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Tragedy and Triumph: Photographer Tom Fox

After a week covering Hurricane Katrina, I met up with Texas National Guard members operating out of Loyola University and Children’s Hospital. Another hot and humid day was coming to a close when we learned of four people stranded in a low-income neighborhood west of downtown. An attempt to reach them via a five-ton military truck failed, so we returned for a pair of much taller 10-ton heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks (HEMTT). 

National Guardsman in New Orleans Tom Fox, The Dallas Morning News

It was dead quiet on the deserted street as the trucks ground to a stop in 6 feet of water. The guardsmen feared for their safety despite the machine guns they carried. Guardsman Specialist Brian Jimenez of Richardson (pictured above) hunkered down in the mammoth truck waiting for some sign—or sound—of life.

As the rumbling diesel fell silent, an echoing call came from the cab: “Hello? Hello?” No one answered.

Tom FoxThere have been times when I put myself in peril to get a picture, but never in 15 years of professional shooting had I worn body armor. Still, I got the photo, but I had only a few minutes to make the Sunday paper. It took navigating the tree-strewn streets in the pitch-dark Garden District to find my way back to the West Bank to file.

This was only one example of the many surreal circumstances we encountered in New Orleans trying to cover the story of our lives.

– Tom Fox

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