In the spring of 2020, as they grieved about people they’d lost from their lives, photographer Gus Bennett and news reporter Katy Reckdahl set out to photograph and write about everyone in New Orleans who had died from the coronavirus.
The losses were vast, but the individuals were represented by numbers on daily policy charts, not names and faces. That felt wrong to the two veteran journalists. The newspaper obituaries represented only a fraction of who had been lost. How could New Orleans mourn as a community without knowing more about the lives cut short during the pandemic?
Bennett and Reckdahl started photographing and writing. The result became a virUS: a chronicle of who we’ve lost.
Image: APRIL 2020, EBENEZER MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, SOUTH CLAIBORNE AVENUE, NEW ORLEANS – At the funeral for Ronald “Bo” Rhodes, 29, his four-year-old son Deuce danced and sang for his father. He told people that his father had become a bird. (PHOTO: Gus Bennett)