KC filmmaker uncovers the lives of post-Katrina immigrant workers

It takes a gutsy reporter to ask an interviewee if he’s sleeping with other women while he’s sending money back to his wife and three kids in Guatemala. Sammy Loren is wired that way.

The Kansas filmmaker was attending Loyola University in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, gutting not only the city infrastructure but draining the local employment pool. “Most of the population was gone,” he said. “The traditional underclass was dispersed across the U.S. A lot of jobs were filled immediately by Latinos.”

Loren stumbled upon just such a work crew in his neighborhood — a group of men from Central America working on a house just one block from a bar the filmmaker frequented in the Irish Channel district. He was already interested in a film project about this new workforce and how they integrated into an unknown city, cut off from their families and familiar settings.

Last night, the Loyola grad screened Nueva Orleans for a packed house at the Crossroads Infoshop and Radical Bookstore.

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