When The Levees Broke | Katrina & Social Death

I wanted to start this post with a link to another documentary about Katrina and the Ninth Ward. During our discussion in class, some people were mentioning how they were shocked there hadn’t been more (either films or documentaries) released about this catastrophe and it made me remember this documentary. It illustrates a lot of what we spoke about: government indifference toward black life, institutional barriers blacks are faced with, etc. Definitely check it out- it’s funny yet raw, I loved it!


In the next part of this post I wanted to explore this unwillingness of the government to aid those most desperately in need, coupled with a complete indifference toward the loss of housing and lives after Katrina hit. The realization that those who lost everything after Katrina, didn’t have help in rebuilding their lives reiterated for me the truth in the concept of social death. Immediately after the storm these communities failed to receive the necessary means of help and even today have seen an incredibly slow movement to rebuild this area. Most of the money that has been dedicated to the Ninth Ward have been from private resources rather than government.

This article  also further illuminates this manifestation of “non-belonging” and “non-citizenship” from the point of view of some one who lived in the Ninth Ward prior to Katrina.

“… nearly seven years later, the French Quarter and other areas of tourism and affluence are sparkling, while few improvements have been made in the Lower Ninth… Black residents of the Lower Ninth were deemed expendable long before Katrina.”



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