The ruins from a natural disaster or the evidence of a failed economy can take years or decades to erase from the facade of a city. Although some may see abandoned spaces as an eye sore, others see the value in them as a reminder of the past.
Will Crusta, who has lived in New Orleans his entire life and experienced Hurricane Katrina before, during and after, is one of the latter. TheBlaze has been featuring a series by this hobbyist photographer and his work documenting these incredible abandoned spaces.
As we continue to introduce you to this photographer and this medium, we want to explore the question: What was Crusta's first urban exploration (UrbEx as he would call it) adventure? The answer: an abandoned maintenance shed in City Park in New Orleans. It was an accident he was even there, he said in an email to TheBlaze, something he just stumbled upon.
"I'd seen UrbEx photos people had taken before and loved them and wanted to make it a hobby of my own, but I never knew of any good spots in my area in which to get started with it," he said. "Then after exploring that shed, I came to the realization that, wow, Hurricane Katrina left me with tons of opportunities and I can get started basically anywhere. I have a semi-pro camera now, too, so why not go seek out these unique, potentially overwhelmingly eerie sights that must exist in a post-Katrina New Orleans and document them?"
His first "big" UrbEx experience was through an abandoned hospital. Another was delving into a long-closed movie theater. These were both places he said, despite living in New Orleans his whole life, he had never been to while they were operational.
"It was pretty odd going to them for the first time with them being in complete disrepair," Crusta said, going on to note he is glad they remain in the condition they are now. "I totally understand that the city wants to revive its image after Katrina and needs to get rid of all this 'blight' eventually, but I'm glad a lot of it has been left alone as long as it has. You pass places like these every now and then and you remember what your city has been through and how much stronger you are for having endured it."
Here are a few of Crusta's photos from his rounds through the hospital and theater:
Crusta noted the "loads of unused medical equipment" in the hospital, but the most interesting thing he saw there was the calendar with the date Hurricane Katrina swept through still on it.
"That was pretty chilling, but an awesome find," he said.