Hurricane on the Bayou carries audiences behind news headlines on a journey deep into the soul-stirring heart of Louisiana. Shot before and after the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina and featuring state-of-the-art CGI special effects depicting the height of the storm’s fury, the film brings into focus the startling loss of Louisiana’s rapidly disappearing coastal wetlands that are New Orleans’ first line of defense against deadly storms. Told through the personal stories of four musicians, both legendary and rising, who are drawing attention to this environmental calamity, and fueled by a jazz, blues and gospel score featuring many of New Orleans’s greatest musicians, Hurricane on the Bayou is both a haunting giant screen document of Katrina’s powerful effects, a profound musical celebration of the city that has been called the “soul of America,” and a compelling call to restore New Orleans and protect the vital wetlands from which the city’s unique identity first arose.

Executive producer Audubon Nature Institute

Presented by The Weather Channel

Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation

Narrated by Meryl Streep

Featuring the New Orleans music of Allen Toussant, Dr. John, Tab Beniot, Amanda Shaw, Chubby Carrier

Runtime: 40 minutes

Format: filmed in 15 perforation/70 mm

For Educators

The Educator Guide includes lesson plans and hands-on activities for grades 4-8.  All activities developed for this guide support National Education Standards for Science, Geography, Math and English.

Honors and Reviews
  • Best Film of the Year, Best Sound of the Year, Best Film of the Year for Lifelong Learning and Best Marketing Campaign of the Year by a Distributor – 2007 GSCA Achievement Awards
  • Best Cinematography – 2007 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award – 2007 CINE Awards
  • Youth Prize – 2007 La Géode Large Format Film Festival, Paris
  • Official Selection – 2008 Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC

“The powerful film is a clarion call for the restoration of the wetlands that protect coastal communities…The moving film mourns what New Orleans has lost and celebrates what it could be again if the rebuilding is approached sensibly… ★★★★ (out of 4)”
– New Orleans Times-Picayune

Hurricane on the Bayou is a graceful film, beautifully edited and photographed. The film leaves moviegoers with two very important things: hope that the wetlands can be recovered and the spirit lifting sound of another of Louisiana’s great natural resources, music.”
– Baton Rouge Advocate

“Seen on an IMAX screen, the now-familiar imagery of the devastation in New Orleans and other areas takes on a new resonance as the sheer size of the affected areas is felt more fully.”
– Los Angeles Times

“…majestic…grand…the film manages to make an emotional impact that few documentaries ever achieve.”
– Houma Daily Courier

Visit the film website for behind-the-scenes videos, educational materials, and more.

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