As the Katrina anniversary nears, TV's
coverage keeps growing – and then growing some more.
I sent a preview story – included
here – which some papers have already run. During that time:
– The list of TV and cable coverage
kept growing. I'll include the updated, expanded list here.
– And I just had a chance to see a
splendid example. “Forgotten on the Bayou” – following one
man's quixotic effort to take his story from New Orleans to the White
House – is fascinating. Definitely catch it, at 8 p.m. Friday (Aug.
29), the fifth anniversary of the day Katrina touched land in the
Anyway, I'll put both here -- first the expanded TV list, then the story:
(Here's the list, chronologically)
– “Hurricane Katrina: The First
Five Days,” 7-8 p.m. Aug. 22, on NBC's “Dateline.”
– “In America: New Orleans Rises”
vuews actor Wendell Pierce (“Treme”), who is working on the
rebuilding of his New Orleans neighborhood; 8 and 11 p.m. Aug. 22,
– “Storm Stories” has “Katrina:
Animals” at 8 p.m. Aug. 22 on the Weather Channel, followed by
“Katrina: Dolphins” at 9:30.
– “If God is Willing and Da Creek
Don't Rise,” Spike Lee's superb two-parter; 9 p.m. Aug. 23-24, HBO.
– “Witness Katrina,” a raw film
assembled from homevideos; 9-11 p.m. Aug. 23, National Geographic.
– “Storm Stories” has “Ride It
Out,” a look at people who stayed in New Orleans during Katrina, at
8 p.m. Aug. 23 on the Weather Channel. That's followed at 8:30 by “In
His Own Words: Brian Williams on Hurricane Katrina.”
– “Frontline” probes the New
Orleans police; 9 p.m. Aug. 25, PBS (check local listings).
– “Anderson Cooper 360” has a
three-day stay in New Orleans, 10 p.m. Aug. 25-27, CNN.
– “Katrina: Where Things Stand”
begins at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26 on the ABC News, with Bob Woodruff
reporting. It continues the next morning on “Good Morning America,”
which Robin Roberts – who grew up in that area – hosts from Pass
– Brian Williams anchors the NBC news
from New Orleans, Aug. 26-30. He also anchors a “Meet the Press”
there, Aug. 29.
– Rachel Maddow anchors hosts her
show from New Orleans, 9 p.m. Aug. 26-27 on MSNBC, which anchors its
daytime coverage there, Aug. 27-29.
– CBS anchors its morning shows in
New Orleans, Aug. 27-29; also, Russ Mitchell hosts the evening news
there, Aug. 29.
– “The Gulf is Back,” 8 p.m. Aug.
27, CW. Highlights of a concert with Lonestar, Ricky Skaggs, Terri
Clark, Brian McKnight and “American Idol” alumni Taylor Hicks, Bo
Bice and Ace Young.
– The Weather Channel has live
reports from Jim Cantore and Mike Bettes, Aug. 27-29. Also, the
channel debuts “Forgotten on the Bayou,” a stirring, 2007
documentary, at 8 p.m. Aug. 27.
– “Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” revisits
the now-closed Charity Hospital; 7:30 a.m. Aug. 28-29, CNN.
– “Brian Williams Reports: A Return
to New Orleans,” 10 p.m. Sept. 10, MSNBC.
– Two documentaries view the oil
spill aftermath; Sept. 28, National Geographic
(Now here's the story)
By MIKE HUGHES
LOS ANGELES – Like any good
storyteller, Spike Lee was searching for a strong ending.
He figured he had one for his HBO
documentary, marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina: The
New Orleans Saints would win the Super Bowl.
“The Saints were going to win that
game,” Lee said. “We knew it; the Saints knew it.”
They did and the parties started, with
cameras rolling. “We thought we'd filmed the ending,” Lee said.
Ten weeks later, the British Petroleum
oil spill brought new chaos. Now that spill flows through some of the
documentaries on cable and broadcast.
“We went from Katrina to the
recession to the oil spill,” said Cheryl York, whose videotapes
(from Gulfport, Miss.) are included in National Geographic's “Witness
Others felt that same frustration.
The Super Bowl was definitely sweet,
said Eric Tiser, a Louisiana fisherman who will be featured in a
National Geographic Channel special next month. “My friends and I
partied for a month.”
When he talked to reporters recently,
he happened to be wearing the Saints jersey of Jeremy Shockey. He had
three more Saint jerseys at home; “I'm still proud of them,” he
said of the Saints.
But that win no longer offers a happy
ending for any of the films. “We had to rethink everything,” Lee
said. “(We) made another seven trips down to New Orleans.”
His first Katrina documentary –
which won three Emmys and a Peabody Award – eyed government
inaction. His new one rages at New Orleans actions that have closed
Charity Hospital and the housing projects. “I think the plan was to
get these poor black people out of the city,” Lee said. “People
are still in exile who want to come back.”
He also fumes about failures of the New
Orleans levees and the British Petroleum containment system.
“The connective tissue is greed,”
Lee insisted. “(The) Corps of Engineers cut corners in the
construction of the levee system …. It was greed again that reared
its ugly head with BP.”
The twin disasters battered fishermen
like Tiser, an American Indian (with Houma roots). His home was
destroyed by Katrina, he said; his job was destroyed by the oil
Desperate for work, he tried to be
hired by BP for the clean-up. “We'd go down there and wait in front
of the building …. And it would just be so hot. We'd be soaking
wet, waiting, trying to get a job. And they said they would hire us,
but we never got hired.”
Kindra Arnesen (also featured in the
September film) said her husband was hired, but many others in
Venice, La., weren't. “At least 50 per cent of our fishermen have
not worked one day, while people from all over the United States have
been allowed to come in and work.”
That has shattered Venice, a Gulf Coast
town on Mississippi River, Tiser said. “We got about 5,000 people
in our community. Now we got about 40-, 50,000 people in and out ….
It's not home no more.”
Arnesen said she kept pushing BP to
hire Tiser and others. “I brought them list after list of locals.”
Outsiders were hired and the local
economy sputtered, she said. “What's become a windfall for (some)
people … has become a community divider. Half of our community is
working; the other half is not.”