Veins in the Gulf

Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin

Abstract: Countries around the globe seem locked in political stalemates whenever they try to solve their environmental problems. The state of Louisiana in the U.S. has faced some of the worst disasters in the last decade—hurricanes, oil spills, river flooding. But the biggest disaster is land loss. Southern Louisiana is the fastest disappearing landmass on Earth. If the community doesn’t do something soon, Louisiana may not stretch past New Orleans. Filmmakers Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin have documented the Cajun bayou communities of Southern Louisiana as they reach for political consensus to restore their wetlands. “Veins in the Gulf” (76 mins, 2011) traces the environmental crisis of southern Louisiana, the loss of Cajun culture and the rapidly disappearing bayous since before hurricane Katrina. Through interviews with fishermen, engineers, writers, and scientists, Louisiana poet Martha Serpas bears witness as residents confront the mortality of their culture, and a community tries to solve its environmental crises. Serpas guides the audience through the complex story of coastal land loss, hurricanes and damage to the marshes caused by the 2010 BP oil disaster. While shrimping, attending public meetings or looking for tar balls on the beach, Serpas guides us through the heart of Southern culture to discover where great American seafood and oil have come from for the past century, but may not for the next.

Bio: Documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin have completed films about communities in crisis. Their last film, “One More Mile: A Dialogue on Nation-Building,” (2003) investigated the delicate and controversial role of the international community in a post-war society trying to build a new nation. “One More Mile” was broadcast in Bosnia and screened at NYU, Northwestern University and won an honorable mention from the University Film and Video Association. Their current film, “Veins in the Gulf,” documents historic bayou communities of southern Louisiana as they try to solve their environmental crises related to land loss.