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Mississippi Son

an award winning documentary feature film lending a voice to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (93 min.)

 

Excerpts from
Featured Artist: Don Wilson
in THE BAY PRESS, 6 April 2007

Interview by Gene Coleman

You originallly came back here after Katrina to take care of your mother. What was your first impression?

My first impression - I was blown away. The day I got there I just stabilized everything. I had to cut some trees down to get into and out of the house. I had a press pass and met up with the National Guard to get past the tracks. When I did I got a little teary eyed. I didn't know where I was and I knew the future was in trouble. My first impression was I was heartsick.

 

How long did you spend making this film and what were some of the insightful interviews?

We started prepping in March 2006 and we're just basically wrapping up looses ends so it's been a year - a long year.

There were so many interviews.

Tommy and Becky Luke. Becky was a girl I grew up with and they decided to ride the storm out in their house. They would show me where Camille was on their property and no one thought anything would even come close. These people rode the storm out and had a child with them and they watched house implode and float away.

And, Mayor A.J. Holloway, he told me a story and said when he finally got down to the coast he saw someone who said, "Mayor, we lost everything" and he'd walk another block and someone would say, "We don't have a car or a house," and he started crying. To have this stalwart of the community start crying. I didn't know what to ask him.

Kim Hoyt, who stayed in Hattiesburg, had a friend drive him down...he didn'y know if he could start again, but he did.

 

You were originally focused on the music scene. At what point did you realize you wanted to address other issues?

The culture. I needed to start somewhere and to me the coast is the food, the attitude about the food, the nightlife we had even before the casinos...

When I stepped out onto beach drive and knew all that was gone, I wanted to know what was next. I'm still not sure...they're still fighting to get the grants they were promised and fighting with insurance...

 

What did you find out about the coast music scene and where do you see it going?

The place attracts musicians and there's just something about it.

One of the cool things that happened to us and my musician friends is that U2's The Edge has a grant program called Music Risisng and it's part of MusiCares and they provided frants to the musicains in our movie to get equipment and record a soundtrack.

We re-formed the old band Heater and called ourselves Debris. It's a cross between Gatemouth Brown and Pink Floyd. It is pure coast musicians playing thier style of music. And, hopefully we can begin to put a little bit of money in these people's pockets...

 

A free showing in Mississippi would be huge...

We want to give the gift to the people who gave us this film...


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