Evan Simko-Bednarski is a documentary photographer based in New York City.
Raised in Bayonne, N.J., Evan received his bachelor's degree in philosophy and government from Wesleyan University in 2007, and graduated with honors from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2014.
A high school student in New York City on 9/11 and a long-term relief worker in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Evan's personal work focuses on aftermath and recovery, the regrowth of cities and towns after catastrophes.
An award-winning print reporter with bylines in Hearst Connecticut Newspapers and on CNN.com, Evan's photographic work has appeared in such outlets as Oxford American, The Nation, The Atlantic Wire and the Columbia Journalism Review.
Evan is currently living in Brooklyn, NY, and is available for assignments. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
“I've been here 70 years. I've seen a boat float on Main Street at least three times,” said Randy Britt, owner of B H Small Co. Hardware. “Climate's not like it used to be around here,” he said, “I don't care what anybody tells you, things have changed.” A lifelong resident, and former mayor and city council member, Britt said some light flooding was commonplace in Fair Bluff, but not the multiple feet of water brought on by Matthew. “I assumed we were about to get an inch or two on the floor,” he said. “I had no earthly idea that the storm would do what it did.”
The empty showroom of Fair Bluff Ford stands at the north end of town. The dealership’s stock of cars and trucks was submerged by the rising waters of the Lumber River in the days after Hurricane Matthew hit Fair Bluff. The business carried no flood insurance. A GoFundMe fundraiser for Fair Bluff Ford raised just 450 dollars.
“Thirty-nine years, I’ve been here, and no water,” said Sorrento, La., resident David Arceneaux. “I don’t know what happened this time. I had eight inches of water in the house. But it doesn’t matter — eight inches or three feet, it’s all the same.”
Arceneaux said the worst part of the flood was that it reminded him of his late grandson Job, who died at the age of five.
“Everytime I came across his stuff,” Arceneaux said of the cleanup this week, “I said, ‘Man, if Job was here and could see all this water.’”
He gestured towards his house.
“This I can recover,” he said. “Him, I can’t bring back.”
Job’s death was one of a series tragedies that Arceneaux said lead him to attempt suicide last year.
“I shot myself,” he said, pointing to his chest.
In the year since, Arceneaux said he’d returned to work as a mechanic at a local refinery, and had been in counseling,
“I don’t look at that no more,” he said of his past. “I look ahead.”