June 16th, 2020

I-10 Contraflow Traffic - 8.28.05

In early August 2005, two weeks before Katrina struck South Florida and the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts, M. Darryl Woods visited a link to a map entitled the “Contraflow Plan” on the Louis Armstrong Int’l Airport’s website. Why? He has always been fascinated by aviation, geography and Louisiana, the homeland of his father, grandfather and great grandfather. The map appeared to show a plan for evacuating Greater New Orleans in the event of an approaching hurricane. We know what happened at the end of August 2005…or do we?

Not long after the 1st anniversary of Katrina, Woods’ part-time research project turned long-term. Needing a name, he thought back to that map and a definition of the word Contraflow: “flow in the opposite direction of normal”. Woods also thought back to all of the experiences shared with me by survivors returning home from across the nation during the 2005-2006 Repopulation Era of New Orleans while he was embedded in the 7th Ward at Camp Mama D. It did not take long for him to realize that there was nothing ‘normal’ about the ‘flow’ out of Greater New Orleans during immediately after the Storm. Hence, The Contraflow Project (TCP) picked up were he left off.

TCP spent the past fourteen-plus years documenting Katrina’s global effect and Post-Katrina New Orleans. TCP plans to transform its manuscript development project into three literary projects. The first being the “CONTRAFLOW: A Katrina Heptalogy“. The seven-part book series will shed more light on what really happened during the first week of Katrina. One cannot begin to comprehend this mega-disaster until one comprehends the many still untold heroic stories of the local, intrastate, interstate, federal and international responders, as well as the neighborhood survivors turned responders.

Contraflow Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and fiscal sponsor of the Contraflow Research Project, which operates under the name of The Contraflow Project (TCP); a non-profit research organization whose mission includes studying Katrina responders, survivors, volunteers, and documenting the New Orleans recovery, culture and history. TCP has operated in the the historic Treme Neighborhood of New Orleans, one block away from the nation’s oldest African American Catholic church, St. Augustine.

TCP’s vision is to provide the public, especially those involved in or concerned about public safety and emergency management around the country, a clearer ‘rear window’ view of what really happened in New Orleans during the first week of Katrina. Much information has already been disseminated. However, we have yet to see all of it placed in proper context. In addition, we want to shed more light on the role of the neighborhood responders; who worked hand in hand with the government agencies and military to pull off the largest post-disaster evacuation in American history.

Many Katrina responders from across the nation were unduly tainted by the broad “Unacceptable” stroke that was painted a week into the biggest natural disaster in American history. We feel that the public still does not know what really happened. We have spent close to seven years interviewing responders as well as survivors, and analyzing piles, stacks, boxes and gigabytes of research data. We look forward to our research findings being released in the form of a non-fiction book entitled CONTRAFLOW; as well as giving our take on what life was like in the New Orleans 7th Ward during the surreal Repopulation Era in the form of a documentary entitled WATER LINES.

Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005 Katrina responder on 8.29.05 Fats Domino being rescued by Port of New Orleans Harbor Police Dept
FEMA Causeway & I-10 Survivors in cattle-like pens at the Superdome on 9.1.05 waiting to board buses
OPP prisoners on the S. Broad St. I-10 overpass Louis Armstrong Airport on 9.2.05, arguably the busiest airspace in the world Delta Humanitarian Fl. 9900 MSY - ATL on 9.1.05
Algiers Point Ferry Terminal on 9.2.05 Pres. Bush and Mayor Nagin at New Orleans Louis Armstrong Airport Pres. Bush, Sec. Rumsfeld, CGCS Gen. Myers and Sec. Chertoff at the White House
82nd Airborne Division Rick Mathieu and the Soul Patrol feeding FEMA and USFWS responders chicken gumbo at their rooftop camp in the 7th Ward Kim Cardriche and AR Gov. Mike Huckabee and a relief camp at Ft. Chaffee on 9.4.05
Oklahoma National Guard patrolling Uptown New Orleans Newsweek story: "Poverty, Race and Katrina: Lessons of a National Shame" Michael Woods watching the Rick Mathieu on the nonstop Katrina coverage "Crisis in the Gulf"
Rick Mathieu's Katrina damaged home in Treme Mama D with volunteers from NYC and Philadelphia gutting homes on Christmas Day '05 a "Katrina car" in the 7th Ward
Whittier College filmmakers and researchers in the 7th Ward Mama D around the camp fire in her driveway on N. Dorgenois FEMA Trailer Camp
Makin' Groceries in Treme at St. Augustine Church Lampooning in response to Mayor Nagin's MLK Day "Chocolate City" remark St. Augustine Church Protest
Spike Lee filming "When the Levees Broke"  

Road Home Program


1.11.07 Nola Anti-Crime & Survival March on City Hall
Bayou Classic Greater New Orleans Tornado on 2.13.07 May. Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu announcing the return of the Essence Festival to New Orleans in 2007
2007 Essence Festival returns to New Orleans BCS Title Game 1.7.08 in the Superdome - LSU 38, Ohio State 24 Filmmakers Lolis Elie and Dawn Logsdon on 2.17.08 after the Treme neighborhood premier of their film "Faubourg Treme"
Mardi Gras Indiana on Fat Tuesday '08 in Treme Sen. Obama campaigning at Tulane on 2.7.08 2008 NBA All-Star Game
New Orleans-native Lil Wayne Angi Bachemin on the percussions at JazzFest Hurricane Gustav emergency alert sign
Gustav evacuees at the New Orleans Amtrak Station Dr. John in from of Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme on Fat Teusday New Orleans RTA streetcar
Voluntourists in the French Quarters Saints #22 Tracy Porter returning the Super Bowl winning touchdown HBO's 'Treme' filming on Treme & Barracks Street on 3.16.10
St. Joseph's Day in the Upper 7th Ward Mayor Mitch Landrieu's inauguration Super Sunday Second Line in Central City in front of Ashe's Cultural Center
Crescent City Classic Marathon coming up Esplanade Ave. in Treme Urban Adventurers from New York City on Treme St. Treme Brass Band member at the end of the French Quarter Festival Second Line
Deepwater Horizon oil platform on fire in the Gulf of Mexioco Pres. Obama speaking with Louisiana fishermen who were affected by the BP Gulf oil spill Food Court at JazzFest
Canadian reporter Justin Hayward interview Treme residents on the oil spill for the CBC Rep. William Jefferson Trial NOPD at a murder scene
US Attorney General Eric Holder & US Attorney Jim Letten announcing the indictment of sis NOPD officers Lower 9th Ward Second Line Parade  marking the 5-year Anniversary of Katrina "Heroes of the Storm" benefit - Soul Patrol members Manny Mathieu, Rick Mathieu and American Red Cross New Orleans CEO Kay Wilkins
Baby Dolls at the Battle of the Brass Bands 'Under the (I-10) Bridge' in Treme Oak Street PoBoy Fest TCP Lead Researcher Michael Woods on Treme Street


TCP, in Post-Katrina New Orleans (2005 – 2010); and beyond…

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