Monique Verdin (Houma) with camera by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in Violet, Louisiana. Photo by Andy Cook.
Distributed by American Public Television on Sunday, April 5
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA — My Louisiana Love first began when Monique Verdin (Houma) and her boyfriend, Mark Krasnoff, started recording Monique’s Native American relatives in southeast Louisiana. Hoping to capture the Houma Indian’s struggle to live in bayou communities plagued with environmental injustice, they filmed eroding wetlands and interviewed Native elders. Their documentation quickly shifted after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, leaving Mark and Monique facing their own personal struggles in the aftermath’s apocalyptic reality–only to be followed by more devastation to the Gulf Coast with Hurricane Rita and the BP oil leak.
“I want to keep living on our land–but I’m inheriting a dying delta,” exclaimed Verdin, who is also the film’s co-producer/co-writer along with director Sharon Linezo Hong.
The Houma Tribe is one of the largest Native American tribes in North America with a population of about 17,000. The Tribe is recognized by the state of Louisiana but not by the federal government. There are six service areas of the United Houma Nation and most of the communities in this area are located outside risk-reduction levees with decaying marshlands to the south as their only buffer against storm-surge floodwaters. South Louisiana has lost over 1,883 square miles from 1932 to 2010–a land mass greater than the state of Rhode Island.
The Houma people have thrived through farming, fishing, and hunting game. This lifestyle has been severely threatened by a combination of both manmade and natural disasters. As the film progresses, we learn more about how the land is being changed by man’s endless efforts for “progress”–witnessing the impact of the oil and gas industry, manipulation of the waterways, and other influences that are hurting the fragile environment.
“We hope My Louisiana Love will help the Houma people find a seat at decision-making tables, and give a face to the dire need for a long-term balance between industrial development and preservation of Indigenous cultures and the environment,” explained Hong.
To watch the film’s trailer, visit visionmakermedia.org/films/my-louisiana-love. My Louisiana Love is distributed by American Public Television (APT) and will be available to Public Television stations nationwide Sunday, April 5, 2015. For broadcast information in your area, please visit pbs.org/stations.