Tonight, PBS’ Frontline debuts The Old Man and the Storm, a documentary that examines post-Katrina New Orleans through an 82-year-old man who tries to rebuild his home. It will also be broadcast online.
While Spike Lee’s epic and amazingly horrifying documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts takes a broader approach to telling the story of the hurricane’s and humans’ destruction, June Cross’ documentary focuses on 82-year-old Herbert Gettridge and his family, who she spent 18 months with.
Frontline’s description says that during that time, the family members “endure devastation, political turmoil and a painstakingly slow bureaucratic process to rebuild their homes and their lives”; Gettridge skips Mardis Gras to “instead to clear debris from his front lawn. Not one of his neighbors for blocks has returned, and he is camping out in his house without electricity, gas or water.” But his “efforts [are] deeply impacted by larger decisions about urban planning, public health, and the insurance industry, by the decisions of policymakers about federal funding for rebuilding the Gulf, and state and city plans for dispersing those monies.”
Here’s a scene from the movie: