When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast four years ago, on August 29, 2005 Lewis Watts was two thousand miles away in his home in Richmond, California. He was a few days shy of beginning a residency at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art at the University of New Orleans where he planned to continue an eleven year project of photographing the city and its residents. Needless to say, his plans for a residency were interrupted and Watts, like many of us, observed the natural disaster of the storm and political disaster of the governments failure to respond through the mediation of television sets and news broadcasts.
Watts’ relationship to the South began as an informed visitor and has, over time, evolved into a participant, witness and documentarian. Watts was born in Little Rock though he was raised in Seattle, Washington and for the past forty years has lived in the Bay Area. As a child his summers were spent in his grandparents’ houses in Georgia and Arkansas. In 1994 Watts... More