We started this project, quite frankly, because we became dissatisfied with media coverage of Hurricane Katrina. This is not to say that we were attempting to out do anyone, just that there was too much missing from the reporting. It was too straightforward and too succinct. People were either instant heroes or bottom feeding criminals. Where was the middle ground? What was happening with the issues from the previous day? What were people really feeling when a huge TV audience wasn’t staring at them? And what had happened to our own close friends who lived in the city?
There was one report that sticks. A lone cameraman moving through the streets giving a truthful honest commentary of what people were experiencing. There were no judgments just emotion. Seven days later, we were pulling into New Orleans in a rented white cargo van. The cab was filled with relief supplies, Justin, and a couple of cameras.
You can kind of protect yourselves from the initial hit of human suffering, but what you may not expect, what we did not expect is the emotion of animal suffering. Street by street you are smacked with howls, cries, and wails of pets locked in their homes, scratching at doors and windows, and chained in backyards. Lucky ones found themselves loose and would pack up with others. They at least had a chance. Their eyes were hazy lost and an evident physical toll fell on their bodies. It took nearly two weeks before any coordinated help arrived for pets much too late for many. We stayed on an extra week dealing strictly with animal rescue: food drops, water refills, finding pet owners. This one extra week became three and a half years.