Children of climate change come of age in “Katrina Babies”


But the filmmaker said in his new documentary ‘Katrina Babies’ that any children traumatized by the hurricane and its aftermath were not being watched by adults. So that’s what he set out to do, capturing several New Orleans residents as they come to terms with a childhood ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

The documentary, which garnered critical acclaim, will be available to stream on HBO Max on August 24 and debut on HBO the same day at 9 p.m. ET, 17 years and one day after the hurricane formed in the ‘Atlantic Ocean.

It shows how New Orleans and its people have been transformed by the storm. It depicts the childhood trauma he caused to a generation that came of age after one of the first major climate-related disasters in the United States. The New Orleans residents featured in the documentary recount seeing dead people and pets, leaving their homes and returning to destroyed communities when they were still children.

The film delves into past and present climate and, the filmmakers hope, raises alarm bells for the climate future.

“I hope this is a local and American story that will motivate people to want to do better and to care about human beings, and how intrinsically we are connected to nature and the future is clear: there is will have more of that,” said Audrey Rosenberg, the film’s lead producer.

Buckles said while Hurricane Katrina may have been a formative experience for him and New Orleans youth at the time, other waters have since passed. Although he is not a climatologist, he knows firsthand the repeated damage to his hometown from hurricanes and tropical storms made more intense by climate change.

“My grandmother lost her home to flooding from Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “It flooded seven more times just from tropical storms.”

Cierra Chenier, 26, was featured in the documentary and also knows people who have had to rebuild multiple times since Hurricane Katrina due to subsequent hurricanes and storms.

She said the loss of culture and history in New Orleans due to repeated weather disasters like Hurricane Katrina shaped her decision to become a local historian and writer.

“I started wanting to preserve our history because of how quickly I felt my childhood became history,” she said. Even though the storm happened 17 years ago, she said, it continues to shape the present.

“By preserving our stories, writing about those stories and telling those stories, it’s always connected to the present and we can form better solutions for the future,” she said.

Chenier, Buckles and the rest of the young people affected by Hurricane Katrina have a lot to say about how the future is based on their experiences of years of inaction by government agencies to limit climate change, and prepare and prepare. recover from climatic disasters. Year after year, New Orleans residents and the state and federal government know that hurricane season is coming and potentially catastrophic due to climate change, Buckles said.

And yet, he said, Hurricane Ida, which hit New Orleans 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina, affected residents of his community in eerily similar ways to the 2005 storm. Relief measures, he said, were almost as slow.

As a result, members of his community have become more resilient. But he said he wondered if government agencies relied on people affected by climate-related disasters to help themselves when they really needed public planning and preparedness.

“Young people are tired of dealing with this, myself included,” he said. “And we can’t forget to hold accountable those who need to be held accountable.”


Follow Drew Costley on Twitter: @drewcostley.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

By Drew Costley, Associated Press


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