Hurricane on the Bayou – The Museum of Science, Boston

@ The Museum of Science, Boston   

by Matthew Robinson

Though the world is filled with tragedy these days, none hit quite so close to home (especially for the music community) as Hurricane Katrina. And though it may seem months and worlds away for many, the story of this greatest of American tragedies must continue to be told and learned from.

Thankfully, there are some who are doing what they can. Among them are filmmaker MacGillivray Freeman who literally risked life and limb to capture the fury of this natural disaster.

Though the project started out as an educational film about the erosion of the swamplands of the Mississippi Delta (which is tragic enough, especially when you consider that the man-made levees that were installed to prevent it are actually contributing to it), Freeman and his IMAX film crew ended up riding through the eye of the biggest storm to hit the region in recent if not recorded history. Apparently, the film crew’s helicopter was a retired police vehicle and so had the markings that garnered them unparalleled access to this unprecedented storm. With this fortunate happenstance, Freeman and his talented team are able to capture the true fury of Katrina.

In doing so, however, they are also able to capture the strength and resolve of the human spirit, especially through the at times teary eyes and tear-it-up musical talents of Louisiana legends Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Allen Toussaint, Cajun bluesman Tab Benoit, Zydeco hero Chubby Carrier and his 14-year-old fiddling protégé Amanda Shaw, who had to evacuate New Orleans without knowing whether or not her beloved grandparents made it out. In parallel with their stories of loss and rebirth, the film also depicts the travails of a family of alligators that is similarly torn apart by the storm and forced to find a new way to survive. In the end, however, the story offers real solutions and reveals hope and promise, as long as we all promise to keep the story and the lessons learned firmly in mind and to follow the suggestions offered to make sure it never happens again. The Louisiana Bayou is a vital part of America both musically and environmentally. That is why this film is so important .

Watch for it in an IMAX theater near you.

Visit the web site. ©2006 M. S. Robinson, ARR