LAPLACE – Family Photo Rescue is underway at LaPlace, giving residents free access to image editing services that can save precious family memories damaged during Hurricane Ida.
The service will continue from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 25 at the Maison historique 1811 Kid Ory, located at 1128, highway 628 in LaPlace.
Individuals are invited to submit up to 20 images to restore and edit free of charge. A team of local photographers working with the nonprofit Operation Photo Rescue will begin the process by making digital copies of the photos and placing them in cloud storage. Volunteers across the country can access cloud storage, restore photos, and send new impressions to the original owners.
The Family Photo Rescue team working at LaPlace includes former Times-Picayune photographers John McCusker, Kathy Anderson, Ted Jackson, Doug Parker and Matthew Hinton, freelancers Derick Hingle and Edmond Fountain, and Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert.
Herbert was inspired to bring the initiative to St. John the Baptist Parish after seeing how Hurricane Ida damaged the precious family photos of District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut.
Dinvaut and his sisters, Bonnie and Billie, took great care to protect the precious photographs. They even moved them from the 29e Rue de la Réserve to Indigo Parkway at LaPlace, believing the latter to be a safer place. The photographs were kept high up in a sealed container during the storm, but the force of Ida’s flooding caused everything under the box to collapse and the photos toppling over in the water. The images were drenched and the color completely peeled off from many photos.
“When I was talking to Gerald, it inspired hope that we could save some of those memories. For our generation, all we had were photographs, and that was our source of connectivity,” Dinvaut said. This tangible element gives you a source of good feelings and conversation. Being able to record that and talk about it keeps generations connected. “
Dinvaut said the photographs represent happy memories of his grandparents and great-grandparents, but they also reflect the challenges his ancestors endured.
“They had to face challenges during this time, and their character and effort has passed on to us,” said Dinvaut.
LaPlace resident Holly Faucheaux brought four damaged photographs to the historic 1811 Kid Ory home Wednesday morning – two photographs of her maternal grandfather, a photo of her husband and stepfather, and the wedding portrait of her husband and her, 36 years old.
“There were other photos that we threw away before we knew this event was taking place, but these were the most valuable,” Faucheaux said.
As Hurricane Ida passed through LaPlace, Faucheaux and his family spent hours holding a two-by-four against a window downstairs to keep it from blowing. In the process, they realized the wind was already blowing into the house from a window that was blowing into their upstairs master bedroom. Rain poured into the room, soaking the master bedroom and bathroom and eventually dripping through the ceiling to the downstairs. All of her photos were soaking wet and some started to grow mold after the storm.
“It’s one of the only images I have of my wedding day. These are the only images I have of my grandfather, and it means a lot. I was close to him, ”said Faucheux.
Photographer Kathy Anderson said she and other former Times-Picayune staff helped restore photos in St. Bernard Parish in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.
“We had a line of about 100 people holding their photos, and it was so heartbreaking and so rewarding to be able to retrieve them,” Anderson said.
Photographers are typically the ones documenting the devastation after a hurricane, and Anderson said it means a lot to contribute to something positive.
“As a photographer I’ve covered Katrina, Laura, part of Ida, and you feel a little helpless. We want to help, and that’s one way to help, ”said Anderson. “It’s so important. When you have photos of your grandparents and great-grandparents, these are things that are passed down from generation to generation.
Photos make memories come true, according to John McCusker, former Times-Picayune photographer and founder / CEO of the 1811 Kid Ory Historic House.
“Your parents can tell you stories about your great-grandfather and great-grandmother, but when you can actually look at those faces, it quantifies it in a way that it doesn’t otherwise exist. You can look at that person and maybe see your eyes in their eyes. It’s a record of life lived, ”said McCusker.
While families are concerned about immediate needs such as gasoline, finding food and getting their children back to school, other impacts of the hurricane, such as damage to family photos, can be ignored.
“When this is all over, you are going to miss the photos. People have enough stuff right now, so they can bring their photos to us. We’ll take care of it and do our best to save your memories, ”said McCusker.
The Photo Rescue operation cannot handle negatives at this time. Large photos and small color or black and white prints are accepted. If a framed print is damaged by water, please keep it in the frame, as it may come apart when removed.
When sorting through water damaged family photos, remember to do so outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, and use gloves and a mask.