Take Action around 'I'm Carolyn Parker'
- Find an organization that is involved in rebuilding New Orleans and volunteer to help.
- Host a debate on the pros and cons of rebuilding neighborhoods that are flood-prone.
- Identify the "Carolyn Parkers" in your own community and record their stories. Then host an event that honors their resilience and provides an opportunity to share the stories publicly.
- In the film, Parker's daughter, Kyrah Julian, says, "I want the world to be a better place and I want to be active in that change or what brings the changes." Use her statement as a prompt for brainstorming ways to bring positive change to your own community. As a group, come to a consensus about one or two items from your list to put into action.
Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, neighborhoods across the city were flooded. But nowhere was devastation greater than in the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood bordered by the Industrial Canal and the Mississippi River, home to a vibrant African-American community and one extraordinary woman. Several months later, Academy Award®-winning director Jonathan Demme and producer Daniel Wolff set out to document the devastation and rebuilding of the Crescent City.
After Demme met Carolyn Parker and gained permission to film her progress, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a deeply personal character study of the courage and resiliency of this fierce, opinionated matriarch and community activist. I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful, shot over the course of five years, is Demme’s intimate, unvarnished chronicle of Parker’s five- year crusade to rebuild her beloved neon-green house, her church, her community—and her life.
In this lesson, students will conduct nonfiction character analyses of a New Orleans resident named Carolyn Parker, who was filmed for a documentary following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. They will watch a series of video clips in which Carolyn Parker speaks for her community, shares her first encounter with segregation, talks about her mother and grandmother, tells a story about her work as a chef and describes her reaction to Hurricane Katrina. Students will collect details from these clips about Parker's background and personal characteristics and then organize this information into character analysis essays.
This multi-media resource list, compiled by Erica Bess, Susan Conlon and Martha Perry Liu of Princeton Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the POV documentary I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad, and the Beautiful.