Staying Behind In New Orleans

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September 25, 2005|By Andre F. Chung | Andre F. Chung,Sun Photographer

When I arrived in New Orleans, my assignment was to concentrate on the narrative. Most of the images we had seen until then had immediacy but lacked depth. My editor told me to dig deeper, and I wanted to provide a better understanding of the motives of the people I met.

After riding through the city for a few days, it was apparent that large areas were uninhabitable, but many people had chosen to stay in their homes. Gregory Scott and his band of "Robin Hood Looters" (above) had already seen that there was little help coming from the government. They had camped out on high ground at the edge of their neighborhood and had been ferrying food and water back and forth to people still trapped in their homes. If someone wanted to be evacuated, they would bring them out. "That's my home. That's my family. How can I turn my back on something like that?" Scott said.

John Lacy (above left) said he only wanted to continue his simple life. "I'm not trying to leave. I just stay to myself, mind my business," he said. He took me to his home, one room with a tiny bathroom and galley kitchen. There were holes in his roof, but the place was neat. He recounted how, two days before, the National Guard had taken him to the airport for relocation. When he had an opportunity, he snuck out and walked home. "Somebody has to watch over all this," he said.

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