The Abandoned Refrigerators of Katrina – Design You Trust

The Abandoned Refrigerators of Katrina

Image source

Hurricane Katrina, that ravaged the Gulf Coast and the entire city of New Orleans in the summer of 2005, ruined a lot of household appliances but damaged refrigerators belonged to an entirely different realm of problems.

Image source

When Katrina forced people to evacuate their homes, a few residents emptied their refrigerators before they evacuated, but most of them left theirs with all the food inside. They didn’t know that they would lose power for weeks, or that they wouldn’t be able to return home until a month or more later. All this time the food sat in the stifling 90-degree heat inside the refrigerators and rotted. Vegetables and fruits, meat and fish had all turned into a disgusting slimy mess teeming with maggots.

Image source

People who returned and opened their refrigerators immediately regretted. The food had become so toxic that it melted plastic, corroded metal, and dissolved rubber refrigerator liners. The smell was unbearable. Word got out and many didn’t open their refrigerators at all. They sealed them shut with duct tape and pushed the box of horrors out of their homes and into the curb. Some people tried and found it impossible to fully clean their refrigerators. The smell just wouldn’t go. Eventually, refrigerators started to crop up in the streets like mushrooms after the rain, even in parts of the city that wasn’t flooded. An overwhelming smell of death and decay hung over the entire city.

Image source

The putrid task of disposing these machines fell upon the local government, who assigned a special crew for the job. These men were trained in the handling of hazardous materials and were armed with special equipment and hazmat suits. But the destruction throughout the region was so extensive that the clean-up operation took months to complete. Sitting there outside the homes, the abandoned refrigerators began to attract graffiti and soon became a platform for art and personal expression. As time dragged on some began to be decorated with festive Christmas ornaments and salutations.

Image source

For months the spray-painted refrigerators became a ubiquitous symbol of post-Katrina New Orleans. People began photographing Katrina refrigerators, and organizing exhibitions featuring these photographs. Even books were written about them. That year at Halloween parties, Katrina refrigerators were a popular costume idea.

Image source

Eventually the refrigerators were hauled to a scrapyard to be recycled. As many as 150,000 refrigerators were dumped at the Gentilly Landfill by December 2005. By early 2006, the last of them were gone.

Image source

Image source

A “Bobcat” picks up dead domestic refrigerator and other debris.

Image source

A “Bobcat” dumps a refrigerator on a landfill in New Orleans.

Image source

Thousands of refrigerators lie on a landfill in 2006 waiting to be scrapped.

Image source

Thousands of refrigerators lie on a landfill in 2006 waiting to be scrapped.

Via Amusing Planet, Wikipedia, Karen Ashley, NOLA

If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Design You Trust Facebook page. You won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Seoul’s Poop Café Offers Sweet Treats
Travelling Across Mexico's Baja California Peninsula
The Snow Town Theme Park Lets Children In Thailand Experience Snow For First Time
Nearby Train Crossing Gives Aichi’s Daibutsu The Title Of Most Stylish Great Buddha In Japan
A Mysterious And Abandoned Fishing Village Outside Of Budapest Captured In Perfect Reflection
This Woman Captures Charming Photos Of Her Lovely Giant Teddy Bear
Abandoned Hotels In The Egyptian Desert May As Well Be On Another Planet
The Making of India’s Most Expensive Tea
Let #GandalftheGuide Show You The Beauty Of New Zealand In This Photo Series
Incredible Pictures Of A Girl Who Spent The First 10 Years Of Her Life Growing Up In The African Bush
These 50 Town Names In The USA Sound Like A Joke But They’re All Real
Public Pools Open In New York City For The Summer
Gunther Holtorf's 23-year Rroad Trip On Your Mercedes-Benz G Wagon
Here Is The Most Terrifying Place On Earth
A Power Ranger, Sex Toys, Credit Cards And More Found In London's Sewage System
World’s Largest Railway Model Is Now On Google “Mini” Street View
Be The Envy Of Baggage Claim With This Hilarious Custom Selfie Cover
Series Of Shots Show The Abandoned Bare Steel Infrastructure Of The Bushfield Army Training Camp In UK During WWII
Beautiful Abandoned Fairy Tale House as the Quintessence of What's Going On
Brazil's Christ The Redeemer Statue Lit With Flags Of Countries Affected By Coronavirus
Thousands Of People Are Living Inside A Luxurious Hole In The Australian Desert
Ready to Move In? Mystery ‘Furnished Apartment' Found In Berlin Subway
This Couple Converts The Real Cold War Nuclear Missile Base Into The Luxury Airbnb
Shark Island in Central Indonesia