Shown: Herbert Gettridge Sr., 83, sits in the backyard of his home in the Lower 9th Ward where he was digging up the top layer of soil that was left behind from flooding. April, 2006.
Credit: Jennifer Zdon for the Times-Picayune

The Old Man and the Storm

January 6, 2009 / 56m

Season 2009: Episode 5

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Six months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, producer June Cross came across 82-year-old Herbert Gettridge working alone on his home in the lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood devastated when the levees broke in August 2005. Over the next two years, Cross would document the story of the extended Gettridge clan — an African-American family with deep roots in New Orleans — as they struggled to rebuild their homes and their lives. Their efforts would be deeply impacted by larger decisions about urban planning, public health, and the insurance industry, by the decisions of policymakers about federal funding for rebuilding the Gulf, and state and city plans for dispersing those monies. The moving personal story of Mr. Gettridge and his family reveals the human cost of this tragedy, the continued inadequacies of government’s response in the aftermath of Katrina, and how race, class, and politics have affected the attempts to rebuild this American city. [Explore more stories from the original website for The Old Man and the Storm.]