Written by Kaitlin Smith, Director
Over the past year a team of students from the University of Alabama have traveled across the nation compiling video and conducting interviews for an upcoming documentary on the U.S. Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The project titled, “Paratus 14:50” will be covering Coast Guard’s air rescues carried out by Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile across southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the first two weeks of the response. These Coast Guard men and women helped contribute to pulling more than 33,500 people from the impacted areas; the greatest single rescue in Coast Guard history.
From the east coast to the west coast, to the gulf and through the Great Lakes, the team of students interviewed and filmed Coast Guard members who participated in the Katrina rescue effort; many who were key contributors in the rescuing of thousands of lives during Hurricane Katrina. Most notably, Rear Adm. David Callahan, then commanding officer of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center, Mobile; Capt. Bruce Jones, then commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans; and former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, the Principal Federal Official for the Hurricane Katrina response and recovery efforts.
This was a time in American history where there wasn’t necessarily a lot of hope to be had for the New Orleans, Mississippi, and Gulf Coast area. However, one thing is for certain, the U.S. Coast Guard prevailed and helped restore hope back into these cities and thousands of people living within them. As they put their heart and courage into saving lives, the Paratus 14:50 crew worked hard to produce a film that tells this valiant Coast Guard tale.