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Environment & Science

Playing defense: what images of the Gulf of Mexico say about you and your natural disasters

Michel Varisco/Courtesy Ogden Museum of Southern Art

It was sheer coincidence that I wrote about the BP oil spill on the anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, but in retrospect it seems metaphorically appropriate. Scientists and engineers I interviewed in the gulf region spoke often about wind and water as foreigners, invading the territory of the wetland. Whether you're thinking about fire season or monsoon season or hurricane season, it's a good time to think about defenses, especially against natural disasters. 

I was at a fantastic concert at (so far) my favorite venue in LA last night, a Cali musician with a lot of NOLA connections. I talked to a woman who, like me, is from San Francisco, but who just moved to New Orleans. Hurricane season just started. I was impressed with her preparedness: she's got her full tank of gas, a week's worth of food for herself and her pet, her bug-out bag, her bug-out destination. It made me wonder whether Angelenos are as prepared for our risks. 

It also reminded me that I saw an art exhibit in New Orleans last month, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The curator and the artist were kind enough to share images with us, and I talked to them about the exhibit. The result is a web-only feature that we're posting here on our site. Please check it out and let us know what you think.