Documentary elicits emotions 8 years after Hurricane Katrina

September 19, 2013 9:00 AM

Greg Thomson

Kimberly Rivers Roberts shared her positivity and tenacious spirit with a full audience Tuesday (Sept. 17) in Freeman Auditorium on the Tulane University uptown campus. Following a screening of her Hurricane Katrina–themed documentary, Trouble the Water, Roberts spoke with the audience about living through the storm.

Trouble the Water

Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband, Scott, sit outside their flood-damaged Ninth Ward home. (Photo from Zeitgeist Films)

The film, which received an Academy Award nomination for best feature documentary, tells the story of Roberts’ experience during Hurricane Katrina and the weeks following. Roberts remained at her home in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans during the storm and taped the ensuing events on her handheld camera.

Roberts says the documentary is about people who she considers, “the seasoned salt in the bottom of the barrel.”

“My husband testified that we were the seasoned salt in the bottom of the barrel that just wouldn’t shake out,” said Roberts. “What I took away from that is that the New Orleans citizens who come out of the poverty neighborhoods are working the service industry jobs, cooking the food you all enjoy, and making this city so hospitable. We are the seasoning of the city and without salt you don’t have nothin’.”

After viewing the film, audience members asked questions of Roberts ranging from her career as a rapper to the emotions she experiences while sharing her story. One student asked if Hurricane Katrina still impacts Roberts today.

“I have been going through post-traumatic stress disorder and still face that a little bit,” she said. “I also have a little anxiety every now and then. But now I tell myself that that is my past and now I am strong and powerful beyond means.”

Roberts says a sequel to Trouble the Water is in the works and will be released in 2015. Its release will coincide with the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Greg Thomson is a junior at Tulane studying communication.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000