bg

Lay of the Land

This site allows you to browse, choose and explore rich layered multimedia stories about post-crisis urban equity and redevelopment.

COMMUNITY/COMMODITY

Who is invested in your community?

Learn More

COMMUNITY/COMMODITY

Bricks and Sticks: Public vs. Private

New Orleans
Public Housing
Mixed-Income
Privatization
Chicago
Detroit
Displacement
Resident Return

The Life and Death of Charity

New Orleans
Charity Hospital
Public Hospital
Health Care
Privatization
post-Katrina

This Land is Our Land

Boston
Community Land Trust
foreclosure
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Community Activism
DSNI
CLT

DEVASTATION/REBUILDING

How do you (re)build a community from the ground up?

Learn More

DEVASTATION/REBUILDING

Sewing Home

Rebuilding
Culture
Mardi Gras Indians
post-Katrina displacement
tourism

Surviving the Spill : BP Oil Disaster

BP oil spill
Gulf Coast
economic displacement
Culture
Environment
Bridge the Gulf
Fishing Industry

DISPLACEMENT/HOME

When communities are redeveloped who stays and who goes?

Learn More

DISPLACEMENT/HOME

How Does One Begin...

Sunni Patterson
Culture
post-Katrina
Displacement
Rebuilding
Affordable Housing

Out With the Old, In With the New

Gentrification
African-American businesses
economic displacement
Brooklyn

Culture Shock : Mixed-Income Housing

Public Housing
Mixed-Income Redevelopment
Chicago
New Orleans
Detroit
Affordable Housing
Cabrini Green
Gentrification

EXCLUSION/ENGAGEMENT

Who holds the power in your community?

Learn More

EXCLUSION/ENGAGEMENT

Youth Rising

Youth
Civic Engagement
Community Land Trust
Boston
New Orleans
Community Activism
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

Middle Passage

Marcus Akinlana
Culture
Community Activism
New Orleans
Rebuilding
African-American businesses
art
post-Katrina
tourism

Your City. Your Money. You Decide.

participatory budgeting
New York
New Orleans
Vallejo
Civic Engagement

Speaking Truth to Power

Public Housing
Youth
Chicago
Mixed Income Redevelopment
Displacement
Cabrini Green
New Orleans
Affordable Housing
70 Acres in Chicago : Cabrini Green
close

Sandy

Katrina

How can the next one be different?

Learn More

Storm

Aftermath

Recovery/Rebuilding

Future

SANDY

Share your vision for the future.

Katrina

In the years after Katrina, planners, experts and advocates clashed over the right to return to devastated neighborhoods.

watch the video

SANDY

Two renters left without heat or electricity battle cold weather and mold for months in Coney Island. 

watch the video

Katrina

A portrait of Jimmy, a life-long New Orleanian who refused to leave his beloved home and pets during and after Katrina.

watch the video

SANDY

Voices emerge from the aftermath of Sandy.

watch the video

Katrina

New Orleans filmmaker William Sabourin turned his camera on the chaos and community that he witnessed during Katrina and its aftermath.

watch the video

SANDY

Residents remember the night Hurricane Sandy made landfall. 

watch the video

Katrina

12-year old Tr'Vel Lyons recounts how he and his mother survived Katrina with the help of a guardian angel.

watch the video

SANDY

New Jersey homeowner Deborah Turner is caught in a tangle of red tape trying to rebuild after Sandy.

watch the video

Katrina

Al Aubry and his family adapt to life in FEMA trailer while waiting to rebuild their home.

watch the video

The Platform

LandofOpportunity is an experimental web platform that explores post-crisis community (re)building in America. The innovative platform merges compelling multimedia storytelling with curated data, research, and calls to action in one collaborative interactive space. Currently in Beta, LandofOpportunity features an interactive video player that allow users to explore and compare layered narratives about the people and processes that are shaping our increasingly vulnerable landscapes. Partners in different communities can create, curate and share their own multi-layered stories, laying a foundation for communication and knowledge-sharing across places, issues, and sectors.

Questions on how to use the platform? Check out the simulation video above.

The Film

From front porches to the frontlines, “Land of Opportunity” captures the struggle to rebuild New Orleans, one of America’s most beloved and emblematic cities. Juxtaposing the perspectives of protagonists from different walks of life, this award-winning documentary reveals how the story of post-Katrina New Orleans is also the story of urban America. This is a ground-level view of a situation that has been widely discussed but rarely seen with such texture and complexity.

 

NOTE: If you are an educator, click on For Educators to find out more about the educational version of the film.

Protagonists


Andres Duany


Vanessa Gueringer


Elza


Marcio


Tr'Vel Lyons


Kawana Jasper


Sharon Jasper


Alfred Aubrey

A lifelong New Orleanian charts a new path in the wake of catastrophe

Al Aubry is a homeowner in the Gentilly neighborhood whose roots in New Orleans go back centuries. He is determined to view his post-catastrophe situation as an opportunity for increased self-sufficiency. With Duany’s urging, he plants a community garden in his yard and begins to feed his family from it. Living in a cramped FEMA trailer with his wife Patricia and their two children for three years, Aubry wants nothing more than to rebuild a bigger and better home in the same spot where his ravaged one once stood. Despite having to fight crippling government bureaucracy, he never loses his sense of hope.

Andres Duany

A planner comes to New Orleans to leave his mark on a truly unique city.

Andres Duany

One of the most well known architects and urban planners in the world, Andres Duany is among the dozens of renowned experts hired to help create official recovery and rebuilding plans for New Orleans. A controversial and charismatic founder of New Urbanism, he sees himself as a visionary capable of transforming this beleaguered city into a model for the 21st century. He is frustrated by internal conflicts within the planning process and political inertia, but he inadvertently transforms the life of one resident he encounters. Ultimately, he comes to understand the value and uniqueness of New Orleans as it exists in its “delightfully disorganized” state.

Vanessa Gueringer

A mother advocates for her neighborhood

Vanessa Gueringer

Vanessa Gueringer, a wife and mother mainly devoted to her family before Katrina, returns home to her ravaged Lower 9th Ward neighborhood “with a fire lit” in her heart and mind. While struggling to rebuild her own home, she vows to fight for the revitalization of her decimated community. Working with ACORN, Vanessa becomes a powerful activist and a vocal thorn in the side of the local politicians who she deems apathetic or ineffective. In her quest to bring attention to her Lower 9th Ward community, Vanessa crosses paths with the likes of Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton and then presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Elza F.

A mother seeks to provide for her daughters in Brazil

Elza

Elza F., a mother of three young daughters, risked her life to come to post-catastrophe New Orleans, in the hopes of finding well-paid rebuilding jobs that would allow her to buy a home for her family in Brazil. Instead, she faces the harsh reality that wages are lower than she was promised, the dollar is weak, and after taxes, her income doesn’t stretch that far for her family in Brazil. In 2009, with mounting frustration, she comes to believe that working in the United States is no longer worthwhile, but is reluctant to let go of her dream.

Marcio P.

A father comes to New Orleans to help rebuild and support his family

Marcio

While residents like Vanessa strive to reclaim their beloved communities, others, like immigrant worker Marcio P. search for greater prosperity. Hoisting heavy construction debris as he helps to renovate the Hilton Hotel, Marcio dreams of being a screenwriter in Hollywood, where he wants to settle with his wife and two sons whom he reluctantly left behind in Brazil. A former car salesman, Marcio never dreamed he’d be doing manual labor in America. Marcio also feels proud to participate in the reconstruction of New Orleans, a city he grows to love. After over two years of increasingly intermittent work, however, it becomes clear the construction boom has not truly materialized, and his wife is pressuring him to return home. Eventually Marcio acquiesces in order to save his marriage.

Tr'Vel Lyons

A Displaced New Orleanian attempts to find his footing in a new city

Tr'Vel Lyons

Like Marcio and Elza, displaced New Orleanians like Tr’Vel Lyons also struggle to find community and solid footing in new and unfamiliar places. We follow Tr’Vel from his middle school graduation in 2006 in Los Angeles through his high school career. As a high school student in Los Angeles, Tr’Vel is committed to taking advantage of what he sees as greater educational and economic opportunities away from New Orleans. However when he pays a visit to his hometown for the first time since Katrina, he becomes keenly aware of the price he’s paid by being away from beloved friends and family.

Kawana Jasper

A mother fights to preserve her community and raise her children

Kawana Jasper

Kawana Jasper always wanted the best for her children, even if it meant leaving the St. Bernard community where she was born and raised. But when the federal and local government closed off her public housing community and others like it in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Kawana realized she “never thought” she’d miss it as much as she did. She feels that people like her, the poor working class of the city, are “not welcome…they want to make it more for tourists, trying to make it like Las Vegas…”. As she fights in public, she also continues to raise her children as a single mother.Alongside her mother, Sharon she fights to dispel the stereotypes that people in public housing are lazy and don’t want what is best for their families

Sharon Jasper

A great-grandmother fights to save the community that raised her

Sharon Jasper

Sharon was always a pillar of her community. For years, she spoke out against police brutality in public housing, and advocated for better conditions for tenants. When, like thousands of others, she was evacuated and evicted from public housing, she became a visible spokesperson for former residents of public housing who wanted to to prevent the demolition of the buildings they grew up in and where they raised their children.Sharon continues to speak out against the Housing Authority and private developers who she feels are creating an unfair environment that prevents former residents of public housing from returning to the new communities that have been built.

 

For Educators

Land of Opportunity is filled with teachable moments about the meaning of displacement, home and community, the power dynamics of race and gender, and ultimately, about the struggles for justice, equity, and fairness in a multiracial society.

THE FEATURE FILM 

Getting the film into the hands of educators, students and community groups is an important part of our mission to share the lessons learned in New Orleans with the rest of the world. In 2010 we proudly joined New Day Films, the innovative filmmaker-run distribution company, to distribute the film to community groups, universities, colleges, schools, public libraries and government agencies.

 

THE PLATFORM

If you are an educator or a community group, we want to work with you! The multi-layered, interactive nature of the platform is designed to engage students and community members with deep learning and real and relevant action.  It is our hope that educators--as well as the larger community--will use this platform as a tool for not only researching these pivotal social issues, but also connecting with ways to take action.

Larger Screenings & Events with Paid Admission

The Land of Opportunity film is available for screening at academic, professional, religious, and social justice conferences. If you want to hold a screening for more than 150 people, or an event of any size with paid admission, please contact us.

Conferences and Speakers

The filmmakers are also available to attend conferences, screening events and classes where the film is shown. Please contact us for more information.

 

Press & News

Follow news, press, and upcoming events for LandofOpportunity here.

View the Land of Opportunity media kit and download images
here.

The LandofOpportunity interactive platform was selected as a 2014 Webby Award Honoree for Best Community Website. Honorees are selected for recognition based on excellence in content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity and overall experience.


September 16, 2014
A great write-up of Katrina/Sandy via Black Press USA.


September 16, 2014
Luisa Dantas' op-ed for Next City, marking the 9th anniversary of Katrina.


September 9, 2014
Katrina/Sandy Interactive Timeline Invites You to Listen To Common Stories Of Survival


September 3, 2014
Coverage of Katrina/Sandy by New Jersey's 105.7 The Hawk


August 29, 2014
"Katrina and Sandy cost over 2,000 lives. Will we do better next time?"


August 29, 2014
A soundbite of Luisa Dantas' interview with Eve Troeh of WWNO, which was rebroadcast on NPR's All Things Considered.


August 27, 2014
American University's Center for Media & Social Impact's coverage of Katrina/Sandy.


August 27, 2014
New Orleans' the Times Picayune covers the launch of the Katrina/Sandy timeline in August 2014.


August 25, 2014
Tulane University's coverage of the Katrina/Sandy timeline.


August 22, 2014
Katrina/Sandy previewed by Brokelyn.


"Upworthy features "How Does One Begin?" a LandofOpportunity interactive short.


May 14, 2014
"More than just a video distribution platform, Land of Opportunity aims to cultivate a fertile space where stories inspire tangible change. The combination of creative filmmaking and community discourse presents an innovative solution for how social awareness can influence policy, bringing attentive eyes to the problems that are starving for attention."


December 14, 2013
Luisa Dantas authored a piece for GOOD, in which she discusses the making of and vision behind the Land of Opportunity project.


November 25, 2013
Great profile of Luisa Dantas/LandofOpportunity in New Orleans' life and culture magazine.


November 14, 2013
LandofOpp director/producer Luisa Dantas authored a piece for the Shelterforce blog, titled "Explore Post-Crisis Redevelopment Beyond the Linear Narrative." 


November 19, 2013
Brokelyn, a lifestyle magazine based in Brooklyn, spotlighted our interactive video "Out With the Old, In With the New," a layered look at the gentrification of Brooklyn's Fulton Mall.


October 30, 2013
Untapped Cities featured an op-ed by Luisa Dantas on the project and "narratives of recovery."


September 20, 2013
Tulane University did a write-up of the feature film, the soon-to-be-released interactive site, and Luisa Dantas' approach to teaching.


August 29, 2013
In commemoration of the 8th anniversary of Katrina, we teamed up with Sandy Storyline to co-author a piece for Creative Time Reports. The article highlights stories of residents struggling to rebuild their homes after Katrina and Sandy. 


April 15, 2013
What does the “user experience” look like for an interactive documentary? A case study on LandofOpportunity.


September 2, 2010
Watch this episode of GRITtv where guest host Ed Ott sits down with Luisa Dantas. The two discuss what Luisa learned while making Land of Opportunity. Laura Flanders hosts GRITtv and talks to creative thinkers and change-makers from the world of politics, arts and the new economy.


September 2010Louisiana’s entertainment magazine featured Luisa Dantas in the 2010 Sept/Oct issue. Check out Danielle Nelson’s interview (go to page 26).


2010
Gary Michael Smith wrote up Land of Opportunity’s first ever screening in New Orleans with a great article.

Foreign Press:


August 29, 2010
Alessandra Corrêa wrote a great piece on Land of Opportunity for BBC Brasil.


May 19, 2010
Read Sérgio Martins’ article about how New Orleans’ music and cinema are fundamental to the city’s post-Katrina redevelopment. Land of Opportunity and Luisa Dantas are highlighted.

 

Buy The Film

Land of Opportunity is an important part of the New Orleans story. It gets down and dirty with the people on the ground. Five years in the making, Luisa’s film gives voice to everyday people working hard to rebuild their city and their lives. Anyone who cares about the future of cities in this country should see this movie! — Spike Lee

Katrinas are happening to every city in the nation. Land of Opportunity opens dialogue about the future of urban America and provides an opportunity to redefine disaster recovery from New York to Detroit to New Orleans. -Robert Greenwald, Filmmaker

Land of Opportunity is the best film available about the community-development challenges facing post-Katrina New Orleans.  But of course the real value of the film is that this process is not so unique after all. It is simply an exaggeration of the issues facing communities, residents and workers all across America. — Dr. Rob Olshansky, Author, "Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans” 

 

NOTE:  If you are an educator, please see the For Educators section under About to purchase an educational DVD.

Make a donation

Or you can mail a tax-deductible donation to our fiscal sponsor:

Video Veracity, Inc.
3020 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA 70117

 

Current Partners / Funders

Uncharted Digital

Connect with

Thank You. You are now logged in.

continue