If a Tree Falls in the City

Trees in New Orleans' post-Katrina are pruned and battered but still standing.

February 09, 2015

When the winds, rains, and floods of Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans in 2005, they brought much suffering to the city's people and places. Abandoned homes and broken sidewalks hint to what happened 10 years ago, but the trees of the Big Easy tell a different story, one of resilience. 

Captivated by these broken limbs and twisted canopies, photographer Colleen Mullins set out to document them a year after the storm. Her collection, "Elysium," is meant to draw attention to the changing ecosystem and efforts to start over by planting new trees. In Bayou Bienvenue, for example, locals are planting cypresses to replace those killed by increasingly salty swamp water, thanks to construction projects, failed levees, and sea-level rise. Hopefully the city will grow both old and new roots.

Photo: Colleen Mullins

Photo: Colleen Mullins


Photo: Colleen Mullins

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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