Media Catalogue: Louisiana and Southern History

*All Over But to Cry: Hurricane Audrey

Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
Feature length documentary about the epic struggle between man and nature when Hurricane Audrey struck rural Cameron Parish in 1957. Audrey was unique in that in addition to storm surge and strong winds, survivors recounted a single giant tidal wave that could be seen roaring across the wetlands. Residents of quiet coastal communities awoke to find they were trapped by rising water from the fast moving storm that made landfall 12 hours earlier than projected. Gripping interviews with survivors, many of whom watched in horror as loved ones were swept away, are mixed with archival photos, footage, re-enactments and 3D animations.
Producer: National Hurricane Museum & Science Center
Director: Jennifer John Block

*Among Brothers: Politics in New Orleans 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
Focusing on the New Orleans mayoral race of 1986, this documentary tracks the rise of the new black urban politics that emerged as political cleavages developed within the black community. These events are closely considered within the context of urban ethnic political history. Copyright 1987.
Producer: Center for New American Media
Director: Paul Stekler

*Calvin Peter Thompson 
Video: DVD, color; 28 minutes
During the development of black cultural and political consciousness in the mid-20th century, especially in the rural regions of central Louisiana, the church played a major role. The story of one man, the Rev. Calvin Peter Thompson, as he became a leading force in the black struggle, offers a critical assessment of this development. As an educator and clergyman, Thompson overcame social and economic hardship to provide a model for succeeding generations of black Americans. Copyright 1979.
Producer: W. Belmont Townsend Foundation
Director: Tom Whitehead

The Civil War 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes (9 episodes)
The award-winning, full-scale film history traces the terrible conflict that tore the country apart and defined us as a nation. Five years in the making by documentarian Ken Burns, this profound series movingly and vividly represents the entire sweep of the war in which two percent of the American population died. The set consists of nine tapes, but each of the following episodes is available individually as well: 1861-The Cause; 1862-A Very Bloody Affair; 1862-Forever Free; 1863-Simply Murder; 1863-The Universe of Battle; 1864-Valley of the Shadow of Death; 1864-Most Hallowed Ground; 1865-War is All Hell; and 1865-The Better Angels of Our Nature. Copyright 1990.
Producer: Florentine Films
Director: Ken Burns

*Dawn’s Early Light: Ralph McGill and the Segregated South 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
A multi-state grant supported this documentary on the life and times of Ralph McGill, longtime editor of the Atlanta Constitution, who was influential in the fight for civil rights and against racial segregation in the South. Copyright 1986.
Producer: South Carolina Educational Television Network
Director: Kathleen Dowdey/Jed Dannenbaum

*The Ends Of The Earth: Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana 
Video: DVD, color; 65 minutes
The saga of the Perez family and how its political wheeling and dealing has affected Plaquemines Parish. Included are interviews with Judge Leander Perez, whose total control of the parish verged on the legendary. Clips of Leander Perez, Jr. and Chalin Perez are also presented, as are interviews with voters and prominent residents of the parish. The documentary, which reveals how poverty existed alongside wealth in a state stricken with political tyranny, describes what happened to a forgotten parish rocked by the discovery of oil in 1933. Copyright 1982.
Producer: The Center for New American Media
Director: Andrew Kolker

*George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire 
Video: DVD, color; 3 hours (two videotapes)
This is a documentary biography of the longtime Alabama governor who made four attempts at the presidency of the United States. The film examines the rise of white backlash, the turn of American politics towards the right in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, and the role that George Wallace played in this history. Copyright 2000.
Co-producers/Directors: Paul Stekler, Daniel McCabe

*Hands That Picked Cotton: Black Politics in The Rural South 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
This documentary honored the 20-year anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 and affords viewers a rare opportunity to analyze the impact this landmark legislation has had on voters and politicians in rural Louisiana and Mississippi. More important, the film chronicles the growth (and frustrations) of a new-found political consciousness among previously disenfranchised people attempting to make their voice heard from outside the system. The film analyzes the disappointments and problems facing several black candidates as they seek entry into the historically white-dominated political arenas in both states. Copyright 1984.
Producer: Alan Bell
Director: Paul Stekler

Haunted Waters, Fragile Lands 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
The Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary is used as a case study, framing national environmental problems in a historical perspective. This hour-long documentary examines the historical and cultural factors that have influenced land and water-usage patterns and resource exploitation in southeast Louisiana. Copyright 1994.
Producer/Director: Glen Pitre

*He Must Have Something 
Video: DVD, color; 90 minutes
This documentary — the humanities answer to Hollywood’s JFK — uses archival footage and interviews with those involved in the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, the only person ever prosecuted in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Historian Michael Kurtz of Southeastern Louisiana University provides a thoughtful critique and factual perspective of Oliver Stone’s grossly distorted portrayal of the trial that set off a national campaign to discredit attorney Jim Garrison’s hypothesis and defend the Warren Commission’s report on the assassination. Copyright 1994.
Producer: WLAE-TV, New Orleans
Director: Steven Tyler

*Huey Long 
Video: DVD, color; 90 minutes
By examining the appearance of Huey Long on the national scene, this documentary attempts to reveal the character of Louisiana and America during a period of economic and political crisis. The emergence of Louisiana’s self-proclaimed “Kingfish” is seen as part of a reaction against the economic and political forces of exploitation that characterized the state’s history since the Civil War. Long, who improved public education, built roads and bridges, and expanded and improved the quality of public health services, almost overnight lifted Louisiana out of a state of near feudalism into the modern world. But his achievement, founded upon a political philosophy that made him a virtual dictator of unprecedented power, had ominous implications for both the state and for Long personally. Funded under grants from the NEH, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Greater Washington Educational Television, and the LEH. Copyright 1985.
Producer: RKB/Florentine Films, Richard Kilberg
Director: Ken Burns

*Journey for Justice: The A.P. Tureaud Story 
Video: DVD; color; 60 minutes
An hour-long documentary on the life of the late New Orleans civil rights attorney Alexander P. Tureaud, Sr. Through photographs, newsreel footage, and on-camera interviews with those who knew him, this documentary
brings to life the man and his struggle for equal opportunity and equality for all. Tureaud fought in the courtrooms to obtain equal pay for Louisiana’s black teachers, to permit black students to attend LSU’s professional schools, and to integrate public schools in New Orleans. Copyright 1996.
Producer/Director: Rachel L. Emanuel

*La Pharmacie Francais 
Video: DVD, color; 30 minutes
A documentary centering on the Historical Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans, including the early history of the pharmacy in Louisiana, the significance of the museum building (where the nation’s first licensed pharmacist operated in 1823), and archaeological finds in the building’s courtyard. Copyright 1986.
Producer: Loyola University, New Orleans
Director: Robin Kotchan

*Long Shadows 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
This work focuses on the persistent legacy of the Civil War still affecting the American psyche. Several issues growing out of the war have entrenched themselves in the deepest strata of our culture: the rights of dissenting minorities, the convergence of business and national concerns, and the urbanization of our society, to name a few. The project was funded by the NEH, the LEH, and 10 other humanities councils. Copyright 1985.
Producer: James Agee Film Group
Director: Ross Spears

*Louisiana Boys: Raised on Politics 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
This documentary takes a humorous look at the colorful, Byzantine, and often unorthodox political culture of Louisiana — a state that has produced the likes of the legendary Huey Long, his brother Earl (who was committed to an insane asylum during his last term), Jimmie Davis (who sang his farewell address to the legislature), the slick four-time-elected Edwin Edwards, as well as reactionary figures such as David Duke and Plaquemines Parish’s Leander Perez. Copyright 1992.
Producer: The Center for New American Media
Directors: Paul Stekler, Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker

*Men of the Ring: Boxing Legends of New Orleans 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
This film traces the development of professional boxing in New Orleans from the late 19th-century, when the city became the capital of American prizefighting, through the 1960s, when its prominence in the boxing world faded to obscurity. Men who helped establish boxing’s fame and shame are introduced, and an assessment of the sport’s place in New Orleans’ political, social, racial, economic, and criminal arenas is presented. Copyright 1989.
Producer: WLAE-TV, New Orleans
Director: Kathleen Mulvihill

*Mon Cher Camarade
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
Native American “Code Talkers” are now seen as a vital part of the American effort in World War II, because they were able to relay vital information to each other in their own languages, which were indecipherable to Japanese code-breakers. Ignored until now have been the contributions of Cajuns, who used their French to work with the French resistance movement against the Germans and garner valuable intelligence from local people as the American army pushed toward Berlin. Using new interviews, the film traces the careers of several Cajuns in the European theater, discussing both the ways they used their French in the military and the fact that many of them were learning English for the first time, as they left their Cajun enclaves to enter the armed forces.
Producer/Director: Pat Mire/LPB

*Multi-Image Presentations on Afro-American History 
Video: DVD, color; 75 minutes
These five videotapes are recorded versions of audio/slide shows that focus on the history and culture of African-Americans, as well as other ethnic groups in Louisiana. The first tape details the Amistad Research Center, the largest American ethnic history archive and the only major archive in Louisiana of international scope. The final four videotapes document the history of blacks and race relations in the state from colonial times to the present. The presentations make excellent use of paintings, prints, and photographs augmented by voice-over narration and musical interludes. Copyright 1984.
Producer: Amistad Research Center, Tulane University

*Plantation Life 1938-1950’s: A Documentary of a Bygone Era or
Louisiana Plantation Life: Life on Magnolia Plantation

Video: DVD, color, 30 minutes
Utilizing interviews and the silent films of Dr. Ambrose Hertzog, this film offers the chance to follow life on Cane River (and by extension across much of the South) as it changed from family oriented plantation agriculture to commercial farming, from a rural society to exurbia. Copyright 1998.
Producers: Dr. Sue Eakin and Daniel Graves

*Rebel
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
Documentary about Cuban-born Loreta Velazquez who grew up in New Orleans and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War disguised as a man. Her memoir written 10 years after the war was largely discounted as fictional but historians have uncovered new evidence proving she existed. The film uses interviews with historians and extensive reenactments to tell the story of this enigmatic woman.
Producer: Filmmakers Collaborative
Director: Maria Agui Carter

*Riding the Rails 
Video: DVD, color; 72 minutes
This is an informative and moving documentary about the millions of Americans who left their homes and families to “hit the road.” Victims of the 1930’s Great Depression, these people lived day to day by hopping freight trains, living in urban “jungles,” and finding employment as migrant workers. They risked imprisonment, hunger, loneliness, and death for the sake of a better lifestyle or great adventure. Interviews and written memoirs, along with historical footage of steam trains, are used to deliver a complete picture of their unique lifestyle. Copyright 1997.
Producers/Directors: Michael Uys, Lexy Lovell

*Signpost to Freedom: The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
In 1953, a year before the Brown v. Board school desegregation decision and three years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, the black community of Baton Rouge staged the first large-scale bus boycott in American history. This film tells the previously neglected story of the boycott, using never before seen interviews and footage to chronicle what life was like for African Americans in Louisiana, how they set out to change things, and what effect their efforts had on the history of the civil rights movement. Copyright: 2004
Producer: Louisiana Public Broadcasting/Christina Melton

*Sky Riders: Louisiana’s Aviation Pioneers
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
Some of the most famous pilots of early American aviation and three of the world’s biggest airlines came from Louisiana, but relatively few Louisianans know that their state has a rich history in the air. This documentary takes viewers all over the state, telling the stories of the daring test pilots and savvy businessmen who believed in a new form of transportation called the airplane. It then continues throughout the twentieth century, telling the story of how Louisiana’s air industry became entangled with Louisiana politics, finishing in the present day with the re-naming of the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. Copyright: 2006
Producer: WYES/Vincent Caire

*Streetcar Stories 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
An hour-long documentary about New Orleans’ beloved streetcars, subjects of fact and fiction. The film documents the 1929 conductors’ strike, the introduction of women operators during World War II, Jim Crow segregation, the demise of every streetcar line save one–the St. Charles–and the recent resurgence of mass-transit rail service. Copyright 1995.
Producer/Director: Michael Mizell-Nelson

*A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House
Video: DVD, color; 30 minutes
Based on the critically acclaimed book by Danny Heitman, this LPB-produced documentary traces the formative summer painter and naturalist John James Audubon spent at Oakley Plantation in West Feliciana Parish in 1821. The film demonstrates how the landscape and surroundings at Oakley influenced the evolution of his artistic development. Audubon’s immense cultural legacy thrives even today through rich Louisiana traditions of ritual/cultural celebration, storytelling, artistic expression and conservation.Copyright 2010.
Producer/Director: Louisiana Public Broadcasting/ Christina Melton

*Taking a Seat for Justice: Garner v. Louisiana (1960)
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
The Supreme Court, in its decision in Garner v. Louisiana (1960), determined that Southern University students sitting in to protest segregation in Baton Rouge had not broken the law. This decision opened the way to a crucial part of the 1960s’ civil rights movement, but the students, who had been expelled from Southern, faced tremendous difficulties in pursuing their case. This documentary, filled with rare interview footage and visuals, tells their story for the first time and shows an important and often overlooked chapter in the civil rights history of Louisiana and the nation. Copyright 2006
Producer: Southern University Law Center/Rachel L. Emanuel

*Uncle Earl 
Video: DVD; color; 60 minutes
This documentary combines archival footage, still photographs, and contemporary reminiscences in a review of the troubled and troubling political career of Earl K. Long, brother and successor of Huey Long, who fulfilled many of the promises made by Huey’s Share-Our-Wealth Program. The program’s premiere on Louisiana Public Broadcasting marked the 25th anniversary of Long’s death. Copyright 1986.
Producer: Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Director: Rick Smith

Working With Einstein 
Video: DVD, color; 60 minutes
During the period of his life in which he wrestled with the unified field theory, Einstein associated himself with four young physicists/mathematicians. These men are brought together 25 years after Einstein’s death to reminisce about their teacher and associate. Each discusses the personality and accomplishments of Einstein. At the end of the personal and sometimes funny recollections, time is allotted for questions from the audience. Copyright 1979.
Producer: Blackwood Productions
Director: Michael Blackwood

*Funding provided by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.