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Tragedy and Triumph: Photographer Michael Ainsworth

One of the storytelling photographs I was lucky to capture was at the Louisiana Superdome as thousands of evacuees waited to escape the hellish place that had been their shelter during Hurricane Katrina. Families struggled for hours in a mass of humanity for a bus that would take them from the deteriorating conditions inside the Superdome. These people didnít know where they were going, but at least they wanted to keep their families together. Nettie Thompson, bottom left (with the baseball cap), yells for her grandchildren to stay close to her during their ordeal.

New Orleans residents escaping the Superdome Michael Ainsworth, The Dallas Morning News

Michael AinsworthI knew this photo was important the moment I took it. I didnít know how important until William Snyder, director of photography at The Dallas Morning News, called asking why I hadnít given him notice that the photo would be coming later in the day. I was just busy doing my job, filing the images as quickly as possible.

The next day, this picture ran on the front page of hundreds of newspapers worldwide. The response reaffirmed that the work we do is important and that it can influence people in profound ways. I hope this one image helped the evacuees in some way by showing their plight.

Ė Michael Ainsworth


Louis Jones and Catherine McZeal wading through flooded street On Sept. 1, 2005, crisis brought 81-year-old Louis Jones, left, and 62-year-old Catherine McZeal together as they tried to navigate Poydras Street en route to the Superdome. Both said their children couldn't get through barricades to help them evacuate. (Photo: Michael Ainsworth, The Dallas Morning News)


rescue squad carries a woman to a medical tent On Sept. 3, 2005, in Chalmette, La., a Canadian fire and rescue squad carried a woman to a medical tent after she was evacuated. Katrina turned Chalmette and surrounding St. Bernard Parish towns into wastelands of splintered trees, abandoned cars, wrecked homes and toxic sludge. (Photo: Michael Ainsworth, The Dallas Morning News)




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