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‘I just miss home’: Two stories of life after Katrina


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Hurricane Katrina displaced hundreds of thousands of residents of New Orleans and many never returned. For the past decade, filmmaker Rennik Soholt has followed the lives of several families who fled. Now, hear the personal stories of two former New Orleans residents who spoke to Soholt about their experiences. This video was produced by Soholt, the director of the forthcoming documentary feature, “Forced Change.”

Rennik’s documentary makes an important point, one that I never considered during Hurricane Katrina or in the aftermath. Driving through New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi to visit my uncle two years after the hurricane, I couldn’t understand why people didn’t just leave the area and live somewhere else. Put yourself in their shoes though. Our cities, towns and neighborhoods are just as much who we are as the blood in our veins. Could you just pack up and leave so easily?


KATRINA ANNIVERSARY: Riverside filmmaker documents friends’ struggles

The first week of October 2005 when the drowned City of New Orleans let evacuees back in, New York filmmaker Rennik Soholt returned with them, aiming his small Panasonic 100A camera at homes and lives ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

One of them, 28-year-old Janna Firmin, her mouth covered with a bandana and wearing rubber gloves, he captured standing on her mattress in 12 feet of water, searching for a jewelry box her father gave her just before he died. It’s a rotted mess and Firmin leaves with only a few pictures and poems.

Soholt’s documentary, “Forced Change,” a passion project still in the works after 10 years, is getting a high-profile sneak peek on “PBS NewsHour Weekend.” The film follows four of the Riverside native’s friends who left the city they loved, many with little more than hopes and prayers.

“They’re all struggling in their own ways,” Soholt said in a phone interview. “Choosing to start over is hard enough. But when you’re forced to make do, it’s challenging.” 


‘FORCED CHANGE’ Looks at Katrina Survivors 10 Years On

It’s been nearly 10 years since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and the Gulf Coast forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes. Filmmaker Rennik Soholt has documented what’s happened to five people forced to change their lives overnight because of Katrina. Now Soholt is attempting to raise $30,000 to finish this film, a film 10 years in the making.

This is a documentary about the meaning of “home.” As Soholt saw it, it was a story he could not deny, partly because he was directly affected by Katrina.


‘Crowdfunding Campaign Review: Crowdfunding a Documentary

Today’s campaign review comes from Rennik Soholt of the Forced Change Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is for a feature documentary that uses the path of destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina to bring to life unique human stories that shed light on what it means to be home. Filmed at critical moments over the last ten years, Forced Change is a decade-spanning retrospective of five unique and relatable people that left New Orleans after the hurricane and never returned home.

Rennik’s documentary makes an important point, one that I never considered during Hurricane Katrina or in the aftermath. Driving through New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi to visit my uncle two years after the hurricane, I couldn’t understand why people didn’t just leave the area and live somewhere else. Put yourself in their shoes though. Our cities, towns and neighborhoods are just as much who we are as the blood in our veins. Could you just pack up and leave so easily?

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