Katrina Babies (2022)

Katrina Babies (2022)

A unique and touching collage of testimonials from ordinary people living through Hurricane Katrina's aftermath



United States of America
Arnould Burks, Calvin Baxter, Cierra Chenier
81 min


Honestly a great reminder to all that some of the best talking heads you can get are just walking down the street, and not holed up in their studies somewhere.

What it's about

The people of New Orleans share their insights on the lingering trauma of surviving one of the most devastating hurricanes in U.S. history.

The take

If Katrina Babies seems like a somewhat disjointed account of the myriad responses to Hurricane Katrina and the U.S. government's horrible, anti-poor response to the disaster, director Edward Buckles Jr. uses this structure with much more intent. For once this is a documentary that feels like citizen reporting and not a sanitized report from experts who have little to no real personal stake in the subject. As the film swings from one talking point to the next, you get the sensation of just how much the people of New Orleans are still trying to comprehend; the loose structure brings to this film a sense of helplessness that, for some, just can't be overcome.

What stands out

It feels wrong to select just one anecdote as a standout, when the cumulative trauma of all of the experiences we hear about on screen is exactly the point. So the most impressive aspect to Katrina Babies really is the fact that it feels like a collage, bringing to life a community of people and the beautiful culture of New Orleans that they desperately hope to preserve. HBO documentaries can end up feeling somewhat similar in their glossiness and in the way they build up to certain dramatic beats, but this one genuinely feels like a product of its own directorial vision.


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