Categories: cultureenvironment

Preaching the Gulf’s Environmental Gospel

Filmmakers screen “My Louisiana Love” at Open Books

by Jeremy Morrison

Monique Verdin spent her time in Paris screening her film and attending rallies as international talks culminated in the Climate Agreement. It was easy enough to feel at-least ok about the efforts being made to address climate change and the associated environmental issues.
Then she came home.
“I actually was over there, then came back and found out that 44 million acres were getting ready to be auctioned off in the Gulf for some of the deepest-water drilling in the world,” Verdin said. “The reality is the Gulf of Mexico is being considered a sacrificial zone.”


Filmmaker Monique Verdin in “My Louisiana Love.” (submitted photo)

Verdin — who’s film “My Louisiana Love” connects environmental issues such as oil drilling to impacts her Houma Indian family has experienced in Southeast Louisiana — is concerned that while some efforts are being made to reign in carbon pollution and the chance for a production-related disaster, it has returned to business as usual in the Gulf of Mexico so quickly after the Deepwater Horizon accident.
“There’s a huge carbon grab that is happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico that not many people are paying attention to,” Verdin said.
The filmmaker said she appreciates being able to use her film, “My Louisiana Love,” which came out in 2012, to engage people in discussions about the current state of environmental affairs in her home region.
“It’s such as honor and satisfaction to know that it is continuing to open people’s eyes to the reality of the Gulf South,” Verdin said. “Just to remind people, let’s not have short-term memory, let’s protect the Gulf, the risk is too great.”
Over the last few years, Verdin, and co-filmmaker Sharon Linezo Hong, have had many an opportunity to engage audiences as they’ve traveled their film around the world.
“We’ve shown all over the place,” Verdin said. “As far away as Paris, France [and as near as] Paradise Bar and Grill on Pensacola Beach.”
Thursday night the filmmakers will have a local screening of “My Louisiana Love” at Open Books in Pensacola. It’s actually a hometown show of sorts, as both filmmakers grew up in Pensacola.
In the late 1990s, Verdin returned to Southeast Louisiana to reconnect with her Native American family. Shortly thereafter she began work on what would become “My Louisiana Love.”
The film tells the story of how environmental realities — from hurricanes to oil spills — have impacted the Houma Indian people. It details issues going back generation, particularly the complicated relationship between the oil industry and the indigenous community of the Mississippi Delta, as well as events like hurricanes Rita and Katrina and the BP oil leak.
“Taking it from my grandmom’s generation all the way up to current day in about an hour,” Verdin said.

The screening of “My Louisiana Love” begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at Open Book, 1014 N Guillemard St. The filmmakers will be available for questions following the film.

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