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Documenting Environmental Justice and Community Preservation in Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek

By Patricia Randolph Williams ꞌ77, BCEEAN Co-Chair

Derrick Evans

Derrick Evans '90, MAT '94 is featured in the new documentary, Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, a story of determination, passion, and love of community. 

The film, directed by Luisa Dantas, follows Evans as he takes a sabbatical from his job as a Boston teacher and moves home to the coastal Mississippi town of Turkey Creek, a historical black community founded by members of his family.  As Turkey Creek is being slowly overtaken by the City of Gulfport, Evans and his neighbors battle over the course of a decade to save Turkey Creek from sprawl, environmental indecisions, Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.

Evans’ story is as much about environmental justice as it is about community self-preservation. “We found that there are a lot of Turkey Creeks,” Evans says.  “There’s Africatown over in Mobile Bay, Lower Ninth Ward [New Orleans], Plaquemines Parish and others . . . .  My work and our fight – all of ours – has extended beyond Turkey Creek to this contiguous, environmentally, socially, politically challenged region that the world seems to talk about, but not really deal with in the way that we have . . . .  We’re not just a problem, but a source of solutions.”

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek was featured at the 2014 Washington, D.C. Environmental Film Festival.  In addition, it received the Audience Award for Documentary Feature at its premiere at the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival.

The film has also been aired on America ReFramed, it is travelling around the world with the 2014 American Film Showcase, and it will be available for a limited time to stream through PBS Video.

To find out more about the film, visit http://leahmahan.com/comehellorhighwater.

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