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'Shell Shocked' Doc Tackles NOLA Murder From Kids' Perspective

While many locals are enjoying New Orleans' growing economy and post-K resilience, entire communities still live in fear of violent crime. Last year alone, 193 people were murdered in the GNO, a number that seems incongruent with all of the rhetoric surrounding the city's recovery after The Storm. Shell Shocked: A Documentary about Growing Up in the Murder Capital of America, explores the city's notorious murder rate from the perspective of the children that live with it.


Director John Richie and Producer Jonathan Jahnke, founders of Scrub Brush Productions, began work on the film in 2008. During their time volunteering at a local high school, Richie and Jahnke realized that virtually all of their students had personally experienced tragedy in a way most adults never witness.


“We were working with a group of young folks on an anti-violence campaign, and each of every one of the kids have been directly affected by gun violence either by a friend being shot or a family member being shot. Oftentimes, it was multiple people,” said Richie.


In the past five years, the pair reached out to young people and leaders in the city to conduct interviews and gain perspective from those most impacted by violence in the city. Filmmakers also spoke with law enforcement and city officials, but the film aims to tell children’s stories.  


In the trailer’s audio, a young female interviewee says, “Your fist is not going to protect you these days, because you can’t punch a bullet.”  


Rather than vilifying criminals, Shell Shocked aims to amplify voices of those affected by violent crime. Richie said he hopes people will come out of the film with a more holistic approach to reducing murder rates.


“Stop blaming the victims and take a little more responsibility for the youth that are growing up here,” said the director. “By the time a kid gets into the criminal justice system, it’s going to ruin their lives. What I suggest or what the film suggests, is that we need to start looking at preventative measures.”


Shell Shocked screens tomorrow, May 10, at United Grace Methodist Church (3104 Canal Street), and Saturday, May 11, at A.L. Davis Park on Fourth Street. Both screenings will begin at 7pm. The screenings are free and open to the public.


See the trailer here:

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily