Desert Bayou
by Phil Boatwright

FILM SYNOPSIS:  The feature-length documentary tells the story of 600 African Americans who were airlifted out of New Orleans after the floods of Katrina, shipped to Utah and then housed at an isolated military base.  The film examines race, religion, poverty, and the failures of government from the perspective of these refugees.

“‘Desert Bayou’ is another reminder of how badly our government failed the citizens of New Orleans – and how much we need to do,” says New Orleans native Donna Brazile, the political commentator and Gore 2000 campaign manager.

Director Alex LeMay and producer Percy “Master P” Miller’s “Desert Bayou” is slated for DVD release January 29, 2008, in conjunction with Black History Month.  The duo recently completed a music video written by and starring Master P and his son, Romeo (The Miller Boyz), and directed by LeMay.  Entitled “My People,” the video will be included as DVD extras with the feature.  A special sell-through edition will also include a bonus audio CD, “Black History,” containing “My People,” as well as five other songs relevant to both 20th century history and modern events, including the title “Katrina.”

PREVIEW REVIEW: Desert Bayou is a condemning look at race relations and America’s inability, or lack of desire, to better the lives of poor and uneducated people.  It’s a perspective meant to showcase more wrongdoings done by whites than positives, but it also shows the tenacious spirit of the black community to better their lives and America itself.

Sadly, one man’s bitterness becomes transparent.  Though he is a church attendee and attempting to make a new life for his family, his language and demeanor change drastically when reminiscing about the horrors of Katrina and its aftermath.  His language gets rough, with the f-word and the phrase G--d--- used with such frequency one can only assume he doesn’t think it is irreverence to God.

Profanity aside, I found the film insightful, emotional and revealing.  Many of the transplanted people are drawn deeper into their faith.  As one woman put it, “God helped us cope.”  And we see the heartbreak of one man unable to break the bonds of drug use despite the negative effect it has on his ability to seek a better way.

Not rated at time of screening.  Content:  Around 30 obscenities, mostly the f- and s-words; around 10 profanities – God’s name followed by a curse; several minor expletives; adult discussions concerning relationships and drug abuse.