The Big Easy has long been a favorite locale for novelists and filmmakers. Yet Hurricane Katrina, now ten years in the past, has added a whole new dimension for storytellers.
Ava DuVernay, who directed the feature film Selma, has her eye on New Orleans. Participant Media revealed that she will write, direct and produce a story about love and murder with Hurricane Katrina as a focal point. Actor David Oyelowo, who portrayed Martin Luther King in Selma, may also be involved.
Can anyone blame artists for wanting to revisit the destructive days of Katrina? Recent ceremonies commemorating the heroes of that event reminded me how many deserving stories have not yet been told.
If we actually took a toll of how many movies and books have somehow used Katrina, the long list might dissuade some writers.
Best-selling N’awlins author James Lee Burke couldn’t resist the aftermath of HK in The Tin Roof Blowdown: A Dave Robicheaux Novel. The writers below also took on the apocalyptic wall of wind and rain:
· Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi
· Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
· One D.O.A., One on the Way by Mary Robison
· Map Of Moments by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
· Taken Away by Patty Friedmann
· Murder in the Rue Chartres by Greg Herren
· New Orleans Noir edited by Julie Smith
My debut novel The Accidental Vigilante does not include HK, but that doesn’t mean I won’t draw on it for future projects. And I know others will too.
And why not? Even without the fateful day that Katrina hit land, New Orleans resonates with fascinating people, cultures and settings. Also, crime continues to blemish the Crescent City in ways that are startling.
And the story of a city recovering from a near-death experience cannot help but draw on its history to illuminate why the new homes and buildings that have risen since 2005 are proud moments for people who were once in distress.
I wish DuVernay well with her unnamed project. And I welcome other artists to keep New Orleans in mind when considering where to set a new movie, TV show or book.
Robert Sterling Hecker