“The Old Man and the Storm”

January 6th, 2009 by Josh Neufeld  

Tonight on PBS’s Frontline is The Old Man and The Storm, a documentary about one man’s lonely fight to rebuild his house in the Ninth Ward. The film tells the story of 82-year-old Herbert Gettridge, a master builder who built his house by hand decades ago—on land his ancestors worked as slaves. The Old Man and The Storm shows the many hurdles to be overcome by those wishing to return to their flood-wrecked neighborhood, hurdles that almost seem designed to prevent the poor (e.g. African-Americans) from returning to the Cresecent City. Check local listings.

2 Responses

  1. Barbara

    Because of the other culture that run the government does not understand what family unity means to Africian Americans after being sold and divided for many years by the ancesters of the individuals that run this government. Nor do they understand how hard it was for our parents in Louisiana who was their former slaves and maids to acquire property and homes in Louisiana to see history repeat itself right in front of their eyes in a more sophisticate governmental way and no one stand up for them but just allow that same government to divide there families again.

  2. Susan Bernofsky

    The FRONTLINE documentary June Cross put together is very strong and highlights the war of attrition being waged by government and insurance companies against lower-income residents of New Orleans struggling to rebuild their homes. Herbert Gettridge was already over 80 when the storm hit and nonetheless set out to rebuild his own house with his own two hands (and, eventually, thank goodness, help from a few groups of volunteers) while being forced to fight the system the entire time and separated from most of his family members, not all of whom could come up with the initial start-up funds to move back to NOLA and start rebuilding while waiting for slow-to-come government funds to arrive. Thus did local and well as federal officials take advantage of the storm to rid the city of most of its lower-income residents, including a large number of homeowners. Shameful, illegal, and wrong.
    You can see this 1-hour documentary on PBS.org.

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