The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—Katrina’s Babies & a Yellow House

Oct 10, 2022

Video: Katrina’s Babies, Edward Buckles, Jr., 2022, documentary on HBO

Edward Buckles was 13 when Katrina hit New Orleans 17 years ago, in August of 2005. The aftershocks continue to haunt all those who experienced it, but especially the children.

Buckles started filming when he was 23 years old, teaching media in a New Orleans high school. Most of the film is letting the children or their families speak. It shows the horrific loss of community and neighborhood, especially black and working-class neighborhoods, that can never be replaced, and the continuing consequences for people’s lives to this day.

But more than anything, the film gives the youth a voice, and thereby a chance to help lead us to a society that values human life and all its possibilities.

Book: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah Broom, 2019, National Book Award Winner

In this novel, the award-winning author tells of the last 100 years of her family’s history in New Orleans and the catastrophic arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Sarah Broom is the youngest of 12 children, and her book lets each member of her family speak. Through their eyes and their voices, you see not just a family saga, but an intertwined history of the city and the choices that determined life in New Orleans. It highlights the racial segregation, the jobs that were there, and those that are gone.

You witness the city “planning” and greed that built highways through neighborhoods or built developments on swamp land that was below sea level. You hear of neighborhoods that are left off tourist maps, neighborhoods that house essential workers and the heart of the city. And you come away with a new definition of home, heartbreak, and social transformation.