January 4 – February 9, 2007
World Financial Center
Liberty Street Bridge
Written by Eve Hyman
Photographed by Warren Lee
Close to twenty thousand people
walk across the World Financial Center’s Liberty
Bridge every day. World Financial Center workers
and tourists looking for a view of Ground Zero may
be surprised to find dresser drawers lining the
bridge in an exhibit called “Floodwall,”
a powerful installation that documents the enormous
losses suffered by New Orleans residents post Katrina.
“Floodwall” is a collection
of six hundred dresser drawers that were left for
the trash collectors outside homes in the flood-destroyed
neighborhoods of New Orleans. Artist Jana Napoli
(a native of New Orleans), found her way to communicate
the personal significance of that loss through a
collection of private bedroom drawers that she turned
into a wall of memory.
the viewer of the intimacy involved in a tragedy;
it is a levee to the memory of the lives of the
people whose homes were destroyed in the flood.
The drawers are accompanied by interviews (through
LED signs) with some of the former owners, who tell
stories of their post-Katrina lives. Spectators
can look at the drawers while simultaneously looking
out onto the space that was the Twin Towers. It
is a juxtaposition of tragedies and honors the losses
suffered by two vital centers of American life.
A friend who attended the exhibit
with me grew up in New Orleans. She met Jana and
thanked her for her work. She started to tell the
artist what it meant to her but choked up with emotion.
Jana Napoli interrupted her with hug. It was good
to feel a bit of Southern comfort on Liberty Bridge
and to think my friend and I might be another step
closer toward healing from the tragedy of post-Katrina
the viewer of the intimacy involved in a tragedy.
It connects spectator with victim and enables sharing
which in turn promotes healing. The exhibit gives
a view of the inside of the city and how it was
to be one person suffering loss. It emphasizes that
that each individual loss was in itself terrible
and not diminished by the fact that it was multiplied
throughout neighborhoods. One lost drawer is a symbol
of the family that stored letters, lingerie, and
pieces of their life. A wall of those drawers is
a symbol of Katrina.
“Floodwall” runs January
4 – February 9, 2007 (7am-11pm daily) at the
World Financial Center - Liberty Street Bridge New
York, New York (Enter at One World Financial Center,
corner of Liberty Street and South End Avenue).
For more information visit