Can’t Be in the Gulf for the Katrina Anniversary? Watch These Films Instead

Tomorrow is the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, leading to all sorts of reflections on how far the city has come, what recovery means, and what lessons there are to be learned from how the recovery (the beginning of it, because it isn't over) has been handled. We'll have more to come, but check out our writers' takes on the Road Home program and to make it better, why legal aid services after a disaster are so crucial, the inequitable investment in street cars vs buses in post-Katrina New Orleans, and how to keep flood insurance rates from displacing low-income homeowners in the climate change era.

Meanwhile, here are two great films to watch:

What Is a Just City? is a short (8 min) video from Luisa Dantas, who made the longer film Land of Opportunity, in which we hear from a number of activists and advocates in the city about some of the dynamics of unequal recovery, the needs of the city, and what it will take to make it just. The film is in equal measures positive and a good antidote to those who are touting the recovery's success without acknowledging who it includes and who it leaves out. The Ford Foundation supoprted the film, and on their blog you can find out more about the various organizations featured in the film.

Come Hell or High Water is a full-length documentary that's being streamed for free on World Channel from now to Sept 4—don't miss it! Filmmaker Leah Mahan follows a college friend back to Turkey Creek, a community founded by freed slaves, now surrounded by the city of Gulfport, Miss., as he organizes residents and teams up with preservationists and environmental advocates to fight development that threatens both the creek and the historic community. Then, just after they win a major battle . . . the hurricane arrives. If you need a reminder of the power of persistent activism (or want to be inspired to punch some smug, racist politicians and developers in the nose), check it out!

(Photo from St. Bernard Housing Project, courtesy of Luisa Dantas.)

Miriam Axel-Lute is CEO/editor-in-chief of Shelterforce. She lives in Albany, New York, and is a proud small-city aficionado.


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