In September 2005, I found myself unexpectedly living in Lafayette, Louisiana, where my parents live, about 130 miles west of New Orleans— enough distance to escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. But after Katrina came Rita, as if the Gulf coast hadn’t suffered enough. Lafayette didn’t receive the brunt of the hurricane’s force, but it did experience high winds.
One hot afternoon driving in heavy traffic, inching along Kaliste Saloom Road, I took these pictures of billboards whose layers had been peeled away by the gusts of Rita. The power of hurricanes evokes in my mind images of uprooted trees and roof shingles blown off houses—and worse. It seemed odd to see this more subtle manifestation of their power.