“It’s not about what we went through in ten years; it’s about the fact I’m here ten years after, and I can still celebrate and be happy.” Robert Green, a lifelong resident of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, who lost his home, and family members in the floodwaters which followed Hurricane Katrina. He is one of the people Louisiana Public Broadcasting will introduce you to in their new documentary Katrina Ten Years After: A Second Life, A Second Chance, premiering on Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Sunday, August 23rd at 7PM.

The program will air statewide on Saturday, August 29th (on LPB & WYES) at 7PM, on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.

Katrina Ten Years After: A Second Life, A Second Chancenarrated by Wendell Pierce (Tremé, Selma) and produced and directed by LPB’s Tika Laudun (Louisiana A History series, Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard)  looks back at the storm, but more importantly, at the resurrection of New Orleans. The program reflects on past experiences and lessons learned, while exploring future plans for rebuilding and maintaining Louisiana’s culture and coastline.

“As these marshes, ridges, and barrier islands start disappearing, they make us more vulnerable to storm surges, and those cities are in great danger because of that reason, and Katrina showed that quite convincingly,”,” says Kerry St. Pé, a marine biologist and Emeritus Director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary, a 4.2-million acre area currently experiencing the world’s fastest rate of land loss.

The program spotlights grassroots efforts by New Orleans residents who continue to make strides in rebuilding their neighborhoods.

“I ended up opening up my house, bringing volunteers here. And that’s really where I started” said Connie Uddo from New Orleans’ Lakeview area. Before the storm, it was regarded as one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods. Along with the Lower Ninth Ward, Lakeview suffered the most damage from the storm and subsequent flooding.

Uddo’s family home became the first satellite for Beacon of Hope Resource Center, a grassroots organization which helped repopulate and redevelop neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“New Orleans, you know, is far better than I ever dreamed we’d be. I’m proud of the people that live here – that we pulled ourselves up. I think we surprised the country,” said Uddo.

Post-Katrina, the Orleans Parish population is still rebounding, as it remains more than 100,000 below what is was in July 2005. Floodwaters did not wash away some of the city’s most chronic problems such as crime and poverty, but strides have been made in other areas such as education. According to the Recovery School District, over 90% of all public school students in the city attend charter schools. New Orleans leads the nation among urban districts in the percentage of public school students enrolled in charter schools.

Healthcare was another area that was due for a facelift even before Katrina. At Charity Hospital, which was among the oldest continuously operating hospitals in the U.S., there were serious shortfalls.

“We would run out of money toward the end of the year,” explained Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Hurricane Katrina forced healthcare providers to find new, creative solutions to save lives.

“Part of rebuilding New Orleans healthcare after Katrina was not just community health, not just seeing that we have ways for people to pay for care, getting better quality, we needed to replace some infrastructure hospitals like the Veterans’ Hospital and what used to be the Charity Hospital that’s now the University Medical Center.”

The city’s culture survived the storm, says Nick Spitzer, a folklorist and professor of anthropology and American studies at Tulane University in New Orleans.

“Music and culture in general has led the return and recovery because natives simply couldn’t do without the life. They wanted to be back here. And the culture’s what brought people back.”

Katrina Ten Years After: A Second Life, A Second Chance was produced and directed by Tika Laudun. Rex Q. Fortenberry was the photographer and editor. It was written by Charles E. Richard. Original music was composed by Mike Esneault.

Support for Katrina Ten Years After: A Second Life, A Second Chance was provided by First NBC Bank, the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, and the Gulf Coast Innovation Fund at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Promotional support is provided by the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans.

About Louisiana Public Broadcasting – Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Louisiana Public Broadcasting serves the state of Louisiana with stations in six of the state’s major markets. During its four decades on the air, LPB has specialized in documentaries about the Bayou State including the duPont Columbia award-winning six-part series Louisiana: A History, A Summer of Birds, and Washing Away: After the Storms.

Contacts: Louisiana Public Broadcasting – (800) 272-8161

LPB Promotions: Margaret T. Schlaudecker – (225) 767-4276

LPB Producer: Tika Laudun – (225) 767-4262