Documentary 'Inside New Orleans High' - Early Review

Tysongi Love (right) and friend
Courtesy of National Geographic Channel
The National Geographic Channel will premiere an hour long documentary, Inside New Orleans High, on Sunday, October 26 at 10pm. I was lucky enough to preview it this week. 

As mentioned previously, this doc takes a look inside one of the most violent schools in America, Walter L. Cohen High. This particular school is unique because it's a melting pot of all the former schools in the area that were lost to Hurricane Katrina.  Most of these students' records were lost forever in the floods, leaving them with no way to prove what grade they should be in.

The documentary follows three students closely during their spring semester. Each one was given a camera to record personal diaries as well. 

All of the children you meet throughout the course of Inside will break your heart but none as much as 19 year old Tysongi Love.  She's a single mother, as are so many of the girls there  (1 in 6 are expecting or already have children), and before Katrina she was a straight A student with big dreams.  She wants to be a dancer and when she arrived at Walter L. Cohen to discover they had no dance team, she helped create one with her teacher, Julie Murphy. 

I wish I could tell you Tysongi has a happy ending.  There are heart-warming moments but nothing can cover up the fact that this is a war zone and teens are dying nearly every day.  Love's own boyfriend was shot multiple times, leaving him hospitalized.

If there is one documentary you watch this month, let this be it.  It is shocking, terrifying and abominable that we let this go on in our own country. 

As Julie Murphy the first year English teacher at Cohen says, "This is third world."

Also check out this write up by the film's writer and producer Daphna Rubin.


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