Being Poor in New Orleans

1977-79, early work by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker
Beginning in 1977, Andrew Kolker and Louis Alvarez produced a series of half-hour documentaries about New Orleans' challenges called Being Poor in New Orleans. The programs were broadcast on WGNO-TV (Channel 26) and produced under the auspices of NOVAC, the New Orleans Video Access Center.

Presenting some of the first independent TV documentaries made in New Orleans, the series was a pathbreaking look at New Orleans' problems and raised a number of issues about inequality that had not been aired in the city's media at the time.

Changing the Channel was one of the first US films anywhere to look at the concept of gentrification and displacement of the poor in neighborhoods with rich architectural histories.

Talking Crime took on the incendiary topics of white fear and black-on-black crime.

The Clarks is a verité portrait of a family struggling to survive in New Orleans' now-demolished St Thomas Housing Project.

All three films deal with topics that are still a part of New Orleans' everyday challenges, while presenting a time-capsule of the people and the streets of the city in the late 1970s.