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Katrina Uncovers: Exploited Workers and Endangered Wetlands


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On this edition, we hear from migrant workers helping to clean up and rebuild New Orleans, and about their struggle for better wages and working conditions. We also hear from one organization fighting on their behalf.

Then, we visit the bayou of Louisiana where we meet with locals trying to preserve the wetlands as a natural barrier against hurricanes.


Israel Mijares, migrant worker; JJ Rosenbaum, staff attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project; Albert Pellegrin, tour guide; Bill Munson, owner, Munson Swamp Tours.

Hosts: Tena Rubio and Justin Beck

For more information:

Southern Poverty Law Center – Montgomery, AL

Munson Swamp Tours – Schriever, LA

Reviews of this program on PRX (Public Radio Exchange):

Posted: 5-14-2006
Reviewer: David Swatling, Producer, Radio Netherlands

This series consistantly produces high quality features about important issues and this episode is particularly good. It combines the currently hot topic of illegal immigration with the seemingly under-reported follow-up to hurricane Katrina. Effective use of sound takes the listener on location and elevates the program above merely reporting facts. Experts are brought in at just the right points with relevant information but are not overused.

However what makes the two segments both work so well are the engaging main speakers. The young Mexican worker, helping to rebuild a city and trying to support his family, maintains a simple dignity despite abuses by employers, police harrassment and being percieved as a criminal. The old Cajun guide in the Bayou faces environmental disaster which could destroy his home with equal doses of sadness, frustration and even humor. A delightful scene where he feeds an alligator is followed by an ominous prediction – the swamps could disappear within fifty years if serious action is not taken.

The whole program is well paced, nicely written and warmly narrated. Important issues presented from a personal perspective, it should have broad listener appeal.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Engaging, Informational, Sound Rich

Author: Radio Project

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