Montclair State University's Gallery One Presents: "Ruin and Recovery: New Orleans in Photographs"

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in August 2005, it left in its wake a trail of devastation and destruction. However, the true calamity unfolded after the storm. "Ruin and Recovery: News Orleans in Photographs," an exhibit of photographs presented with students' written reflections on their experience visiting the city, will open Thursday, November 14 and run through December 20 in Montclair State University's Gallery One.

Antonio DiBenedetto is one of nineteen Montclair State University students who traveled to New Orleans in March 2008 as part of an alternative spring break program led by Professor Kate McCaffrey of the Anthropology Department. The students volunteered with a number of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities, to provide help and support wherever it was needed. According to McCaffrey "the images and the words of this exhibition speak to the ongoing difficulties of New Orleans residents to recover from Katrina, and the sensitivity of our youth to one of America's worst disasters."

DiBenedetto's poignant photos reflect the students' experience in New Orleans, and their interpretation of Katrina's aftermath. In the Ninth Ward, for example, DiBenedetto came upon a photo album in front of a house. "I don't know whose it (was). I don't even know if it belonged to the people who lived in that house. It could have floated over from anywhere. Only a week or two beforehand we had been talking about family photos in my Photo II class and we talked about how if your house catches on fire or something happens, what's the first thing everyone runs out with? Albums. So, that just told me that this family just didn't have time to get their albums or they just didn't make it out. That kind of hit me."

Montclair State's Gallery One is located on the second floor of the DuMont Broadcasting Center.
An opening reception will take place November 14, 6 - 8 p.m.
Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 12:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Released: November 11, 2008