Documentary to air Jan. 31 on plight of Pointe-aux-Chenes and its Native American residents

·2 min read

A new documentary about the environmental and cultural challenges facing the Pointe-aux-Chenes community of Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes and its Native American inhabitants will air next week.

"Louisiana Spotlight: The Plight of Pointe-au-Chien" is the debut program in a new quarterly documentary-style series produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

The hourlong program will air at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 on LPB stations statewide and at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 on WLAE-TV in New Orleans. Viewers can stream the program at lpb.org/louisianaspotlight or with the LPB app.

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Both the community of Pointe-aux-Chenes and the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe are facing multiple challenges, include the effects of climate change, coastal erosion, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes and the fight for federal recognition and cultural preservation. Destruction wrought by Hurricane Ida has escalated the need for solutions.

The program will be hosted by Drake LeBlanc, co-founder and creative director of Télé-Louisiane. Featured panelists include:

  • Dr. Laura Kelley, a tribal historian, author, and professor at Tulane University.

  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, a member of and lawyer for the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe.

  • Christine Verdin, a tribal leader and lifelong resident of Pointe-aux-Chenes.

  • Alex Billiot, a tribe member and local crabber.

Alex Billiot, a member of the Point-au-Chien Indian Tribe, catches crabs on the waters of the Terrebonne Basin.
Alex Billiot, a member of the Point-au-Chien Indian Tribe, catches crabs on the waters of the Terrebonne Basin.

“I hope this story reveals just how unique and beautiful Pointe-aux-Chenes and its people are," LPB’s Ben Johnson, the program's director and producer, said in a news release. "I want it to highlight the rich history of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe and their centuries-long fight for equality. I also hope this show acts as a wake-up call to the immediacy of finding solutions to climate change. Pointe-aux-Chenes is on the front line of climate change, and if we give up fighting for this small community, the front line will just come for the next town or city.”

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"Louisiana Spotlight" is the evolution of the longstanding LPB public-affairs program "Louisiana Public Square." With this new format, LPB hopes Louisiana Spotlight allows viewers to explore complex issues in a deeper, more personal way, with stories told by the people facing the challenges head-on.

“Louisiana Spotlight takes all of the good things about the discussion dynamic of Louisiana Public Square and transports viewers out of the studio and into the story so they can see first-hand what’s at stake during that discussion,” said Linda Midgett, LPB executive producer. “The struggle facing the people of Pointe-aux-Chenes is exactly the kind of story we are looking to explore deeper, and this journalistic approach is the best way to do it.”

— Courier and Daily Comet Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or keith.magill@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.

This article originally appeared on The Courier: LPB documentary to air Monday on plight of Pointe-aux-Chenes

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