Refuge of Last Resort (2006)
Stranded in a New Orleans hotel with a group of five adults and four children, film maker James Bills put his camera to good use in his native city. In this one-hour documentary, with no stock footage at all, he records the city before, during, and mainly after Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. Even today, seeing his film, it is hard to comprehend the terrifying power, destructive force, and catastrophic flooding of the storm. Bills interviews a handful of citizens and with understated narration lets them tell their stories. The bald lies and gross incompetence of local, state, and especially the federal government loom large. "It has changed me forever," reminisced one woman. "I will never depend upon the government for anything. You're on your own." A recent article in the New York Times suggested that 18 months later, New Orleans's population has probably topped out at less than half of its pre-hurricane size.