Wednesday 23 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · OCMA screens Hurricane Katrina...

OCMA screens Hurricane Katrina documentary

Mike Robertson December 11th, 2008

For those of us who don't know New Orleans, the damage left by Hurricane Katrina is still an abstract concept. Aerial shots on the news showing roofs peering up from the stagnant floodwater surface, a...

For those of us who don't know New Orleans, the damage left by Hurricane Katrina is still an abstract concept. Aerial shots on the news showing roofs peering up from the stagnant floodwater surface, ant-sized people crowded on bridges, and bunched-up washes of unidentifiable, muddy debris were the only concrete evidence we had of the storm's aftermath.

And even after all the reports, profiles and charitable events held over the three years since, it's still difficult for most of us to fully process the width and depth of what was destroyed.

"Trouble the Water," a documentary screening Thursday through Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, makes an earnest attempt to steer us away from that mainstream-media representation of New Orleans as a mass-scale deluge and push in on one family from the city's lower Ninth Ward.

Co-directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal assemble their narrative largely from footage shot by Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband, Scott. The Roberts were living in a neighborhood where they both had deep roots when Katrina made landfall. The day before the hurricane arrived, Kimberly was making the local rounds with her video camera, asking her neighbors why they weren't evacuating and how they planned make it through the storm. Many, including Kimberly and Scott, didn't have the resources to get out of town, and nowhere to go even if they did. Most seem nervous but hopeful; one man responds by getting as drunk as possible, and the rest prepare for what will undoubtedly be a nasty, but hopefully not unmanageable, storm.

Of course, as we watch the Roberts shoot footage first from their front porch, then from their upstairs bedroom, and then from their attic, it becomes clear that the worst possible scenario has come to pass.

What follows is the story of what happens to one family and its neighborhood after the flood is over. The Roberts didn't have much to begin with, and without their jobs, possessions, friends and family, they're cut loose to float like the rest of the city's detritus.

While the scenes during and immediately after the hurricane are as tense and upsetting as you would expect, the scenes documenting the Roberts' return visits to their former home are the most poignant. From finding their two dogs alive to discovering a neighbor dead in his house three weeks after the storm, the couple's emotions run the gamut from joy to despair.

While no one can deny that the Federal Emergency Management Agency dropped the ball in New Orleans, it's a point that "Trouble the Water" spends a little more time than necessary reiterating. While the government's neglect is certainly part of how things work out, spending so much time being outraged about it directs too much of the film's resources toward now-obvious, almost universally accepted political conclusions. This takes something away from the small-scale human story, which is what sets this movie apart and makes it worth watching in the first place. "Mike Robertson

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5