One evening a year, as the clock ticks toward midnight, New Orleans musicians, artists, photographers, authors and film directors come together for an annual grassroots commemorative event, to share with the public their artistic response to Hurricane Katrina.
“We have it on the anniversary eve of Katrina, because that is the day that our lives were normal — and then it crosses over into midnight where our lives were changed forever,” said Patty Lee, founder and host of Katrina Artistically Revisited.
Now in its eighth year, Katrina Artistically Revisited is free and open to the public. The event is hosted annually by Lee and her husband, the New Orleans musician and entertainer Armand St. Martin.
“It is totally the community giving back to the community,” said Lee. “We stay reverent and respectful, and we try to stay away from anything controversial — people will be entertained while also being reflective about Katrina.”
From 10 p.m. there will be an array of Katrina-related musical performances, clips from award-winning documentaries, photographs and slide shows with personal stories from Katrina survivors.
Katrina survivors themselves, Lee and St. Martin evacuated and came back one month later to find their Mid-City home, where St. Martin was born, flooded and without a roof.
“We had this film, ‘Stillness,’ so I put together this idea of an annual event,” Lee said.
Said St. Martin: “We knew it was up to people like us to maintain and retain our part of New Orleans culture, because so much was torn apart by the diaspora. As the years have gone by there has been a lot of artistic response to the storm.”
Every year, locals and visitors keep coming back to remember, to learn and to heal through the sharing of visual art, music and words.
“We do it to remember those who perished,” Lee said, “and to honor those who survived.”