THE ICON: Becky Zaheri
THE LEGACY: Becky Zaheri’s post-Katrina crusade started small, with an email to friends suggesting they get together after Thanksgiving 2005 to clean up some of the mountains of debris that were at the time piled up around the city. The task was daunting: One smelly refrigerator after another lined the curbs, along with moldy contents of gutted houses and piles upon piles of stuffed garbage bags. At first, 15 women showed up. By Christmas, that group, which came to be known as the Katrina Krewe, had grown to more than 200. A movement was born, with its own website and an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. As a result, upwards of 25,000 volunteers converged on the stricken city from across America to clean up hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage, and to help set New Orleans firmly on the road to recovery.
THE ARTIST: Alexandra Kilburn
THE INSPIRATION: “Conditions were indescribable. It had become a junkyard. There was no way I could just pick up a tennis racket and go back to that old way of life.” — Becky Zaheri, in an interview with www.gimundo.com