Women of the Storm, the local women’s organization formed to demand recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, will be the subject of a documentary film premiering Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Prytania Theatre at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Women of the Storm” focuses on the powerhouse group that coalesced to lobby Congress and spur activity after the storm and subsequent flooding.
Narrated by Angela Hill, the documentary was directed by LSU Professor of Sociology Wesley Shrum.
The genesis of the story was 1,200 hours of interviews with many civic groups following the storm.
Women of the Storm, however, stood out, so Shrum focused on the group.
Shrum became interested in the group while filming the large congressional delegation that descended on New Orleans following the storm, considered to be the largest entourage of its kind to ever leave the District of Columbia.
Inspired by the magnitude of the event, Shrum researched those responsible for organizing it: Women of the Storm.
“I wanted to find out who these women were, and how did they do it,” said Shrum. “The Women of the Storm brought together an incredibly diverse group of women to lobby Congress for funds to rebuild the city. They are the model of how to approach Congress.”
The model depended on the strength of its determined membership, the filmmaker concluded.
Shrum contacted the group and was invited to a meeting, where he began filming what would become the documentary — in the drawing room of WOS founder Anne Milling.
“It was a voice of the people of this metropolitan region,” said Milling, adding that the diversity “gave it a great degree of credibility.”
The film shows the way the group grew in both number and direction, eventually adopting a broader environmental agenda.”
“It expanded to cover the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill (of April 2010).” Milling said, and brought in women in affected areas from Texas to Florida.
The film premiere continues the group’s story, and Shrum hopes it builds on the group’s work.
“I want it to be inspirational in order to exhibit how to properly approach your leadership and do so in a nonpolitical or nonpartisan way,” he said. “The greatest thing about the Women of the Storm was that they came together as Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives.”
The Prytania Theatre is located at 5339 Prytania St., New Orleans. For information, call (504) 891-2787.