Stories About Families

The documentary A Place Called Desire is stories about families. Desire is the often forgotten community in the upper 9th Ward in the city of New Orleans. This documentary is one that will resonate with most people trying to find strength in a tough place. The story of trials and tribulations teaches us, as only a few stories can, about the essential wisdom of pushing through when times get tough, learning to fight against all odds. How many people in the Desire Community preserved with grit and courage.

 "It has been in the making for 12 years, offers many unforgettable history lessons applicable to American history, Louisiana history, African American history, urban history, racial history, studies of neighborhoods, studies of survival, and memorable stories of love and community. Somehow the filmmaker shares hard truths with a gentle touch."

~ Dr. Al Kennedy

Stories About Family

Desire Housing Development

“Nobody can dim the light which shines from within” as penned by Maya Angelou, is the perfect metaphor for Desire.

Those outside of the community told the stories about families you may have heard. We will present this film from a unique vantage point–that of insiders. Since 2008 we have interviewed over 60 individuals telling the stories of their lives in the Desire Community. They speak of a place that is not the same story that the press often portrayed. There were struggles, many struggles, but there were also strengths and positives in this tight-knit community of thousands.

A Place Called Desire documentary will show how the effects of two powerful, catastrophic disasters,  took aim on this once tight-knit community.  These disasters are only intensified by the lack of movement from the local, state and federal governments. The goal is to show how residents and former residents are left with a feeling of being forgotten. The clouds of abandonment and homelessness hang low over the once thriving community of Desire. The payoff for its residents from a long-awaited class-action suit involving the Agriculture Street Landfill added insult to injury to this community that hangs by a thin thread.

When you look at the times we’re in, Desire is the perfect storm of black America’s plight. Nixon, landfill, shoddy construction, war on drugs, geographic isolation, police showdown, incarceration. And it all started out as just a place where families were trying to nurture their kids in an affordable location. A documentary of stories about family.

A Place Called Desire Trailer from Leonard Smith III on Vimeo.