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Hexing a Hurricane

Jeremy Campbell has made a few films about what it's like to live in New Orleans, notably including Don't Worry Honey, I live Here, a documentary featuring local musicians explaining Mardi Gras. Last summer, fortuitously or not, he started a project about voodoo and filmed a ceremony to ward off hurricanes. But a few weeks later, Hurricane Katrina refocused his ideas. Hexing A Hurricane, out on DVD, is about New Orleans just before the storm and through the winter as the city began to rebuild. Campbell accompanies a young couple on their first visit together to their Lakeview home to see the damage and begin salvaging. Then he interviews various activists, citizens and media commentators, including Garland Robinette, Angela Hill and Chris Rose. One thing that sets his documentary apart is the way in which it captures phases the city went through in the months after the storm, without the hindsight that any particular outcome was inevitable. The urgency of distinct moments and turning points, like a rally demanding Category 5 levee protection, shows how locals lived from day-to-day and week-to-week throughout the fall and early winter. The film was recently nominated for best American documentary at the Rome International Film Festival. It's available locally at Louisiana Music Factory, Tower Records, Crescent City Books and from Campbell's Web site -- Will Coviello

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