FILM REVIEW: “Kamp Katrina”

From Willamette Week, 9/12/07:

Ashley Sabin and David Redmon’s documentary follows a New Orleans couple as they convert the backyard of their relatively unscathed Upper 9th Ward home into an improvised tent city in the earliest days following Hurricane Katrina. The so-called “Kamp Katrina” becomes home to an eclectic, ragtag cast of the Big Easy’s most downtrodden displaced white people, including a prophetic man who believes he’s dating Joan of Arc and a scruffy woman who randomly eats her own prosthetic eyeball. The backyard camp out begins with a sense of camaraderie, hope and promise: A safe refuge in a desperate city going partially mad. But Zion crumbles faster than you can say “FEMA blows,” and a depressing spiral of alcoholism, drugs, theft and spousal abuse effectively tears the kampers apart. Part bizarro step-child of reality television, part pop-sociological study, “Kamp Katrina” is no masterpiece, like Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke—but it’s still a powerful story that shows altruism in post-Katrina New Orleans was and is far more complicated than just lending a helping hand. LANCE KRAMER

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