After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Chair Charles H. Traub co-founded “Here is New York,” a collection of 9/11-related photographs. Now, Traub is working with department alumni and staff and a number of other organizations to bring a similar approach to commemorating the losses incurred during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Do You Know What It Means? is an online archive of photography, video, family histories and interviews dedicated to preserving the history of pre-Katrina New Orleans. “We need to develop a new way of looking at and thinking about history,” says Traub, “as well as a way of making sense of all of the images which continue to haunt us.” The Web site, www.doyouknowwhatitmeans.org, already has several images posted and offers tools for people who would like to add to the archive.
Do You Know What It Means? (which takes its name from the Louis Armstrong song, “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”) had a kick-off event in New Orleans on November 8. The presentation at the Historic New Orleans Collection featured Traub, Dr. Joyce Jackson, associate professor of geography and anthropology at Louisiana State University, and alumnus Amy Stein (MFA 2006 Photography, Video and Related Media), who is serving as the project’s site director, identifying respondents, conducting interviews, determining criteria for input into the collection, and organizing and training local volunteers.
Image: From the Do You Know What It Means? online archive, 2006.