I was born and raised in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, surrounded by a community that believed in Jesus, high school football, and the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Within this community I was somewhat of an outsider, though I would put my level of rebellion on par with that of any typical teenager. The only real thing that set me apart from the others was my camera. And once I picked it up, there was really no turning back. My photography stems from my personal life, and therefore the South has always been a favorite subject of mine. In March 2006, I traveled to New Orleans to photograph the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina approximately six months after the storm. As a child of the Gulf Coast region, I felt a sense of duty to bear witness to the ongoing struggle to rebuild and to help in some way. Beyond seeking out photographs of the destruction, I was also able to capture images from the city's the Saint Patrick's Day parade and remnants from Louisiana's plantation era. Living and photographing in the South, I have witnessed the region's familiarity with defeat. From the Civil War to the constant threats of nature and the overwhelming heat, Southerners have an ingrained ability to bear hardship. This stubborn insistence on surviving was never more palpable to me than on this trip.