From first-time filmmaker and New Orleans native Edward Buckles, Jr., Katrina Babies offers an intimate look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the youth of New Orleans.
Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, an entire generation still grapples with the lifelong impact of having their childhood redefined by tragedy. New Orleans filmmaker Edward Buckles Jr., who was 13 years old during Katrina and its initial aftermath, spent seven years documenting the stories of his peers who survived the storm as children, using his community’s tradition of oral storytelling to open a door for healing and to capture the strength and spirit of his city.
Katrina Babies details the close-knit families and vibrant communities of New Orleans whose lives were uprooted by the 2005 disaster. These American children who were airlifted out of the rising waters, evacuated from their homes to refugee-like centers, or placed in makeshift, temporary living situations, have been neglected. As families were tasked with reintegrating into new communities, having experienced loss, displacement, and lack of support from government officials, the children were left to process their trauma in a wounded, fractured city.
Buckles raises his camera to elevate the voices of his city; utilizing confessional-style footage, home movies, animation, harrowing archival footage, and candid interviews with Katrina survivors, Buckles unearths a reservoir of grief and suppressed emotion. Through these moving, first-hand accounts, Katrina Babies journeys toward healing, not just from the most destructive storm in U.S. history, but also from the multi-generational traumas of being black and disenfranchised in America. In the face of systemic racism, government neglect, and the unprocessed pain of family separations, the children of Katrina are left to chart their own path toward healing.
Directed by Edward Buckles, Jr. of House of the Young Entertainment; produced by Edward Buckles, Jr, Audrey Rosenberg of Invisible Pictures, Rebecca Teitel of TIME Studios; executive produced by Coodie & Chike of Creative Control, Ian Orefice, Loren Hammonds, Mike Beck and Alexa Conway of TIME Studios, Eileen Tavarez and Jess Jacobs of Invisible Pictures; written by: Edward Buckles, Jr, Luther Clement-Lam, Audrey Rosenberg. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez.