PBS Frontline: 'The Old Man and the Storm'

June Cross
Frontline Producer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009; 11:00 AM

PBS Frontline producer June Cross was online Wednesday, January 7 to discuss her film "The Old Man and the Storm," which documents one New Orleans family's struggle to rebuild their home and their lives after Hurricane Katrina.

"The Old Man and the Storm" aired Tuesday, January 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

A transcript follows.

June Cross has over 30 years of experience as a television producer with PBS's Frontline, CBS News and PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. She is also author of the book Secret Daughter and is an associate professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism.


June Cross: Hi Everyone. Glad to be here. This is my first online chat so bear with me if it's a little ragged for the first coupla minutes... I'm a dinosaur!


Springfield, Ill.: What can we do to help the Gettridge family? How can we get the government to step up to the responsibility that they said they would do? We need each church in AMERICA to take a look at this situation and say we are going to help rebuild 5 family homes together in an area, raise funds, send in building teams in waves to demo and clean, reframe wire and HVAC, then a team to insulate sheetrock and finish the homes.

We need to adopt these homes as extended parts of our own congregation and encourage them, pray for them, check on them and their well being, and help until they feel they can make it.

My sister has a plaque in her bathroom that says "home is not a place to come to, but rather a feeling you get when you have arrived." My sister and I came from home where there was a lot of turmoil and unrest. And with that came heartache. And I know what she sees in that plaque, we now make home where we can be comfortable with our small group of family, A place where we can laugh and sing act silly and have fun with one another. I hope the Gettridge family can find home again in their new house.

June Cross: These are all great ideas. Make them so! Action has power behind it.


Steve from Bay St Louis, Mississippi: What recommendations regarding Katrina recovery do you have for our incoming President? Would you be willing to meet with the Administration's staff which will be working on Katrina recovery issues?

June Cross: Ha! No one's asked, and there are plenty individuals working down there who are more knowledgeable than me. In fact, Pres-elect Obama has a Law School classmate who is deeply involved with the company charged with auditing the Road Home program.


Alabama Coast: How many families like the Gettridges are there on the Gulf coast? My New Orleans and Alabama based family suffered the separation and now, that rebuilding is complete we are un-whole. So many people are gone... my father died the day after the storm, my mother (like Mrs. G.) is confused, my brother had to take a job in Texas and took his family.

June Cross: At least 500,000 families in the Gulf Coast were displaced. It's the largest displacement of people since the Great Migration. Even if New Orleans hadn't drowned, this would still qualify as the greatest natural disaster to hit the United States since the Mississippi Flood of 1927.


Fort Worth, Texas: My comment is just to say "Thank you very much". I know exactly how the two younger daughters feel, I myself being from a close knit family and you are so far away from loved ones and friends. As the song goes, I truly know what it means to miss New Orleans and I miss home every day. I want to say Thank you to June Cross and Spike Lee for bring New Orleans' story to light. God Bless.

June Cross: And thank you.


New York, N.Y.: What a wonderful program. How could we not fall in love with the Gettridge family?!

What can I do to help in the region? Please be specific if you mention organizations to volunteer with or donate to.

Thanks very much.

June Cross: There is still much need for volunteering.

Common Ground, Acorn, Habitat for Humanity -- and almost every church/synagogue organization you can Google has a way to volunteer. If you check nola.com around spring break time they usually publish a list of organizations seeking volunteers and a way to match volunteers with organizations. I'll be digging further into this today, look at www.frontline.org for more details, along with much information and outtakes from the film.


New Orleans, La.: Do the Gettridges have any neighbors living near them? And do you think they and their children that did rebuild are now glad to be in New Orleans?

June Cross: Within the five or six blocks surrounding Mr. G - no.

There are folks moving in around 10-12 blocks away. Whether or not they're glad to be back is a function of what day it is and how city services are faring that day -- and their mood. It ranges from anger to ambivalence to resignation.


New Orleans, La.: Mr. Gettridge expressed the seething outrage many of us feel toward the insurance companies because they didn't pay on legitimate wind claims. There is no such thing as a windless hurricane, but the insurance big wigs pretend wind didn't cause damage.

These private insurance companies pushed the cost off on the federal flood program pushing the taxpayer program in the red by $17b. That is an insurance bailout if I have ever seen one, and the American people don't know anything about it.

Our own La. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Miss. Congressman Gene Taylor -- Democrats -- have spoken out about this unreported Katrina fraud. Taylor even has some bill to fix the problem -- multi-peril I think it's called, but Bush failed to get it passed.

What the insurance CEOs did was simply fraud and that is wrong. Can we get you guys back down here to look into that?

June Cross: PLEASE help us work to report this story!


has more info on insurance and this is something I want to dig further into. There are precedents for the insurance industry stepping up to the plate after a disaster - the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1835 Great New York Fire being two of them.


St. Louis, Mo.: It already looks like you want to blame the fed gov't... What about the state and local gov't.?

June Cross: I think if you hang in there you'll find plenty of blame to go around. www.frontline.org goes into greater depth on the state role, and www.katrinaroadhome.org goes further into the deplorable abdication of responsibility by the city's elected officials. But in terms of power and amount of dollars available to spend, federal involvement dwarfed everyone.


Detroit, Michigan: Thank you, June, for speaking truth and reality to power. I am a All-But-Dissertation PhD candidate who is from Detroit, currently living in Ohio. I've been a community organizer and city planner in Detroit, and have spent 20 years going to higher education to get credentialed to do what you are doing -- telling the true community's story as individuals try to build from their unique gifts, and the frustration they face from agencies designed to help them who never ask them what they want or how they can be involved. I am so frustrated -- but your piece gives me hope. I will look up your background online, but I wanted to know: Which specific agencies and power folks enabled you to make this piece become reality? What advice would you give to those of us following you who want to tell these same stories in our hometowns? Who in power who can help social change happen will truly listen to these stories and act on the answers they give?

Warmly, Angie A.

June Cross: Oh boy, that series of questions is a dissertation in an of itself.

Interestingly, just before Katrina, I was thinking of doing my next documentary on Detroit... and still am noodling with the idea.

The Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Kaiser Family Foundation gave me first monies and Kaiser in particular opened doors for me to the mental health community and health specialists which gave me a deeper understanding of how to approach this story. Each of us has to just tell the story and let individuals act on it as they may. Learn the history -- of everyone -- and how it intersects with the culture. Become sociologist and anthropologist and historian. Listen. Suspend your judgements. Allow yourself to be surprised.


Phila, Pa.: Comment: great show! Well done. Herb Gettridge is an amazing man and stronger at 82 than myself at 54. Truly incredible fortitude. The show made me want to get into my car and find Mr. Gettridge and help him personally. Wow. Moving stuff. Well done. Kudos to all involved in the production and the BEST of luck to all the Gettridges who are just one of sooo many families whose lives were turned upside down by the fury of Katrina. I feel for all of them.

June Cross: thank you for your comments, and thanks for writing.


New Orleans, La.: Dear June Cross, Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and caring production. Even before it aired last night, I'd read the preview story in our local newspaper, the Times Picayune, and will show the entire documentary to a special group of students I am bringing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for a special seminar and recovery work in the city this semester. More personally, I was deeply moved also because I grew up in the (upper) 9th Ward and have visited both it and the lower 9th many, many times after the storm. The lack of progress, indeed the sheer abandonment we see all along, of all places, Desire Street, continues to shock and depress me. It means much to me, and to many here in the city, I'm sure, that a producer of your distinction has not forgotten about the city. Thank you for bringing alive these people and their voices.

Sincerely, Ruth Salvaggio Professor of English and Comparative Literature Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Currently Professor of the Burch New Orleans Seminar in New Orleans

June Cross: thank you for taking the time to write. I often went to the fish place on Desire and -- Claiborne is it? -- to get Mr. Gettridge a plate while he was working on the house. I still want to do a short called "Living between Piety and Desire"


Detroit, Michigan: June, thanks for your response. It prompted me to ask a follow up question that might be easier to answer: how long did you spend doing the research for this piece? How long did it take you to establish the rapport you had with both the family and the stakeholders whom you interviewed?

Warmly, Angie A.

June Cross: I constantly researched -- most recently was researching yesterday!

In terms of rapport -- my team and I spent a long time, a lot of time without cameras, just listening. We did our homework and when we approached the political stakeholders we understood what their issues were. I think they appreciated the amount of work we had done. I also have a multi-generational, diverse team, which helped immensely.


Collierville, Tennessee: I was moved watching your show. How can we get private business and industry to support the efforts our governments failed at?

If one business at a time provided donations to the neighbors of the Gettridges, urged them back, provided volunteers to help them rebuild, no strings attached, couldn't we begin to "bring normalcy" back to the 9th ward and the rest of the city.

I'd like to begin the effort with my company... FedEx. The question -- How?

June Cross: Ha! I laugh because FedEx didn't guarantee overnite service to NOLA until a good seven or eight months after the flood.

People need to know that there's a government commitment to schools, fire stations, police stations... and that the levees will hold... before folks will move back. There is a school, MLK Charter School that Bush has visited -- near Mr. G, about eight blocks away -- it's an elementary school. Maybe you can encourage an adopt-a-school program?


Ohio: Great documentary. I just wanted to hug these people, especially when I saw how hard Mr. Gettridge had to work.

June Cross: ditto that.


Easton, Pa.: I viewed the Frontline program tonight about the Gettridge family and believe Mr. Gettridge deserves some recognition for his life of work, and would hope you forward his story to our new president-elect Barack Obama. I and my husband lost our home in 2005, while our daughter was attending college, due to illness and health insurance costs, so I know the pain. But Mr. Gettridge has contributed so much toward trying to get back his life and I could feel love from this man and family as I watched the program.

June Cross: Maybe you can forward a link from


which has the entire show, to the Pres-Elect's team?

It would mean more coming from viewers than from the producer, from whom it would seem self-serving....



Salem, Mass.: Bless all the Gettridges, a group with determination, guts, and a rare single mindedness of purpose in maintaining their family bonds.

People like Mr. Gettridge were held back and held back and held back, in their efforts to return to New Orleans. If he had waited for government red tape to clear, he'd likely still not be in his house.

The irony here is that so many unproductive citizens returned so easily and quickly, to "business as usual", while homeowners suffered so, and continue to, from the snafus of the "Roadblock Home".

New Orleans has paid a huge price in not being able to get its productive citizens home. Many have just given up, are scattered to the winds, and have chosen to stay relocated.

And ICF? Ms. Cross could do a whole show on that bunch of incompetent boobs. I wish she had noted how much their contracts were. It is appalling.

Or, include them in an in depth show about why NOLA is still struggling. Plenty of blame to go around there.

June Cross: You're right. One day I'll post the director's cut.


Elgin, Ill.:

To: June Cross Thank you for airing your documentary, 'Old Man and The Storm' on PBS.

I have a passion for writing and filming, but have not yet received a degree in either, but would like to share my own life story as an inspiration to others.

How can I do this? I do not know where to begin.

June Cross: Step outside of yourself first and learn the history of the times in which you live. It will help you figure out the relevance of your story to the larger world.


Bay St. Louis, Miss.: Great Show. Moving. My family in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast share similar journeys of trying to rebuild their homes.

Holding back his own anger at one part of the post-Katrina horror, Mr. Gettridge spoke only fleetingly of the insurance injustice he and his family suffered at the hands of Big Insurance.

One of the biggest untold aspects of the Katrina Saga is the stranglehold that Big Insurance has had on the residents and business owners throughout the Katrina-ravaged region. Insurance companies deliberately and wrongly failed to pay on the wind coverage for home and business owner policies.

By deliberately and wrongly withholding legitimate financial compensation on the wind claims, Big Insurance starved Katrina families like Mr. Gettridge's -- and our businesses -- of the money needed to rebuild our homes, businesses, and communities. The industry pocketed this money to dramatically inflate their own profits to the tune of $108 billion in 2005 and 2006.

To avoid this swindling in the future, Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS Gulf Coast) proposed landmark legislation to permit an option on flood insurance policies that allows policyholders to also pay for wind coverage. It passed the House last year. Bush vowed to veto it, and the Senate failed to pass it.

Big Insurance continues to stand in our way to obtain affordable home and business owner insurance and THAT stands in our way of traveling the road home.

Perhaps Frontline will consider following up this great documentary with a piece on the homeowner insurance crisis here inside Katrina-ravaged region.

For more information on Taylor's legislation and for videos on community leaders discussing the need for homeowner insurance reform, go to www.CongressmanGeneTaylor.com.

June Cross: Thank you for your comments.

Go to www.katrinaroadhome.org for more on this, and we will follow up on the information you provided.


Hockessin, Del.: I would like to make a comment. I truly don't understand how this country with the millions and millions of dollars that go to waste, can allow for the disaster of Katrina to still linger. I was in New Orleans in October and we visited the lower 9th and went further out to see the devastation. I sat there and thought how we are carrying on as if the US of A is a 3rd world country and the "3rd World Countries" are rising very fast. Now in a strange twist of fate, our "leaders" find ways to bail out those for-profit, capitalist icons but can't figure out how to build the foundation of any nation which is its people. The true frauds who gobbled up corporate welfare are doing fine, while honest, decent Human Beings like Mr. Gettridge have to wonder if they can hold up to see tomorrow. What a sad state of affairs.

June Cross: I couldn't have said that better myself. In late 2007, a group from Indonesia who had survived the tsunami came to New Orleans -- they were astonished at the lack of progress. NGOs figured out a way to bring those "third world" countries back... but as the WP has reported so well, the Bush administration didn't want NGO help here... out of national pride. Go figure.


washingtonpost.com: Much of the Washington Post's coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and their aftermath can be found here: Washington Post Special Report -- Gulf Coast Hurricanes


Atlanta, Georgia: Hello Ms. Cross, GOD Bless You For your documentary and compassion. I've been up all night since viewing your documentary on Frontline. It's been over three years and the my heart aches just as much in '09 as it did in '05. Your documentary proved that there are thousands still everywhere trying to get home after Katrina. The folks of New Orleans are like family and we need a venue to communicate and help each other across the country. For those of us who are 50 and older facing many financial, employment, mental and declining health issues, we need "Life Coaches" or somewhere we can go and talk to someone about trying to return and rebuild with what little we have left. Most of us have exhausted any retirement or savings we had and are hanging on for dear life. I'm from the Gentilly area and want to return but am stuck here in Georgia. We need direction on how to rebuild and to rebuild smartly. We need direction to help ourselves. Barbara

June Cross: I heard this over and over again from residents, black, white, Creole, and Indian, in Louisiana. I hope the NIMH takes note.


Phoenix, Ariz.: Thank you for a heart wrenching story, it will be interesting to see how Obama's "stimulus package" would fare based upon the last couple of years with those forgotten poor souls in Louisiana trying to carve out their homes. What happened to their stimulus package? Bipartisan hypocrisy? Still the same...

June Cross: sigh....


New Orleans, La.: Ms. Cross and the Production Team: You go ahead on! In "The Old Man and the Storm," you all really nailed the emotions and frustrations of rebuilding in New Orleans.

Elizabeth B., Lakeview (5' of water), New Orleans

June Cross: Thank you, and good luck.


Columbus, Miss.: I admire this family and I grew up in the lower Ninth Ward. Back in the day the Ninth Ward was a very safe environment and everybody knew everybody. We did not know growing up that we were poor, all I could remember is good good times (family barbecues, going to the corner store and passing the porches and speaking to the elders).

June Cross: The lower ninth ward had the highest rate of home ownership (67%) in the city, aside from Lakeside Views, I think the community is called there to the SW of Lakeview.

They were not "poor" -- but many folks, as you probably know, own rental homes from which they received Section 8 income. I think by structuring the recovery so that primary homeowners were given first monies, the state and local government effectively exported their poor to other communities.


Massillon, Ohio: What a touching story. I would like to send the Gettridge Family a card in New Orleans. Can you tell me the city and zip? What an inspiration to see Mr. Gettridge get out there and rebuild his home at this age! I also want to say that when I hear some people say that others don't care about poor Black people, I want them to know I do, and many other White people do as well. :) Great job June Cross! I hope to see a follow up.

June Cross: Thank you.

You'll have to look up the zip code on usps.gov

I'm so brain dead this morning all I can remember is the area code!


Memphis, Tenn.: After watching the show I have a burning desire to help. I believe private industry can accomplish what the state and federal governments could not.

What is the best way to go about getting involved in bringing the families of the 9th ward back?

June Cross: Volunteering at the moment... Many people have Road Home money and Insurance but still not enough to rebuild. So hands that are expert in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing are sorely needed... and the money to pay them!


Ohio-: One of the most upsetting things is to hear how people were making money and getting bonuses. How can this really go on? When money is put aside for a disaster, then ALL of it should go where it's needed. These poor poor people... waiting and waiting for help, while some are living it up at their expense.

June Cross: I agree. ICF was very insistent, however, that they were also working very hard and that they have businesses outside of the Louisiana that had performed well and so, according to them, this bonus had been agreed upon by the board even before the company received the Road Home contract. According to their SEC filings that appeared to be correct.


Austin, Texas : I watched this last night on KLRU station in Austin, Texas. I was sickened by the Insurance Companies and our Federal Programs, pretty much disgusted with all involved in trying to help the Citizens of New Orleans, I almost think they want the properties for themselves to prosper in some sort of way? I applaud the families for the strength to re-build and not give up, and I hope they have the strength to fight. What is the difference in funding and rebuilding New York ground zero with no questions asked, New Orleans needs not be forgotten and all levels of our Government should be ashamed of themselves, America... the beautiful... NEW ORLEANS IS BEAUTIFUL AND THE LAST TIME I CHECKED IT WAS PART OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June Cross: Well, to be fair, the World Trade Center "hole in the ground" as New Orleans Mayor Nagin put it, is hardly rebuilt, and ConEd, the NYC utility, is still waiting on the $900 million, I think is the figure, that the administration promised it in 2001. Still, that promise was made, and based on it the company was able to raise the capital it needed to get the grid back on line. There's a separate hour to be done on the machinations at Entergy and how its stockholders spun off Entergy Louisiana to minimize their losses. Yet one more example of how those with money and sophistication figure out a way to keep theirs... and those that don't, well, as Billie Holiday sang, "God Bless the Child that Got His Own."


Naples, Fla.: I watched this touching program last night. They just don't make people like this anymore. Such strength! I don't think I would have such hope after roadblock like his. We live in a state where hurricanes are a regular thing. Why can Florida receive better services than the people of New Orleans? June, wonderful job!

June Cross: Well I would say that the party of the governor played a role. It will take some time to report all this out, which I would like to do. Folks get so fixated by the initial crisis that there's no follow through. I think the answer is complicated and defies simple explanation, even though the conclusions may appear simple. Thanks for writing.


Philadelphia, Pa.: I realize even people with insurance haven't been able to get homes rebuilt. What about people who were underinsured, especially in terms of replacement costs? What are their prospects at rebuilding, if any?

June Cross: Well, I just did a whole hour on people who were underinsured. Mr. Gettridge, who worked all his life to buy three homes, has seen his net worth demolished -- his home is now worth ten percent of what it was worth, and he's lost two of the three homes he worked so hard to purchase. The same is true all over Louisiana. Many people had homes worth six or seven hundred thousand dollars in the upper crust Lakeview section -- the most they could receive combining both Road Home and Flood Insurance would have been $400,000. Of course, a family that has a $600K home has resources available that a working man like Mr. G and his family don't... so what you're seeing is an exacerbation of the forces that are creating wealth disparity in this country.


New Orleans, La.: Thank you for the establishing scenes that place Mr. Gettridge's legacy as one of New Orleans' most acclaimed master craftsmen of the 20th century. He has left his mark on the architecture on the grand buildings downtown and in the French Quarter as well as in the neighborhoods where the homes and vernacular culture of Second Lines, Mardi Gras Indians and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs define what is so special about New Orleans. I thank you for recognizing his status in the vernacular culture that makes New Orleans one of the most interesting places in the world. What a shame that all of the urban planners and task forces that have invaded the power structures of government and industry who are reshaping our communities don't take advantage of the skills and cultural knowledge of people like Mr. Herbert Gettridge.

June Cross: You sound like someone I interviewed for the film... thank you.

What a lot of people don't know is that this skilled trades class are the men who invented jazz music... they are much more than "craftsmen" and their loss would be -- well it's like if all of Michelangelo's statues disappeared in Italy, at least from my point of view.


June Cross: I just received a text message from Gale Gettridge, Mr. Gettridge's oldest daughter, who walked me through Lawless high school in the documentary. She writes, "My family's story mirrors so many more in Louisiana post-Katrina. The tears and the struggle to maintain Godly life is shared by all as we continue to care for our parents. We pray the documentary will be a blessing to those still wanting to return but encourage others in America to contact Washington and hold them accountable, to advise them that we still need funds to rebuild our neighborhood and hospitals."


New York, N.Y.: how did you come across the story? what was the most memorable moment to you personally in making of the film?

June Cross: I was watching television the day that CNN's cameras found the poor souls who had been left to rot in the Superdome and the Convention Center. I couldn't find anyone who cared. I just got on a plane and went to New Orleans. It took me about four months before I settled on Mr. Gettridge, and another six months before the rest of the family agreed to participate.

The most memorable moment wasn't in the film. It was the day I discovered that Mr. Gettridge's nephew, Peter "Zik" Armstrong, had been a classmate of mine at Harvard. His mom, Shirley Gettridge Armstrong, is Mr. Herbert's sister. That just floored me -- and the family too. I think that day we all decided that this was just meant to be.


Washington, D.C.: I can't thank you enough for this wonderful, thoughtful, moving story. I wish there were a million more people like you.

June Cross: Oh no, that would be too many documentary filmmakers! But I do wish more people were like Mr. Gettridge.


Sunnyvale, Calif.: After Googling ICF, I see that new governor of LA continues to assure that ICF gets payments for a contract that they did not fulfill -- proper administration of this Road Home program. Why is ICF not in legal hot water?

June Cross: Well... legally, they've fulfilled the terms of the contract. The contract, Sean Reilly, the board member of LRA who was interviewed, told me was one he would not have signed himself as a business owner. But the contract was between the state and ICF... the board had oversight, but not control -- that has changed with Jindal's election.


Wheaton, Md.: Thanks for what you've done to highlight this problem. While watching it, I couldn't help but think if this were Greenwich, Conn., all the stops would be pulled out for the rebuild. 1/20/09!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June Cross: One would like to think... and we can all hope.


Gloucester, Mass.: A couple of points here.

The 9th Ward has gotten much attention, due to the efforts of Brad Pitt, yourself, etc. PLEASE -- We must be aware that the ENTIRE city has suffered! The 9th isn't the only place that flooded! And many places that didn't flood also suffered from severe wind damage, mold, etc.

The 9th isn't the only ward that could use some helping hands.

Also, your comment re: keeping the poor out of NOLA -- well, I am not sure on that one. The poor, in many instances, were able to return to subsidized housing. Those who rent or own are still struggling to get back, in many cases.

Renters have been up against it because of inflated rents. Section 8 actually contributed to this, as some of the rates it was paying were too high, and inflated the market.

Homeowners? Well, Mr. Gettridge's story tells that tale.

One situation, if memory serves -- LRA funds were granted to some. These folks were then told, later, they had to elevate, depending upon "flood plains". Some had already started reconstruction, at that point, and would have had to "re-re-construct". I'm not sure how that shook out, or if it has.

It was, and still is, a mess.

Another WELL DONE, to you. Don't forget NOLA, folks. Granted, some of their problem has to do with incompetent city government (among others) - but those who have dug in their heels for their city and home deserve our support.

June Cross: You are entirely right that other areas of the city -- Gentilly, Lakeview, Garden District, suffered. Deciding to focus on one more L9th resident was the hardest decision -- but I thought that by also telling the stories of his kids, who own homes in NOE, Gentilly, and Holy Cross, I could get at that. Unfortunately, we had a ninety minute film, and I had to cut it back. So it became focused more narrowly on the lower ninth.

Many white residents fared worse than the Gettridges -- in part because they didn't have the technical know-how to rebuild their own homes, and were reliant on contractors.

I've heard this argument about Section 8 before. I've spent a good deal of time trying to parse that out with the help of folks who run the Katrina Index at the Brookings Institution. I know that it's a somewhat common wisdom, but the facts just don't bear it out. The median income of the city has jumped by $20K dollars a year. Those who have moved into the city are not those who left. You can check it out yourself at Brookings' Katrina Index.


washingtonpost.com: Brookings' New Orleans Projects (brookings.edu)


Chicago, Illinois: I would like to express how much I learned from watching the Old Man and the Storm. Thank you so much for introducing the world to the Gettridge family. Last night I wished I had a an airplane so I could go to New Orleans to help rebuild with the Gettridge family. I don't have much but I would love to donate my vacation time and whatever money I have to give towards helping this family. What can I do? Also June Cross you are my HERO!!!

June Cross: Naw, the Gettridges - they're heroes.

I'm just the messenger.


New Orleans, La.: Thank you June, I'm still looking for that phony :)

June Cross: it's in there, somewhere....:-0


New Orleans, Louisiana: As a volunteer for a non-profit in the lower 9th, I cannot begin to tell you the emotions I felt while watching the program. Every day I encounter people living with courage, hope and resiliency. I work with children who to this day cry and shake during a thunderstorm. The challenge for New Orleans will be to recreate itself while preserving its unique heritage. My theme? Tradition AND innovation.

June Cross: You're right. Thank you. It will happen. Both in NOLA and in those cities where New Orleanians have migrated.


June Cross: Thanks everyone... visit my web site where I'll continue reporting this story


and if you want to see the documentary again please go to


and support public television -- It's not just about the story -- it's about the facts. And as one of my mentors, Jim Lehrer, always told me, "Keep the facts in front of the story, and be fair." Frontline is one of the last places where journalists can do this kind of work.

Peace, & here's to a better 2009.


Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company