THE SUNKEN CITY: REBUILDING POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS

3 Stars
Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 53 minutes
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The erratic reconstruction of the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans is the subject of this documentary, which was shot between December 2006 and October 2008.  It would appear that the only consistent aspect of the rebuilding of the city has been the utter lack of consistency.

Some neighborhoods received considerable input and have returned to normalcy, while other parts of the city (not surprisingly, the working class and predominantly African American sections) remained in waterlogged ruins.  Large portions of the population still remain homeless, while many more have abandoned New Orleans for good.  Politicians only seem to show up for photo opportunities, but any evidence of a coordinated federal-state-municipal governmental effort is hard to locate.

Many volunteers and nonprofits have quietly worked to help those in need, while others (most notably Brad Pitt and his Make it Right Foundation) aggressively harvested media coverage to trumpet their work.  A disproportionate amount of attention was given to preserving New Orleans’ musical heritage – there is even a special housing program for musicians – yet the city’s non-musical Katrina victims continue to face the humiliation of tour buses driving through their neighborhoods (one community leader referred to the insensitive gawkers as the “ghetto paparazzi”).

The film never seeks out any elected officials to question the strange and lethargic recovery efforts, but there is a surplus of community leaders who openly grumble about a lack of “national will” to finance a coherent and complete effort. The resulting picture is disturbing and depressing at a multitude of levels.



Posted on August 24, 2010 in Reviews by
Buffer


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