News Release

Southeastern Channel to air 'American Crisis, American Shame' in January

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND -- “American Crisis, American Shame: The National Consequence of Coastal Erosion,” a documentary detailing state and national threats caused by Louisiana coastal degradation, will debut Jan. 12, on the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational cable access channel.

     The show will also air on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m., and at additional times in January on the university channel, broadcast on Charter Cable Channel 18.

     Produced by the Southeastern Channel in conjunction with the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, the documentary premiered in October at the Columbia Theatre as part of the 2008 Fanfare celebration.  It also aired recently on Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) stations.

     The program is a follow-up to “The Manchac Swamp: Manmade Disaster in Search of a Resolution.”  Both projects were funded by a $63,000 grant from Southeastern’s Lake Pontchartrain Basin Research Program (LPBRP) and the Environmental Protection Agency.
     The 30-minute show is the product of more than three years of research by Samuel C. Hyde Jr., director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies and the Ford Family Chair in Regional Studies. Hyde was assisted in research and writing by the center’s assistant director, Keith Finley, and Nick Norton, professor of biology and director of the university’s Lake Pontchartrain Basin Research Program.

     “This documentary is a must-see for all south Louisiana residents,” said channel General Manager Rick Settoon, who co-produced the program with Hyde. “It effectively describes the critical, urgent nature of the crisis and cries out for immediate action.”

     “Our previous programs have explained the sources of environmental degradation and increasing hurricane damage in our home region,” said Hyde, who also narrated the program.  “’American Crisis, American Shame’ advances beyond that to analyze potential solutions to the dilemma.

     “The message is that if Louisianians do not change the way they think about their environment, they will soon suffer catastrophic consequences, the results of which will be a greater threat to America’s national security than any foreign terrorist organization could hope to present,” Hyde said.

     The documentary contains interviews with a variety of scientists currently engaged in wetlands research, such as Southeastern biologist Gary Shaffer and John Lopez, director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s Coastal Sustainability Program.

     The program was videotaped and edited by Southeastern Channel operations manager Steve Zaffuto, who also created the graphics.

     “A special effort was made to include actual archival footage of relevant places and events,” said Zaffuto, who noted that the program features original music by recent Southeastern graduate Brian Hanson. “Hanson’s moving score enhances the emotional impact of the documentary’s dire predictions.”

     The Southeastern Channel, which has won more than 80 national and international awards in the past four years, including two regional Emmy Awards in 2008, can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes and on Channel 17 in Washington Parish.

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