Inside the News Room

Replay our online video discussion about PTSD with documentary filmmaker

The Lens co-presented an online panel discussion Thursday afternoon about post-traumatic stress disorder, an event tied to the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

You can replay the discussion here.

The video-based forum was designed to recognize those who have been battling PTSD and discuss changes in the community with respect to mental health and related services.

The event was an outgrowth of a documentary film, “Buried Above Ground,” which tracks three people dealing with the disorder, including a New Orleans resident who suffered through the storm, the federal floods and the years of aftermath.

We’re presented the event with the team that created the film, and director and producer Ben Selkow moderated the discussion. The documentary will premiere and then tour the film-festival circuit later this year, but you can see the trailer here.

The New Orleans portion of the film focuses on Ashley Boudreaux, who relays a horrific account of her personal experience with Katrina, alongside the love for her city. The film follows her as PTSD symptoms develop around storm preparedness, and as the fear of natural and man-made disasters takes over her life.

Ashley Boudreaux of New Orleans is featured in "Buried Above Ground," a documentary exploring those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Courtesy of "Buried Above Ground"

Ashley Boudreaux of New Orleans is featured in \”Buried Above Ground,\” a documentary exploring those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

She eventually moves in to Art Egg Studios where she finds support in a community that has had similar experiences. Like so many who lived through Katrina, it has taken Ashley almost an entire decade to find ways to manage her symptoms.

Confirmed panelists include: Journalist Chandra Thomas; retired Judge Calvin Johnson; 7th Ward Neighborhood Center Vice President Angela Chalk; ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson; women’s health nurse practitioner Jamie Roques; Laura van Dernoot
Lipsky of the Trauma Stewardship Center; Jason Otis, a New Orleans native, Katrina evacuee and now with Peter Mayer Advertising in the city; and Lens founder Karen Gadbois.

More information is available at


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About Steve Beatty

Steve Beatty is the publisher and chief executive officer of The Lens. He worked as an editor for The Times-Picayune for 15 years, leaving New Orleans just before Katrina to take a position as an editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and quickly rising through the ranks to be an editor of the newspaper’s watchdog investigative team. He returned to New Orleans in May of 2009. He can be reached at (504) 655-2375.

  • pischuette

    Some of us lived with this hurricane known as PTSD before Katrina . She only added to the agony .

  • Janet Hays

    Should be good. More mental health services are needed. One day it would be great to have a discussion about SERIOUS mental illness too. Ii’s always astounding the lengths SAMHSA will go to avoid focusing any resources on serious mental illness. As everyone, other than SAMHSA, is aware, ‘trauma’ is not a mental illness, it is something everyone experiences (losing a parent, losing a job, getting a bad health diagnosis, being in an accident, etc.). PTSD is an illness, but even that can run from mild to severe. SAMHSA’s latest effort is to ignore the 10 million with serious mental illness and focus on reducing “everyday trauma” which they define as a ‘critical’ issue, a ‘crisis’.

  • nickelndime

    “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association (APA). Definitely worth it.
    Katrina exacerbated a lot of things.
    Causation may be another issue. “pischuette” and “Janet Hays” make valid points.
    08/25/2015 1:41 AM DST USA

  • Janet Hays

    Trauma is much different from the kind of ptsd described below the fold: the new VA hospital in New Orleans will have just 20 inpatient psych beds yet say they will be a destination hospital to 70 000 Vets … Scratching my head.

    “Restoring a home base for hospital care, long-term rehabilitation and research, Catellier said, is the key step in restoring a completely integrated health system for former military men and women across the Gulf Coast. The system’s enrollment goal by the hospital’s opening date is 70,000.”
    “That imbalance between seeing the price of war up close and yet not feeling able to do much about it, the survey suggests, contributes to feelings of “intense fear, helplessness or horror” that plant the seeds of mental distress. “A friend was liquefied in the driver’s position on a tank, and I saw everything”, was a typical comment. Another: “A huge f______ bomb blew my friend’s head off like 50 meters from me.” Such indelible scenes — and wondering when and where the next one will happen — are driving thousands of soldiers to take antidepressants, military psychiatrists say. It’s not hard to imagine why.[122]”

  • nickelndime

    This CITY OF NEW ORLEANS is enough to give ANYBODY-ANYBODY-ANYBODY …. PTSD. All you need to do is “take up residence” here – if THE CITY don’t “get you,” Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans or regular power outages by ENTERGY will zap you up. But you won’t die right away. It takes a little time, but it will get you if you stay. So o o, for those of you who are still ambulatory, get the hell out while you can still move (or want to) anyway. It is THE SILENT KILLER. And 4 Gawd’s Sake, if there are any Texans out there who are thinking of transferring to the State of Louisiana’s flagship university, make like a RAT and leave the sinking ship.
    08/26/2015 12:36 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    THE BIG EASY! THE BIG EASY? What a misnomer! In terms of the stress factors in an urban environment like this, you don’t need trauma. Stand on a street corner (if you dare) and watch – just watch – high crime – high poverty – all the wrong “highs.” Stress is a natural part of the day-to-day, but the stress “factors” in this city are way too high.
    08/26/2015 1:11 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Yeah, twenty (20) beds per an anticipated 70,000 veterans sounds about right as far as the federal government is concerned. Wow! You can’t save every starfish, but then, what do we do when the “selected” starfish are judged as “most likely to be cured,” so the numbers look good.
    Kinda reminds me of the federal prosecution success rate – yeah, Kenny Polite – I m talkin’ to you – whilst you prepare to mount any more steps of a federal building.
    08/26/2015 1:23 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Six wounded, two dead in four shootings on Tuesday night (a hot night in August) – does this sound ABBY NORMAL to you? In the words of Billy Joel, “…you may be right. I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for. Turn out the light. Don’t try to save me…” Ah, you’ve got to love the creative mind!
    08/26/2015 4:24 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Just so you know, ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) and I, belong to the Ashley Madison Book Club of Napa Valley, and WE will be damned if WE would allow ourselfs to be thrown off any train, much less a RTA streetcar in New Orleans.

    Go ahead. Try it. MAKE OUR DAY. WE aint’s talking about nasty waiters who leave racial notes to customers.

    WE may not be sistas of the traveling pants, but WE sure as hell know how to tie ourselfs to welded traincar tables.

    08/26/2015 4:44 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Damn! ASP deleted our comment. This is what happens when you deal with “the head of the snake.”
    08/26/2015 5:02 AM DST USA