Hurricane on the Bayou
Hurricane on the Bayou offers an emotional, music-driven ode to the vital swamps and undying spirit of New Orleans. Shot in the midst of Katrina, the film makes a musical journey with four musicians as they sound the call to restore the vital wetlands of Louisiana and give New Orleans hope for the future. Narrated by Meryl Streep, Hurricane on the Bayou is a powerfully moving giant screen film unlike any other.
Hurricane on the Bayou takes you beyond the headlines on a journey deep into the soul-stirring heart of Louisiana - before, during and after the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Unfolding against the poignant backdrop of the most costly natural disaster in America's history and featuring state of the art computer generated special effects depicting Katrina's fury, Hurricane on the Bayou follows a group of four musicians, both legendary and rising, as they uncover the electrifying culture of New Orleans.
Follow legendary singer, songwriter, pianist, producer and Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Allen Toussaint, the impassioned Cajun blues guitarist and wetlands activist Tab Benoit, along with 14 year old fiddling prodigy and rising teen sensation Amanda Shaw and the high energy zydeco accordion master Chubby Carrier as they explore the beautiful, alligator filled bayous on airboats, recount their personal stories of Katrina - and most of all - bring the focus to the rapidly disappearing wetlands that are New Orleans' first line of defense against deadly storms. Although these wetlands are vanishing at the astounding rate of one acre every 30 minutes, the wealth, cultural vitality and very future of New Orleans depend on their preservation.
Hurricane on the Bayou is both a haunting document of Katrina's powerful effects, a profound musical celebration of the city that has been called the "soul of America," and a compelling call to restore New Orleans and protect the vital wetlands from which the city's unique identity first arose.
The film begins in the bayou itself, as a family of alligators frolic in the water to the tune of the Cajun classic "Iko Iko." The story then sets off on an historical exploration of how New Orleans rose up hundreds of years ago out of an untamed swampland - and went on to become celebrated around the world as "The Big Easy." New Orleans evolved into the busiest port in the U.S. - but after engineers diverted the Mississippi River, depleting the wetlands, the city became increasingly vulnerable to the killer winds and rising waters of seasonal hurricanes.
Hurricane on the Bayou reveals how in the last 50 years, the natural coastal buffer that once sheltered New Orleans from severe storms has drastically deteriorated, endangering many unique animal and plant species and leaving the city wide open to Mother Nature's ferocious forces. Spectacular flights over the Gulf of Mexico reveal the shocking reality that every half an hour, Louisiana loses a section of wetlands the size of a football field.
Ultimately, the story builds to the monster storm that was Katrina and the crisis it brought to New Orleans. Visceral, state of the art computer generated effects recreates the fury of the storm, made all the more dramatic by the sheer size of the IMAX theater screen. Then, haunting, never-before-seen aerial footage of the storm's aftermath provides a new perspective on the city that is different from what most people saw on television. Finally, returning to New Orleans in the bittersweet 2006 Mardi Gras season, the film reveals a city in the first throes of recovery. Hurricane on the Bayou, with its powerful soundtrack, dramatic imagery, and important environmental message is a great example of the power of large format films and they way they can communicate with audiences long after the final credits roll.