10 Years After Hurricane Katrina
Ten years ago on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and history for the devastation she brought. Two photojournalists, Dave Ellis and Becky Sell, wanted to help after seeing a photo thrown away by a family that Becky was doing a story on. She did some photo restorations and then ask Dave if maybe they could go back and do a bigger effort to help those whose photos had been damaged. With the backing of their newspaper, The Free Lance Star, they traveled to Pass Christian, MS in January 30, 2006 to see if they could offer their help in restoring damaged photos. Here is Dave’s account of day 1.
Setting out on this project., Becky and I were fearful of many possible failures. We wondered if we discover the idea too late. We were concerned that there would be nothing left to save and that no one would show to take advantage of our volunteer work. We were completely wrong.
Today we opened for business. We were met by nearly 30 residents each bringing to us several photos. Our self-imposed limit was five per family, but we soon found that our spirit of generosity grew as more and more people came in. We have not done an official count, but I would estimate that we have taken in nearly 200 photos already.
On May 3, 2006, Dave and Becky made another trip back to help, but this time to Metairie, LA at the Jefferson Parish Library. Now 9 years later, Operation Photo Rescue is making the same trip back. Little did Dave and Becky ever guess that their efforts would turn into a nonprofit organization with volunteers throughout the United States and around the world. Their efforts struck a cord with people that could understand how much a photo means and the heartache of losing their memories. A video was made shortly after their trip and it is as touching now as it was back then.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
OPERATION PHOTO RESCUE COMING TO Metairie, LA for the 10 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
EL DORADO, KS – July 23, 2015 – Operation Photo Rescue (OPR), a U.S. nonprofit organization comprised of a worldwide network of volunteers will be returning to Metairie, LA on August 28-29 to digitally copy photos and later restored for anyone whose photos were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Hosted by the Jefferson Parrish Library, OPR will be onsite at the East Branch Regional at4747 West Napoleon Ave, Metairie, LA.
Hours will be: Friday, August 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday August 29, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Anyone with photos damaged from Hurricane Katrina or other natural disasters may bring up to 25 photos to be evaluated for restoration later. Photos that can be repaired will be digitally captured with high end camera equipment and at a later date will be restored, printed, and mailed home to the owners at no cost. The original photo remains with the owner.
All photos need to be dry and removed from picture frames and albums. Those that cannot be extracted will still be copied, but the quality may suffer. Photos that are stuck together can be separated by soaking, but should first be tested on a corner to see if the emulsion is stable enough to soak.
Following family and pets, photos are the next most cherished possession, as the memories captured in photos are all that remain after a natural disaster. Operation Photo Rescue (OPR) is a federally registered 501(c) (3) not-for-profit charity that restores photographs that have been damaged by natural disasters. OPR was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in January 2006 by two photojournalists, Dave Ellis and Becky Sell. Since then, the organization has grown into a network of volunteers here and around the globe that have restored over 10,000 photos for survivors of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.
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Margie Hayes, Operation Photo Rescue, 316-322-5998, email@example.com
Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming, 504-838-1100, www.jefferson.lib.la.us