Editor’s note: After being hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and again by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, coastal communities in Louisiana are dealing with massive erosion. Photographer Kael Alford spent five years exploring the issue and reconnecting with a portion of her heritage.
By Cody McCloy, CNN
(CNN) - Given an assignment to document the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Louisiana coastline, photographer Kael Alford turned it into a five-year endeavor to reconnect with a portion of her heritage.
With the assistance of a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta, Alford explored the birthplace of her maternal grandmother that is still home of the Native American families from which Alford descended.
Hit hard by Katrina and again by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the marshlands of Louisiana are in trouble. The coastline is eroding, threatening the ecosystem as well as a way of life.
Through her work, Alford strives to show the human side of the problem. Bill Boling, the publisher of her upcoming book from the project, “Bottom of 'da Boot,” says Alford has “this unflinching eye that is also a loving eye and able to see the beauty and dignity of the people that are facing these challenges.”