I know everyone is on Katrina overload, but tonight there is a very special one time event that no New Orleanian should miss. Harry Shearer–most famous (to me) for Spinal Tap, The Simpsons, and being an unlikely champion for New Orleans–produced a muckraking documentary about the disaster that happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. From what I have gathered, his purpose is in illustrating that what happened to the city was not so much a hurricane, as a preventable manmade disaster that was caused by human error and crumbling infrastructure–a point I have been trying to bring to make with curious out-of-towners ’til I’m blue in the face.
Tonight there is a simulcast of The Big Uneasy in 33 states. In New Orleans it is screening at Canal Place (7:00 and 9:30) and Prytania (4:45 and 9:30) and also at the new reopened Chalmette Movies (which finally has a website). In Chalmette it’s screening at 7:00 only, but is also screening tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7:00, and Mr. Shearer will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. It’s also screening, tonight, in Slidell (7:00 and 9:30).
Press release: On the morning of August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans. The hurricane flooded the levee system, which catastrophically failed. Eventually 80% of the city and the large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.
In his feature-length documentary, The Big Uneasy, humorist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented from the people who were there. As we near the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Shearer speaks to the investigators who poked through the muck as the water receded and a whistle-blower from the Army Corps of Engineers, revealing that some of the same flawed methods responsible for the levee failure during Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the New Orleans from future peril.