Thursday, January 24, 2008

Deuteronomy 8:3 Cafe Books & Music
In partnership with Case Western Reserve
Center for Civic Engagement, Alumni Relations
& Center for Community Partnership

presents the Ohio Premier Screening of

Desert Bayou: Life After Katrina

Sunday, January 27, 2008 ~ 4 - 7 p.m.
Screening & Discussion
CWRU Strosaker Auditorium
$5 Elders 65+ and Students with ID
$7 General Public

Cost of admission benefits the March 2008 Katrina Restoration Student Volunteer Trip to New Orleans and the Gulf Region.


I must confess that previewing this film has reopened unhealed wounds. It took me right back to the eve of the hurricane, watching my people dragging their lives to the only hope left - an already defaulted Superdome. It took me back to the day of the hurricane as the water rose to the rooftops, families crouched and cried for help as media helicopters flew over, and bodies floated... It took me back to the aftermath of the hurricane as my people were left abandoned to chaos, mayhem, madness and yes, murder. How ever you look at the cause of deaths, directly, or not, it was murder.

Reopened were the first hand accounts, the stories, the nightmares, the fear, the anguish, the cries I heard over and over as I worked with relocated families - fresh out of the water - who found their way to the care center established by my former Dallas, Texas congregation, St. Luke Community United Methodist Church. Over 250,000 people evacuated to Texas, an estimated 75,000 to Dallas.

Every time I hear the current and prospective Presidential administration's mantra of 911, I say 829. Not since the dogs and water hoses unleashed on non-violent protestors for civil rights in the late 50's and early 60's, has any visual so hauntingly tugged at my heart.

"In the wake of one of the worse natural and humanitarian disasters ever to visit American shores, nearly 600 African Americans were airlifted to the almost entirely white state of Utah, without their knowledge. Desert Bayou is more than a Hurricane Katrina documentary, it seeks to examine whether two cultures can come together in a time of utter chaos, or whether their differences prove too great a challenge to overcome. In their own words evacuees of Hurricane Katrina tell how they survived the storm of the century, and out of the rubble ended up at a military installation in the desert of Utah." (Source: Cinema Libre Studios)

Written by Thomas Lemer, directed by Alex LeMay, and nominated for the 2008 NAACP "Outstanding Documentary" Image Award, Desert Bayou glimpses into the lives of families who find themselves dropped down, cut off from opportunity, placed under curfew and isolated for the sake of count and control, 45 miles outside Salt Lake City, in the middle of a desert artillery range.

In addition to the voices of the evacuees, we hear from celebrities, "political and military leaders, and community and social figures who address the questions of race, politics and religion hurdle towards each other in this truly American story: A Story of loss and reunion, of sorrow and rebirth, of anger and rejoicing, but most of all, a story of hope."

In particular, Desert Bayou glimpses into the lives of two families who struggle with the question of whether or not the displacement comes as a blessing in disguise as they are granted an opportunity to start life over, anew.

The screening begins at 4:00 p.m. at Strosaker Auditorium, located in the Case Quad (south of Euclid, entering across from Severance Hall). The actual street address is 2125 Adelbert Road. The screening will be immediately followed by an audience discussion led by a panel of students, faculty, staff and community partners, which I will moderate. Seating is limited to 580 on a first come first serve basis.

The screening is open to the public with an admission fee which will help provide for travel and housing of students, staff and area residents as they journey to New Orleans in March to help with on-going Gulf Region restoration efforts. The University's Center for Civic Engagement has led five volunteer trips to New Orleans since the devastation of the hurricane. Janice Eatman Williams organizes and leads the group. She can be reached at (216) 368-1462 for information about volunteer and sponsoring opportunities.

We look forward to being with you, and hearing from you on Sunday.

~ Mittie Imani Jordan
Deuteronomy 8:3 Cafe Books & Music
(216) 376-9695

Upcoming Events
Friday, February 1, 2009 ~ 8 - 11 p.m.
First Friday Open Mic Raise The Rent Jam Session
with host Mwatabu Okantah
$5 Admission
Deuteronomy 8:3 occupies the ground floor of the Medical Associates Building located at 1464 East 105 Street, between Ashbury and Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, 44106. Our routine business hours are: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call (216) 376-9695, or email us at, or visit us on the web at

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