Habitable Air

Capturing Solastalgia: A Visual Journey Through a Changing Landscape

In an era marked by environmental challenges and shifting landscapes, Habitable Air Senior Researcher, Courtney Desiree Morris takes us on a poignant visual odyssey. Titled “Solastalgia,” this photographic series dives deep into the heart of southwest Louisiana, a region steeped in the history of the petroleum industry.


Solastalgia, a term coined by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, encapsulates the profound sense of existential and psychic grief that accompanies the loss of one’s home environment due to forces beyond one’s control. For over 150 years, the town of Mossville, Louisiana, has been home to Courtney’s family – a historic freedmen’s community. But in 2011, the South African energy and chemical company, Sasol North America embarked on a monumental $21 billion project, which reshaped the community and effectively led to the demise of the community.


The “Solastalgia” project serves as a “mourning diary” chronicling the slow death and disappearance of Mossville. It weaves together themes of origins, religiosity, domesticity, death, and the complex emotional life of a landscape forever altered by industrial expansion.


As you browse through Courtney’s evocative photographs, prepare to embark on a profound visual and emotional journey. Each image tells a story of resilience, loss, and the enduring spirit of a place that once thrived, now forever changed. Witness the indomitable human connection to land and home, even in the face of transformation. Courtney’s lens captures not just a changing landscape, but the very essence of solastalgia itself. Explore the photographs below to experience this powerful narrative unfold. It is a series of captivating images that speak volumes about the past, present, and future of Mossville, Louisiana, and the solastalgia it embodies.