Hurricane [1997]

The narration is melodramatic, some of the interviews feel stagy--but the footage of Hurrican Katrina and its horrendous aftermath is staggering. Hurrican Katrina - The Storm That Drowned a City, a NOVA special, begins a year earlier, when a team of scientists created a computer simulation of the destructive effect a powerful storm could have on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Though local officials took it seriously, the federal response was skeptical, and little was done to strengthen the city's protection. Using a combination of remarkable video of the developing storm and interviews with scientists, city residents (black and white), and member of the Army Corps of Engineers, Hurrican Katrina builds a compelling story of the disaster as it unfolded. Sophisticated graphics explain how hurricanes form and how the levees failed. The special touches lightly on the possibility that global warming may be exacerbating the intensity of hurricanes, but shies away from the political storm of the meager federal response to the devastation of New Orleans. The result is a vivid, detailed description of the natural disaster, but an incomplete portrait of the social one. --Bret Fetzer

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