The Barbara Jordan Institute - presents 'Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek' in Houston, TX on Apr 9, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

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Released Year:
Fall 2013
56 minutes

About the screening:

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals including Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.

Turkey Creek residents are descendants of emancipated slaves who settled on the Gulf Coast in the 1860s. They have been stewards of the creeks rich wetland habitat for generations, and have farmed, fished, hunted and been baptized along its banks. Today, Turkey Creek is surrounded by an airport, a Walmart, highways and an industrial canal that threaten the community and its fragile wetlands.

Filmed in an intimate verite style, the story begins when Turkey Creek residents attempt to stop a development that would fill hundreds of acres in the watershed. The mayor of Gulfport responds by calling the protestors "dumb bastards" for standing in the way of progress. Turkey Creek residents and allies succeed in halting the development, only to see their victory unravel after Hurricane Katrina. Taking the fight to a larger arena, Derrick testifies before Congress and travels cross-country in a FEMA trailer to advocate for a sustainable future for the Gulf Coast.

Derrick is consumed by his advocacy work, and the stable life he built as a teacher is in jeopardy. His work begins to pay off when Turkey Creek is added to the National Register of Historic Places and the federal government moves to support a 1,600-acre natural preserve. But the celebration is cut short when BP oil begins spilling into the Gulf, threatening Turkey Creek's tidal estuary and the entire Gulf Coast.

This is an inspirational story of how one community banded together to save their land and culture. Filmmaker Leah Mahan worked with the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health to create an interactive website and network of bloggers called Bridge the Gulf. This network links environmental justice activists, writers and others concerned about resource extraction, climate change and a sustainable future for the Gulf Coast region.

Accessible: Yes

About the Hosts

The Barbara Jordan Institute
Telephone: 713-313-4809

Film Page: Find out more about this film


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