"I can't imagine what these guys who served went through," says Tika Laudun, producer and director of LPB's new documentary, "The Vietnam War: Louisiana Stories."
The show premieres at 7 p.m. Tuesday on WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12).
Since July, LPB has recorded oral histories from 80-plus Vietnam veterans and others affected by the war. The recordings were done in LPB's Baton Rouge studios, around the state, and online.
"I edited 14, three- to four-minute segments out of about 80 stories that were approximately 45 minutes long each. It was challenging, but these are strong stories," Laudun says.
During the 1960s and '70s, thousands of Louisianians served in a war that divided the nation. When it was over, more than 58,000 Americans had died, and nearly 1,000 were from Louisiana, according to a release from LPB.
The 14 veterans and family members featured in the program relay, in their own words, how the war impacted their lives. Theirs and the rest of the 80-plus stories told to LPB are posted online at www.ladigitalmedia.org as part of the state’s Louisiana Digital Media Archive, the release says.
LPB will continue recording oral histories through June. Veterans who would like to schedule an interview can call (225) 767-4204 or (800) 272-8162, ext. 4204. Stories can also be shared on LPB’s website at lpb.org/Vietnam.
Veterans, families, and friends have also signed LPB’s large-scale movable map of the Vietnam War theater in honor or memory of military service. Lamar Advertising donated the map.
"The Vietnam War: Louisiana Stories" is sponsored by Louisiana Companies, Querbes & Nelson, the Louisiana Forestry Association, the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting. The show's online editor is Keith Crews.