It’s been blogged about before but it needs to be blogged about again. I am a huge mark for the NPR show “This American Life.” There is something about the content, production, music, narration and theme that speaks right down into my tender little soul and touches it in sentimental ways.
So, to give a little back to this great radio show that plays on WWNO from 5-6 on Sundays, I wanted to post that there will be a live This American Life event at two Greater New Orleans theaters in the area tonight.
AMC Westbank Palace 16
1151 MANHATTAN BLVD
HARVEY, LA 70058
AMC Elmwood Palace 20
1200 ELMWOOD PARK BLVD
HARAHAN, LA 70123
And if you can’t make the events, make sure you check this great episode that you can stream…
In 1912 a four year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing in a swamp in Louisiana. Eight months later, he was found in the hands of a wandering handyman in Mississippi. (The picture at left was taken just days later.) In 2004, his granddaughter discovered a secret beneath the legend of her grandfather’s kidnapping, a secret whose revelation would divide her own family, bring redemption to another, and become the answer to a third family’s century-old prayer. We devote our entire episode to the story.
They also have a Katrina episode that I haven’t yet listened to so I can’t vouch for…
Surprising stories from survivors in New Orleans. We give people who were in the storm more time than daily news coverage can to tell their stories and talk about what they’re thinking. This leads to a number of ideas that haven’t made it into the regular news coverage.
Host Ira Glass talks about something he read that seemed to put an end to all debate over one of the key issues swirling around right now. He checks with William Nichelson, author of the books Emergency Response and Emergency Management Law and Homeland Security Law and Policy, to see if he’s correctly understanding the issue. (5 minutes)
Act One. Middle of Somewhere.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Denise Moore was trapped in the New Orleans Convention Center with her mom, her niece, and her niece’s two-year-old daughter. There, she witnessed acts of surprising humanity by armed thugs, taking charge and doing good. (15 minutes)
Song: ” When the Levee Breaks,” Memphis Minnie
Act Two. Forgotten, But Not Lost.
To find out more about the bridge Denise talked about in act one and the armed police who prevented pedestrians from crossing, This American Life producer Alex Blumberg talks with Lorrie Beth Slonsky and her husband Larry Bradshaw. They’re paramedics from San Francisco who were visiting New Orleans for a convention when Hurricane Katrina hit. After the storm, they tried to escape the city in a number of ways. When they tried to leave the city on foot, they were told, at gunpoint, by police, that they must turn back. We also hear from Debbie Zelinsky, who was with them. (17 minutes)
Song: “Walking to New Orleans,” Fats Domino
Act Three. Social Studies Lesson.
We compare Fox TV talk show host Bill O’Reilly’s ideas about the hurricane’s aftermath with those of Ashley Nelson, an 18-year-old who lives in the Lafitte Housing projects in New Orleans, in one of the flooded neighborhoods. Among other things, she explains what it feels like to go without food and water for two days. (5 minutes) Ashley is the author of an amazing book called The Combination, about her neighborhood in New Orleans. Contact The Neighborhood Stories Project for information on getting a copy.
Song: ” Them That Got,” Ray Charles
Act Four. Diaspora.
Hundreds of thousands of Gulf residents evacuated before the storm and followed the whole thing from afar. Cheryl Wagner left for Gainesville, Florida, where her friends advised her to buy a gun and a mean dog before returning home to New Orleans. (4 minutes)
Act Five. Displaced Persons Camp.
In August 2004, Hurricane Charley devastated parts of Florida. Afterwards, FEMA built a trailer park to provide immediate temporary housing for those who’d lost their homes in the storm. More than a year later, over 500 trailers are still there — and in them, more than a thousand people with nowhere else to go. Just this week in the New York Times, a FEMA official said that the kinds of mobile homes found in Punta Gorda may become “the standard” for those left without homes due to Hurricane Katrina. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak talked to the park’s residents to see how things are going and talk about their prospects for moving on a year later. (5 minutes)
Songs: “Sitting in Limbo,” Jimmy Cliff; and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” Louis Armstrong and his Dixieland Seven