[this played at Hollywood Theatre may 24] The context of this film is important: Hurricane Katrina and its after math are supposed to be resolved issues now... The mainstream media is more likely to approach New Orleans now as a story of statistics, (how many people have returned), of the allocation of federal relief money and the problems associated with that, of developer's dreams for the city, etc...These are all important issues, but they don't give a continuing, lasting picture of the Dust Bowl-like tragedy of the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Katrina. |
From what I remember, Katrina was presented as a regional story, and not something that affects all of us in this country. Walidah's film gives the on-the-ground perspective that I, personally, haven't seen on the topic of post-Katrina New Orleans, save for one or two Nation articles, and possibly some other journalists' reports. We all need to sense what it's like to drive (or walk) through a landscape of chaos like that, passing by military vehicles. Far from being a resolved matter, post-Katrina New Orleans is a matter that needs to be continually looked at from new perspectives such as the one that this film brings. Thanks to Walidah and Suncere for presenting the two films and for the after-film discussion.
Comment: I thought the discussion afterwards was very powerful as well. My favorite memory was Walidah's statement to the effect of "A lot of people believe that the US Government blew the levy. It's important to recognize that that is something that people not only in New Orleans, but all over the country are willing to believe very easily, given the daily lived experience of black folks. Whats most important, is that it doesn't really matter whether or not the US Government specifically acted to blow the levvies, fifty years of neglect, knowing that a category five-storm would blow them, the outcome is exactly the same. They just managed to save themselves that certain amount of dynamite or c4 that they can instead drop on Iraq."