Press Releases: 08/27/15
Al Jazeera America (1)
AL JAZEERA AMERICA PRESENTS ORIGINAL NEW DOCUMENTARY “ONLY NEW ORLEANS”
10 YEARS AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA, DOCUMENTARY EXPLORES HOW THE BIG EASY HAS CHANGED THROUGH THE INFLUENCE OF MUSIC
NEW YORK, August 18, 2015– This Saturday, August 29th at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT, Al Jazeera America will air Only New Orleans, an original documentary from Kick Film and filmmaker Vassili Silovic. The documentary originally aired last Sunday, August 23rd.
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, Only New Orleans recounts the tragic events that occurred during the worst natural disaster in recent American history. The film looks back at how the Big Easy has changed over the last decade, buoyed by the uplifting and connective power of music. It is a powerful story of the unbreakable spirit of the people of New Orleans and how this extraordinary city found the strength to push on following the storm. Including interviews with legendary New Orleans’ musicians Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, and James Andrews among others, Only New Orleans reveals how music has been at the heart of the city’s reinvention following Katrina. Many of the musicians featured perform at the Ooh Poo Pah Doo bar, including beloved jazz talent Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill. We also meet survivors, city officials and experts who recall what occurred during and after the deadly storm.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, where the levee system failed. The slow response by the Bush administration, FEMA and local authorities drew heavy criticism. With over 1,800 casualties and one million people displaced in the region, the Big Easy was left in a state of chaos. Ethnologist Nick Spitzer recalls “I was in tears when I got here, the place smelled of death.”
In the years that followed, New Orleans was reconstructed, but with the new infrastructure came an increase in the cost of living. One-hundred thousand displaced New Orleans citizens, most of whom were black, could not afford to go back home. But for those who did return to rebuild, the sense of community persisted. When asked if the government was responsible for bringing the community together, Spitzer explains, “It was fixed by the New Orleans people who wanted to be back here.”
The documentary links the catastrophic events of Katrina to the uplifting power of music. Featured musician James Andrews emphasizes how music, particularly jazz, was the foundation of New Orleans’ comeback . He states, “We’re gonna save this city, one note at a time, and that’s what happened.”