Manner + Lane
Gnarled oak trees stand stubborn and proud in a quiet, isolated quarter of Louisiana, surrounded by soaked marshes and ramshackle homes on stilts. This is what Kael Alford was searching for when she arrived on the coast in 2005 to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – and to uncover the battered roots of her family tree, reaching back through her maternal grandmother.
If you are subscribed to Manner + Lane‘s biweekly newsletter, you received my recent story about Kael Alford, the Dallas-based photojournalist whose series Bottom of da Boot is currently on display at the Atlanta High Museum. I loved telling a small part of Kael’s story because she is a former Yankee-turned-Southerner, like me, and a successful freelance journalist, like I want to be.
Her photos of Isle de Jean-Charles and Pointe-aux-Chenes in Southern Louisiana tell a story of a small French and Native American population desperately holding on to their small plot of land that is rapidly disappearing from the threat of storms, erosion, and poverty. Her collection served as the inspiration for the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, and was the basis of her recent $5,000 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography award.
Here are a few other photos Kael shared after our interview.