HBO and, first-time filmmaker and New Orleans native, Edward Buckles, Jr. have teamed up for a new, bold documentary called KATRINA BABIES.
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.
The film, produced by Invisible Pictures, TIME Studios, Creative Control and House of the Young Entertainment, will debut Wednesday August 24 at 9pm EST on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max.