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DVD Review: The Big Uneasy

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The Big Uneasy is a film all about Hurricane Katrina, the disaster that hit New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2005. The Big Uneasy is directed by comic personality Harry Shearer and contains guest spotlights from John Goodman. Harry Shearer is probably best known for the voice over work he does for the program The Simpsons.

The Big Uneasy is about more than the horrific damage that occurred during Hurricane Katrina. It’s about the reason for the damage that occurred during Hurricane Katrina and what the media didn’t report about it.

Harry Shearer feels that the Hurricane Katrina disaster could have been prevented or minimized if it wasn’t for man-made errors and poor judgment. He feels that the media was fed incorrect information which was then reported and led to many of the common misconceptions about Hurricane Katrina, like the fact that it primarily affected poor black people.

The documentary interviews many of the investigators who had a part in determining the cause of the widespread damage. He also connects with a whistle blower from the Army Corps of Engineers, who shares some of the flawed engineering that went into the design of the levee in New Orleans. He also brings to light that some of the same flawed methods that went into the construction of the original levee are going into the construction of the new levee that is supposed to protect the new New Orleans.

The segments hosted by John Goodman take a look at some of the common questions that people outside of New Orleans seem to have about Hurricane Katrina and the people who live in New Orleans. A few questions addressed are: Why would people choose to live below sea level? Why is it important to rebuild New Orleans?

There is a lot of video footage from the disaster including some that was shot by citizen’s themselves and hasn’t been seen before. It’s also loaded with computer imagery that shows you what happened inside the levee itself during the disaster. The interview with the whistle blower was extremely informative and really brought a lot of information to light about why this happened. There are also several great comparisons to previous hurricanes in New Orleans like Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

If you’re looking for a different perspective on Hurricane Katrina than the one seen in the media, you really need to check out this documentary. It’s well done and informative, and the clips by John Goodman are both funny and a great match for Harry Shearer’s style.


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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.
  • As a tourist stuck in the Superdome during Katrina and the levee failures I had the privilege to return to NOLA and see this incredible documentary with Harry in attendance for a Q & A. It’s important that as many Americans view this as so many feel they are “protected” by Army Corps of Engineers’ levees.

    Paul Harris
    Author, “Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina”

  • Mimi

    The flooding happened AFTER Hurricane Katrina, not during it. Hurricane Katrina didn’t hit New Orleans directly, it hit Southern Mississippi. The news media didn’t cover the actual destruction of Katrina in Mississippi, only the flooding caused by the levy failures in New Orleans.