Corinne Nitel

Cast Bronze, 2004
32" x 16" x 36"

For ages the mighty Mississippi would erupt and rebel against both natural and manufactured land restraints Makeshift dams and levees have forever fallen and failed because of its force and power. Here we see the wife of sharecropper Willie T. Laudell calmly accepting and carrying out her charge of caring for her family of one by striking out for higher ground.

Her name is Corinne Nitel. Her husband Tee Baby was a banjo player who entertained at the local juke in the bottoms. When the floods came, he and many other men like him were snatched at gunpoint and forced to work the levees filling cement bags with sand. Tee's hands were not suited for such work, and when he ran, he was shot through the back. We see Corinne navigating her boat close to shore, keeping away from the currents. The strength of her arms is a testament to her years of hard work on the plantation-poling the boat came quite easily to her. Here we see images symbolic of hope and life in front of her, and behind her are past negative images which she has chosen to leave forever.