arts & culture

Ten years ago, actor Wendell Pierce went home for a vacation between recording seasons of the hit HBO show The Wire.

As he stepped off the plane in New Orleans, the airport was chaotic. A massive hurricane called Katrina was closing in on the city.

"I was telling my parents 'Nah, let's just ride it out. Let's just stay,' " Pierce tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I went out that Saturday night and I kind of bluffed my parents and said 'Well, if they make it a mandatory evacuation, we'll leave.'

"That Sunday morning they did, and that's when I knew it was serious."

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Ten years ago this week New Orleans was under water. A decade later, people who survived the flood are still turning to art to make sense of Hurricane Katrina’s fury.

Several of the city’s major museums have acknowledged the anniversary with new exhibits, including one at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

This week on Inside the Arts: Catalyst, a juried exhibit presented by the New Orleans Photo Alliance celebrates the cultural vibrancy of the Crescent City Post-K.

Then, the arts community will raise the roof as Culture Collision kicks off the city's cultural season at The National WWII Museum.

And, the NOLA Project presents a new take on a doomed queen with the regional premier of David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette.

Airs Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 8:45 a.m.

This week on The Reading Life: reading and writing opportunities coming up this fall.

Susan's guests are Greg Herren, who’s bringing the Mystery Writers of America one-day university to New Orleans. He has a new book – The Orion Mask, and he’s included in a wonderful new cookbook, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For.

We’ll also hear from Megan Holt, of One Book One New Orleans, and Susan Blalock of Read Big Fat Books for Fun.

**Lagniappe Audio**

There are a lot of stories to tell about New Orleans.

There are uplifting stories about new houses, new shops and gigantic drainage projects. There are melancholy stories about everything residents lost in Hurricane Katrina, about all that can never be recovered. There are stories about all that remains to be done, 10 years after the hurricane and the levee failures.

And, throughout it all, there are love stories.

Want to hear one?

'It Was Still Mardi Gras'


Doug Niolet was a seasoned Hurricane Hunter for the Air Force Reserve. So of course, when Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast ten years ago, he had no plans to evacuate.

Miss Louisiana 2015 April Nelson says she's ready for Atlantic City. The 23-year old native of Mandeville, Nelson has spent the past two months in Monroe preparing for all facets of competition at the Miss America Pageant. 

Nelson left for the competition early on the morning of August 28. 

Nelson spent time preparing for the interview portion of Miss America in "mock" interviews, including one comprised of ULM faculty and staff.

The call is out for volunteer painters for the West Monroe seawall project Saturday.

Emery Thibodeaux, one of the "One Mile Of Love" project organizers, says the wall featuring local student artwork is in the last stages of completion.  "We have about 18 or 20 panels to do.  We have all the drawings projected.  Hopefully, we'll cover a lot of ground and wrap up in a couple weeks."

Food memories resonate from the post-Katrina experience in New Orleans. This offer of red beans and hospitality was displayed on a Mid-City home for months after the floods.
Ian McNulty

Sometimes a sound will bring it back, as random as loose siding beating against a wall, recalling a shredded city, or as overt as the diesel rumble of an army Humvee on city streets.

Even if you’re ready to close the door on Katrina and the levee failures, and plenty of us have, the persistence of sense memories may have other plans. It’s that vivid, involuntary recall of what we took in, and no matter where we managed to store it this stuff can come creeping back, even a decade later.