Willie Birch has always reveled in New Orleans culture. As a child in his New Orleans housing project, Willie could hear the sounds of BB King and Sam Cooke being performed at the nearby Dew Drop Inn.
But instead of music, Willie was drawn to the canvas. Growing up in the civil rights era, art and activism have always gone hand in hand for Willie. Now, back home in New Orleans, he's using his art to make sense of Katrina and to spur cultural renewal in the city he loves.
- See some of Willie's work
- See Willie's paper mache sculptures
- Visit an upcoming show of Willie's in New Orleans
Staying In New Orleans
Tom Hayes was 21 years old when he left his hometown of Pittsburgh for New Orleans. He planned to teach in one of the most challenging school systems in the country. But a week into his teaching career, Hurricane Katrina hit. Tom ended up working for FEMA - and within weeks he was running an entire recovery center. Tom used his can-do attitude to work around complex FEMA rules and get things done. These days Tom is still in New Orleans, but back in his comfort zone - the classroom.