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Laure Ingabire English 1102 Ashlyn Walden

Observation One Wednesday, January 22, 2014 Documentary: When the Levee Broke Description of the Location: Within this documentary, there are several places being observed to exemplify the damage that was caused- there was several shots of damaged homes, schools and facilities. Due to the fact that so many victims of Hurricane Katrina were left homeless after the storm, there are several shots of where the victims were shipped out of Louisiana to live after the storm hit. The documentary itself focuses on the people of New Orleans, but the documentary also makes a point to showcase the places that were also hit but the awful storm along the East Coast. In many of the shots, the cameramen focus on the disastrous damage and chaos that affected the people of Louisiana. There are many shots of the levees that are used to regulate water levels that were destroyed with the storm. Over 300,500 homes were destroyed by the hurricane. There were plenty of shots of how Louisiana was before the hurricane hit- it was beautiful and lively, with people happy to be there. After the storm hit, the documenters made sure to show the people in distress and sadness. There were torn down electrical cables, trees, and almost all buildings were damaged. There are shots were the former President of the United States, George W. Bush, comes to witness the damage first hand. Essentially, the main focus is the destruction that the storm caused. Images of Location:

Pictured is a home that has completely collapsed due to the hurricane. The tiling on the roof has been wiped off, the window to the attic has been destroyed. You can barely recognize the house it used to be.

Pictured is an image of the flooding around the dome where many refugees were sent as they waited to be reconnected with their family members.

Figured World: A figured world is a community containing essential members and important artifacts that contribute to the way the community behaves; there are specific rules and social norms that are observed within this world. Rules and Regulations: The figured world I plan to observe is the community of people that were struck by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. My inspiration for choosing this figured world to observe was the Sundance film Beasts of the Southern Wild. In this film, a little girl named Hushpuppy and her friends and family are faced with dealing with a terrible upcoming storm. There is a common theme/motif of poverty throughout the entire film. The communities of people that live in the Bathtub live in worn down shacks and have little to nothing to their name. The storm that affected the people of Bathtub destroyed everything, much like Hurricane Katrina did for so many people on the east coast. I will be observing three documentaries on Hurricane Katrina and how the storm changed the lives of so many people. The three films I will be watching for research will be When the Levees Broke, Trouble the Water, and The Axe in the Attic. There are specific rules and conventions within any figured world, and this one is no different. Within the figured world I am observing, it is very similar to any typical community would be in the United States. Before the hurricane hit, life was normal. People work, children play- life ran similarly to how it runs for us now. During the storm, everyones main concern is to protect themselves and those that they love, and get to a safer place. After the storm, the main focus is to figure out hoe to rebuild their life again. There are three main discourse communities that I expect to see within these films: the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the people helping with disaster relief, and the outsiders- the people observing the terrible event on the news and social media. Actors: Actors are the members of the figured world that play a significant role in the system; they utilize the artifacts used throughout the figured world. The actors of the documentarya When the Levees Broke are the victims that were directly and indirectly affected by impacts of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Note: The documentary When the Levees Broke is a film of many different interviews; there are several significant roles within the film, none of which play a bigger role than the other. This

is the reason I chose a few members of the film that I believed showcases the true purpose of the film. Reverend Al Sharpton- Rev. Al Sharpton is one of Americas most renowned civil activists. After Hurricane Katrina, he and many other influential figures in politics and civil rights, constructed the idea that President Bush did not distribute the appropriate aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. During one of his interviews in this film, Reverend Al Sharpton said, if there is a person that is a symbol that many blacks organize around and organize against in this generation, it would be Bush. Weve gone from fire hoses to levees, he added. He contributed a different perspective than I had ever imagined during the film, the fact that the affect of the levees breaking were somehow a racial target. President George W. Bush- The former President of the United States, George W. Bush, was depicted as the villain throughout the film. Victims of the tragic hurricane were appalled that it took the President almost 3 weeks to respond to their needs. This caused a lot of societal unrest within the people of Louisiana. The President acts as the superior with all the power, despite his lack of action showcased within the film. Doug Brinkley- Clark Professor of History is a faculty member at Tulane University, and author of The Great Deluge. Doug Brinkley was interviewed several times throughout the film. His main focus during his interviews was basically how the President was concerned with everything but the well being of the people of Louisiana. Brinkley noted that Bush was concerned with who would pay for the damages, whether is would come out of the state of Louisianas pocket or the United State governments pocket. Brinkley made the point to say that the victims should have been the Presidents first priority, not the bills. Audrey Wilson- Audrey Wilson was a resident of Gentilly, New Orleans. Wilson represents the community of people that think negatively about FEMA. She and hundreds of victims like herself where transferred to New York. She could not return home to Louisiana for three months, due to FEMAs orders. As some sort of compensation, FEMA gave her a hotel room to reside in for the time being, all expenses paid for. After three months, FEMA let them all know that all the funds were used up, and they could no longer pay for them to live in the hotel. If they planned to continue staying there, they would have to pay for it themselves. Wilson said in an interview, its almost as if the actual levees breaking was the easy part, putting your life back together again- now thats the hard part. Kathy Phipps- Kathy is a resident of the bayous of Louisiana, acts of the representation of the community of people that think positively about FEMA. Phipps was about to relocate to Utah in a new neighborhood. She was welcomed with open arms into the new community, and is now living in a home that is already paid off. She was separated from her family, but was able to reconnect with her children in less than a week, which is considerably soon compared to how long it took people to be reconnected with their family.

Artifacts: Artifacts are an item that holds significance or symbolic value within a figured world. In my figured world within the film When the Levees Broke, there are not very many artifacts but the ones that are observed hold high significance. Levees- the levees breaking during Hurricane Katrina resulted in some devastating events for thousands of people in Louisiana. It resulted in nearly 1,600 causalities, and up to 800 people missing. An estimated 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater, up to 20 feet deep in some areas. Hurricane Katrina caused $81 billion in property damages, but it is estimated that the total economic impact in Louisiana and Mississippi may exceed $150 billion, earning the title of the costliest hurricane ever in US history, according to DoSomething.org. The levees were constructed to protect the state from any unwanted water damage from the Mississippi River. Phone/Technology- after Hurricane Katrina, power outrages affected most of Louisiana for months. The hurricane caused for many people to be displaced and separated from their family members. When trying to reconnect with their family, technology and phones were so essential and such a privilege to have. Homes- throughout the film, there were images of old and new homes, which both hold different value. The hurricane destroyed so many homes, leaving people homeless and in need of refuge. FEMA gave many victims a place to call their own after Hurricane Katrina hit, granted it was in different parts of the US, it was still a chance for them to start a new life, a better life. Anger- Many of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were upset with the lack of assistance coming from the US government. They imagined that they would come to their aid immediately, but it ended up taking the President 3 weeks to get down to Louisiana and help his fellow Americans. Another thing that upset many of the Louisiana victims was the fact that they were displaced to other states and referred to as refugees.

Discourse Communities: Groups of people in a figured world who share common goals and act in similar ways to reach those goals. FEMA- Federal Emergency Management Agency, the main purpose of this organization is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the US. During the film, the audience was show that FEMA provided some housing and amenities to the victims of the hurricane.

The Observation *Note: NOLA- New Orleans, Lousisiana 10 minutes into the film:

The first shot from the film is of a women; she is praying to God for the people effected by the Hurricane Katrina, she is thanking Him for His protection during the storm and she is hopefully that God will continue to protect the victims of Hurricane Katrina during this difficult time. There are several images of the damage that was brought out by the hurricane. There is evidence of a huge flood- the water is murky and unclean. There are people rummaging through debris trying to find any remains that hold any value to them. There are animals on the loose in the streets. There are images of disaster relief aids bringing in helicopters to rescue people from the disastrous scenes. There are school buses that have been destroyed. All the people that have been shown show pain and suffering on their face. There is a montage of tombstones and burial sites where fallen victims have been put to rest. Throughout the storm, there were so many casualties. There are images of people crying and children trying to find their families. There is a clip of a group of men who had a popular brass band in NOLA, that try to make a life for each other again once relocated to a new city. The band members talk about how they dont feel as though they have to up and change their entire life because of the storm, they should be able to do what they love anywhere in spite of it. Reporter says that the capital of LA, Baton Rouge, has become the temporary home for thousands of refugees from the Gulf Coast. 12,000 people are being relocated to Tennessee and 20,000 people are being relocated to Arkansas. 150,000 people are being relocated to Texas. Claims being made about higher crime rates in Houston, Texas after New Orleans relocate to TX. NOLA gangs want street cred in TX streets. 15 murders since NOLA folk were relocated. Critic makes a point to say that violence was present before NOLA folk came over. Henry Belafonte, actor, people are displaced, and things are dysfunctional people are forced to fend for themselves. Montage of people that are still missing after the tropical storm. Mothers and children are yearning to find their loved ones. Notes the difficulty of being in a place where you dont know anyone and you cant call anyone because the phone lines dont work, the electricity is so unreliable. Al Sharpton is the voice of the African American people- where is the government in all of this? what is Bush doing to help the African American people on Louisiana? 20 minutes into the film: Kanye West says on live TV President Bush doesnt care about black people. He says he did not come knowing what he was going to say, but he knew he had to say something and it had to be honest. Al Sharpton comments on Kanye West saying a lot of people feel t he same sentiments as West. Sharpton referred to it as sticking up for his people. (politics) Dr. Ben Marble, ER physician, talks about the complete devestation in his community, says that he is stopped from going home because the VP of the US at the time Dick Cheney was talking to

people in his neighborhood. Marble says that the response to the natural disaster was completely incompetent from the government officials. Screams out go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney! in response to his inaction to the effects of the storm. where was FEMA when everyone was dying from the storm? When President came to visit NOLA 9/16/2005, he conducts a speech promising that he was going to do anything he can to help. NOLA lawyer noticed that his law firm office was lit up with lights and electricity when the President was visiting, and he comes in the next morning and the lights are all off-no power. The media needs to create an event for the President, needed to present NOLA as if it were coming back to life. NOLAns are fed up with Bush administration. Victims are worried because they feel as though it is killing the city. Racial Target? Aubrey Wilson claims none of the black victims are not getting the aid they need. FEMA is kicking out the victims from the hotels in NY, they are unable to take care of the funds that comes with it. Families are in distress, and families are separated. Holidays are not spent as they usually are. Many people of NOLA do not want to venture further out, because thats where they are from and born. They dont know where to go because they are so used to NOLA. Hate to be referred to as refugees. The topic of refugees- US citizen of America being called a refugee- what kinda sense is that, man? Gralen B. Banks oh, Im sorry, when the storm came in did it blow away our citizenship, too? 30 minutes into the movie: Al Sharpton refutes the term refugee to be used on the victims. He is appalled when Barbara Bush says that the victims of Hurricane Katrina are living better than they ever did (in the Houston Astrodome). Barbara Bush says, So many of them were underprivileged anyway. This is working very well for them. Sharpton notes Clinton says nothing, Bush says nothing. Michael Katz, professor of history, University of Pennsylvania notes that the US government has the money to do what it thinks is very important ie) man on the moon, war in Iraq, infrastructure. Really a question of priority and what is important. Observation Two When the Levees Broke 10 minutes in (second half): There is a town meeting in Texas for relocated victims of NOLA- they are expressing their NEED for assistance from FEMA. Parents complaining about their children asking when they can come back home to Louisiana. There are upset because the federal government is trying to placate them, instead of actually help them. There want answers and they want them as soon as possible. They are upset because they have been away from home for several months and do not

understand what everything is still. The is no progress being made, and there needs to be great progression for the city of NOLA and the people of NOLA. The government can go to Iraq, and take care of people in Iraq, but cannot take care of the people here in the United States. Its absurd. People are still homeless; people are still waiting for their FEMA checks. Where is my government? There is a long list of pending FEMA applications. 20 minutes in (second half): Victims were expecting there to be a large community of trailers set up for them, with people working to rebuild the city day by day- together, making a change. However what they came to discover was that there were huge lots of trailers but no people living in them due to continued pending FEMA applications. Victims are fed up with FEMA due to their inability to cooperate and assist in the things that matter. There is a long waiting list, but the victims of the storm dont have the time to be on a waiting list. They need help a.s.a.p.

Observation Three News Special: NBC Katrina: What Went Wrong- A Dateline Special 10 minutes into the video: Reporter asks how did it happen? How could those in charge see what all of America saw and not rush to their aid? what is the next move? Montages of dead bodies, crying victims Reporter asks what went wrong? was hurricane Katrina preventable? Secretary of Homeland Security speaks about how proud the Bush administration is over the help they have provided. President Bush says that 1) he is ashamed at the relief he is not providing but also 2) congratulates FEMA president over the work he has been doingcontradicting actions. FEMA is apparently working 24 hours a day to help the victims, though the actual victims are not receiving any of the end result. Marc Schlosky, being interviewed, claims he predicted Hurricane Katrina in 2002; he called for rising water than drowns thousands, others will be washed wawy or crushed by debris. He wrote a prophetic article about the tropical storm saying that people would be trapped on roofs due to flooding waters. Marc predicted this due to how prone LA is to tropical storms- had been a dozen storms in the area for over 100 years. The Great Storm in 1700s, LA begin to build levees to protect the city. NOLA is unique to floods. Recognizing the threat, starting in the 1960s the fed govt spent millions on the levees in order to ensure that the levees keep the water out.

Katrina needed more attention because she was the biggest storm LA has seen in over 100 years, the levees would have to be updated. The president of the Hurricane Watch Inst. Of Miami Predicted the flooding of NOLA, an email was sent out to federal agencies that a storm surge would lead to flooding in NOLA. Catastrophic storm. He was so concerned that he called anyone he could to get the message out. Max Mayfield called the mayor, and legislative members to make sure they were aware of the upcoming storm. Mayfield even called president of the united states- President signed a disaster declaration. Mayor of NOLA demanded that the civilians evacuate the city.

20 minutes into the video: For years experts knew that a catstrophic storm was coming- but no officials did anything about it. Federal officials claim they did not know the levees would not hold up during the storm, though reports show that they were clearly warned. Reporter says that initially there was no extreme flooding in NOLA, so it was assumed that the levees were still going strong, but the next day the storm surge was tampered with disturbing the floodwalls. Reporter Brian Williams of the Today Show reports on 8/30/2005 as the flooding begins to worsen. As bad as 20 feet of water was in NOLA.

30 minutes into the video: There is a meeting with FEMA referencing how reliable the levees were- noted that even the leader of FEMA said that the levees may not have been constructed to do what they were supposed to so which is protect from a category 3 storm.

Interview Questions *Notes: For this interview, I will be asking several key members from the documentaries what they thought during the hurricane. I will be conducting these interviews as if I am the reporter, and creating the interview responses based on the film clips that I used for my observations.

1. Tell me about your initial reaction to the storm? Aubrey Wilson, a direct victim of Hurricane Katrina, responding.

It was devastating. I didnt think I would make it out alive. FEMA got me over to a hotel in New York. Because I was separated from my family, it was just me in the hotel. I was alone in a city I knew nothing about. I stayed in that hotel with other victims for about three months before FEMA told us all they couldnt cover out stay anymore. I was dumbfounded. How exactly did they expect us to cover our stay at the hotel with no money, not even a dime to our name? When is the government going to finally look out for us? I cannot keep waiting for them to answer my call. I need my life back now. 2. How do you go about deciding whom to save first as a member of disaster relief? Red Cross volunteer responding. Essentially, we usually try to save women and children first. They are our first priority. But in a natural disaster at this magnitude its hard to prioritize the people you need to save. Everyone needs help. We just try to do the best we can. 3. After Hurricane Katrina, how do you think youll go about natural disasters like this in the future? Marc Schlosky responding, hurricane watcher. We predicted this storm to come. That fact of the matter is, the people that were supposed to be in charge did not perform their job. They had an obligation to get the world out to the public, to ensure that everyone is safe. We can definitely track storms like this, but we need to make sure the federal government is getting the word out. 4. What contributions did FEMA have on the victims of the natural disaster? President George W. Bush responding. According to FEMA, the initial response was to put forth life saving and life sustaining efforts, and the Rapid Needs Assessment teams assed damage in the affected areas. FEMAs task force, the US Coast Guard, National Guard troops and state and local first responders performed search and rescue missions, and rescued an estimated 50,000 victims. In addition, FEMA began moving pre-staged trucks of water, ice, and MREs from federal operational staging areas into the disaster area and to various points of distribution. 5. How is the overall morale of the victims of the terrible storm in Louisiana now? Mayor of Louisiana, Ray Nagin, responding. It took a long time to rebuild the state of Louisiana; even still we are trying to recover from the devastating tragedy. But we as a people are resilient, and we continue to persevere against all odds. I believe in my great state.