Katrina snow globes cause social media death threats
NEW ORLEANS - A souvenir commemorating Hurricane Katrina has caused an uproar on social media as some people see an artist's work as minimization of the pain and tragic loss of life that came with the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. A range of opinions have been expressed, even including death threats.
The artist, Brad Maltby, created Katrina snow globes which depict a house partially in water without the snow, and he says he understands the seriousness of the event. Maltby told WWL-TV in New Orleans that he was in Manhattan the day after 9-11, so he is familiar with witnessing tragedy first hand. He moved from the northeast to New Orleans after Katrina to join in the rebuilding process, and he says the snow globe is a part of that effort.
Maltby originally created the snow globes back in 2009 with funds earned from his work going toward libraries and books for children as part of the rebuilding mission. As the 10th anniversary of Katrina has caused a resurgence in interest in all things to do with the storm, the memorial trinkets have become popular again. And with the return to popularity has come death threats by phone, text and Facebook aimed at himself and his family.
Some New Orleanians say the snow globes are in poor taste and minimize what was an incredibly painful time for everyone involved. Others are able to see through the controversy to glimpse the artist's good intentions.
WWL-TV spoke with one retailer in New Orleans who said they sold out of the snow globes when rescue workers and volunteers wanted to take home a souvenir after they came to the city to help out. They even spoke with an art expert at the Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University who pointed out the way visual art inspires some of our strongest reactions and emotional connections.
"That's the beauty of art, you know. It is something. It's a third party that helps us have a dialogue and maybe it's a dialogue that you and I want to have but we are not finding that common ground. And sometimes this third party, an art object, is what allows us to kind of use it as a vehicle to bridge some of those misunderstandings," said Monica Ramirez-Montagut, director of the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University when speaking to WWL-TV.
WWL-TV spoke with the artist who said he will not make more of the controversy sparking globes should the original ones sell out. He said, despite public opinion of his work, he'll continue to defend the city and its people from out-of-towners who may have negative opinions of the Big Easy.