The entire one-hour documentary is narrated by those Black residents displaced and by historians and National Park Service officials who try to explain the decisions of their predecessors from generations ago.
WLAE, a New Orleans public television station, is premiering a new documentary that tells the story of one of the oldest Black neighborhoods in the city that was razed during the Civil Rights struggles 60 years ago.
Battlegrounds: The Lost Community of Fazendeville airs Sunday night, Oct. 30, at 7.
The hour-long documentary features never-before-seen photos of Fazendeville, an idyllic, closely-knit St. Bernard Parish neighborhood of Black families who were forced to leave their homes in the 1960s. Families in the neighborhood were paid pennies on the dollar by the federal government to leave their homes so the land could be used for an expansion of the Chalmette National Battlefield site.
The one-hour documentary is narrated by those Black residents displaced and by historians and Park Service officials who today try to explain the decisions of their predecessors from generations ago. Fazendeville gave Blacks the first opportunity to own property in United States history, and The Village expanded to 33 homes, a church, general stores, recreation facilities, meeting halls and bars.
The documentary tells the story of a self-sustaining community called “The Village” built by a free man of color named Jean Pierre Fazende in 1867. The Village was originally established for recently emancipated slaves before being abruptly dismantled and bulldozed 100 years later, leaving scores of displaced Black residents with no choice and no voice as they scattered to other areas of New Orleans.
“All that remains of this century old neighborhood are very emotionally raw memories of the village’s displaced residents and some extraordinary pictures and historical documents of Fazendeville that were obtained by WLAE-TV,” says Jim Dotson, VP of LAE Productions and WLAE.
Doomed by its location in the middle of the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, Fazendeville was an obstacle in the way of the National Park Service’s proposed expansion of the battlefield park. In 1963, President John Kennedy signed an order allowing for the park service to seize the property which was bulldozed in 1966.
“Erased from the landscape that generations of families called home, even the memory of the village faded away — until now, with this revealing one-hour documentary that tells the heartbreaking story that has gone untold for decades,” says Woody Keim, the documentary’s executive producer.
The story of Fazendeville is a story of freedom and community for the recently freed Blacks and this fascinating documentary delves into the triumph over sorrow of the neighborhood’s families who went from independence to homelessness.
New Jobs Posted To TVNewsCheck
CLICK HERE to see new jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center including openings for Broadcast Maintenance Engineer, Executive Producer, Digital Content Promotions Producer, two Promotions Producers, IT Support Technician, Chief Political Reporter, Reporter and News Producer.