The Big Uneasy


Re-printed from Press Release

In 2005, a disaster struck New Orleans. You know the rest. Or do you?

The media reported that what happened in New Orleans was a natural disaster primarily affecting poor black people. On both counts, the media was wrong. But its inability or unwillingness to report the hard truth – that these tragic floods creating widespread damage were caused by manmade errors in engineering and judgment - has failed both journalism and public safety. For what happened in New Orleans could happen again in other cities across the United States.

On August 16 THE BIG UNEASY will be available nationwide onVOD via all major cable providers, (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter and Cablevision) broadband VOD portals (iTunes, Vudu, Xbox, and Verizon FIOS) and DVD (  

Please also check out his website at

In his feature-length documentary The Big Uneasy, humorist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer gets the inside story of a disaster that could have been prevented from the people who were there. Shearer speaks to the tireless investigators and experts who poked through the muck as the water receded, and uncovers a courageous whistle-blower from the Army Corps of Engineers. His dogged pursuit of facts reveals that some of the same flawed methods responsible for levee failure during Hurricane Katrina are being used to rebuild the system expected to protect the "new" New Orleans from future peril.

In short segments hosted by actor John Goodman (Treme), Shearer speaks candidly with local residents about life in New Orleans. Together, they explore the questions that Americans outside of the Gulf region have been pondering in the years since Katrina: Why would people choose the live below sea level? Why is it important to rebuild New Orleans?

Shearer's film is also laced with computer imagery that takes you inside the structures that failed so catastrophically, and boasts never-before-seen video of the moments when New Orleans began to flood and the painstaking investigations that followed. Likewise, the film demonstrates what awaits people on the inside who try to report painful truths to the powers that be.

The Big Uneasy marks the beginning of the end of ignorance about what happened to one of our nation's most treasured cities—and serves as a stark reminder that the same agency that failed to protect New Orleans still employs the same flawed science in many other cities across America. Without improvements to engineering and accountability in oversight, the film cautions, we will be very sorry to see history repeat itself elsewhere. Nothing less than public safety is at stake.

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15 Startling Facts about America’s Infrastructure

Re-posted from Original Article HERE

Sadly, things are only going to get worse before they get better, as roads fill with potholes, bridges collapse, and electrical grids brown out with more regularly, all unable to provide for the needs of the populace. If you had any doubts about the sad state of the American infrastructure, read on to learn just how bad things really are.

  1. More than 25% of bridges in the United States need significant repairs or are handling more traffic than they were designed to carry.

    This translates to a whopping 150,000 bridges that aren’t up to snuff. In recent years, bridge and overpass collapses have even led to death. One of the most notable of these was the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, which collapsed in 2007, killing 13 and injuring 145. If bridges are not updated or repaired, these kinds of accidents could become more common.

  2. An inefficient, heavily overburdened electrical grid results in rolling blackouts and losses of $80 billion a year.

    In a world that relies heavily on technology for everything from health care to business, losing power can be a big deal. In the past decade, huge blackouts have left much of the Northeast and Florida without power for several days. This costs money, time, and can create unsafe conditions for residents.

  3. Over 4,095 dams in America were deemed “unsafe” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

    This means that they have deficiencies that leave them more susceptible to failure, especially during flooding or earthquakes. The number of dams in the United States that could fail has grown 134% since 1999, and now comprises 3,346 dams nationwide. More than 1,300 of these dangerous dams are considered “high hazard” because their collapse could threaten the lives of those living nearby.

  4. More than a third of all dam failures or near-failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.

    The rate of failures is increasing at a disturbingly fast rate, as America’s dams age and deteriorate. Can’t remember any recent dam failures? In 2004, 30 different dams in New Jersey’s Burlington County failed or were damaged after a period of particularly heavy rainfall.

  5. Nearly a third of all highway fatalities are related to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.

    The Federal Highway Administration estimates that poor road conditions play a role in more than 14,300 traffic fatalities each year


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