gallery director, and seems a strong humanitarian. Mann Pailet is not without criticism of the situation, however different his slant.
“The media stayed on Canal Street,” Man Pailet sees, “and are missing the real story. Unfortunately, the "looting" story is all they had downtown and its repetitious playing of that footage has setback recovery. IT FALSELY scared off the rescuers, I guess. Too many rumors reported without eyewitness verification. Bad business, needs to change.”
Beauvoir, where Jefferson Davis’ personal residence stood in Biloxi Mississippi was completely destroyed, reported by Larry McCluny.
The AABGA (Garden Association) reports from Fred Spencer that the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, Louisiana showed how ‘Mother Nature has done some pruning’ but the garden suffered no structural damage.
Melissa Weber public affairs director at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans Louisiana suffered minor structural damage, windows and doors had blown out and some flooding may have damaged the ground floor art works. Mostly these collections were saved by actions taken when evacuation orders were issued. While the Historic New Orleans Collection is well and intact, reported Priscilla Lawrence giving due thanks to neighboring institutions for adopting works into their protective archives.
Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans Public Information director Kacey Hill states other museums offer comfort and assistance to safeguard the state’s art treasures.
New Orleans Museum of art director Steven Maklansky reported their museum in the French Quarter weathered the storm, being built high on ground. Some of NOMA’s staff rode out the hurricane inside the museum.
These reports and many others confirm what Joshua Mann Pailet described in somewhat emotional detail.
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