Transformation after Katrina
Linda Rosamano
Blue Moon/Sweet Sorrow

I am a native of New Orleans and grew up in my city's rich and diverse cultural gumbo. I grew up listening to the R&B, Gospel, and Jazz music of the Crescent City.  I have fond memories of dancing with my aunts in our shotgun-double as a child. It was also as a child that I developed a delight in painting, sculpting, and dabbling in mixed media crafts.  In 1972 I received a degree in Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans.

I started a career teaching art to adults and children which eventually led to a career in social work. Although art was my passion, I worked 31 years in the social work arena. This all ended on August 29, 2005 with Hurricane Katrina ripping through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Like many, I left my native city, my home, and my job. Upon returning to New Orleans without employment, I was now reawakened as a full time artist. My present series of paintings and assemblages reflect the grief, horror, and devastation of my community. My art deals with the loss and suffering of my community, exploring themes of death and devastation, hope and resurrection, and the healing power of compassion. Now I knew loss and felt a deep bond with families whose loved ones were taken by Katrina. Both of my parents had been ill and seven weeks after the storm they passed away together, only hours apart.

In all of New Orleans' neighborhoods, Hurricane Katrina churned out hills of debris. Sifting through the rubble, I was inspired by the spirit of hope to explore my own "Transformation After Katrina." I constructed assemblages from pieces of wood, tin, glass, sheetrock, tiles, plastic and personal items such as photos of children. Recycling storm debris seemed a fitting metaphor for destruction/transformation. Included in this series are post-Katrina images: X's spray-painted on homes signifying if a house was empty or if a dead body lay inside. These are some of the images along with my personal iconography I painted on wood panels and slate, debris I continue to collect and which can still be found in New Orleans streets.

I hope that my art speaks out to my community and inspires healing. In my own way, I tried to speak to those in our government who have the power and the means to protect our people from future disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

Crescent City Rising/The Sign

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