In 2005, Louisiana shelters filled with evacuees had to turn away bus load after bus load of people. Then-Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco looked to the Cajundome for help.
The documentary examines how a venue normally reserved for basketball games and concerts made the transition to a makeshift home for about 18,500 people total over the course of 58 days.
“Cajundome City: Hurricane Katrina and America’s First Mega-Shelter” will premiere Thursday, August 25 at 7:15 p.m., at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s LITE Center, 537 Cajundome Blvd. It explores how the country’s first large-scale, long-term shelter with a medical clinic, pharmacy, commissary and post office was established and functioned. It has interview with the former Cajundome director Greg Davis, who was director at the time, as well as Dr. Paul Azar, who directed the medical clinic inside the venue.
The film comes after a book from Acadian House Publishing in 2017 – “The Day of the Cajundome Mega-Shelter: The Small City that Sprang Up in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina.” “Cajundome City” mixes recent interviews of evacuees and volunteers with past interviews and archival footage.
“Like the book, the film will resonate with many in the community. People have heard the Katrina story and so many aspects of it for a long time, but no one has ever done a film about the Cajundome’s role,” Trent Angers, Acadian House publisher and editor.