Sunday, September 30, 2007

Documentary raises awareness about aftermath of Katrina

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New Orleans: A Labor of Love announces November 2007 release of Gulf Coast volunteer recruitment documentary to screen at 50 campuses, churches and community spaces.

Earlier this year, Independent Media Artist Katina Parker launched New Orleans: A Labor of Love -- a grass roots, multi-media, public awareness campaign to mobilize 5,000 volunteers to participate in reconstructing the Gulf Coast during 2008. Housed at, the user-supported, web-based clearinghouse offers a one-of-a-kind service to recruit, organize, and coordinate volunteers with available assignments, travel tips, advisories and resources.

"By most liberal estimates, it will take 3 to 5 years to reconstruct the city," says Parker, who's background is filmmaking, photography, writing, new media and public relations. "My goal is to use the power of independent media and grassroots outreach to motivate and mobilize a civic movement of 5,000 volunteers to aid in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast during 2008 and subsequent years."

Parker is creating awareness about the Gulf Coast's ongoing need for volunteers through screenings and videocasts of her New Orleans: A Labor of Love documentary, which follows 18 Los Angeles Valley College students during their recent volunteering experience. The film interweaves the observations of student volunteers with the personal testimonies of New Orleanians like Mr. Dilbert, an elderly man living in a FEMA trailer and supporting his dependent wife on $600 per month while he tries to find someone to help him gut and rebuild his home.

"2007 is a crucial turning point," says Parker. "If we don't rally to rebuild New Orleans now, people will forget the need and the city may never be restored. There is something each of us can do: support the volunteer effort."

This fall, New Orleans: A Labor of Love will screen at 50 campuses, community centers and churches, where volunteers will be recruited on site.

To meet their delivery deadline, Parker and her supporters are on an urgent mission to raise $100,000 in operating expenses. Funding supports stipends for student moderators who research requests and maintain the user-supported community; additional trips to New Orleans to document and videocast the rebuilding process; volunteer recruitment at universities, churches, and community centers; completion of the documentary; and aggressive marketing campaigns through MySpace, FaceBook and BlackPlanet web communities.

Having invested $15,000 of her own money into the project, Parker has spent the last five months waking up at three in the morning, before going to her day job, to program the site, edit video, correspond with interested volunteers, create marketing materials and set up press coverage for New Orleans: A Labor of Love. In response to praise for her commitment to keeping the truth about Gulf Coast recovery in the public eye, Parker states, "This is what the Universe asked me to do. I have special skills that can help Katrina survivors return to their beloved homes, families and communities, but I can’t do it without your kind words and financial support."

All donations are tax-deductible through International Humanities Center, the fiscal sponsor for New Orleans: A Labor of Love.

Katina Parker


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To view the trailer visit:

anonymously sourced from either the web or a forwarded email.

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