New documentary looks at rebuilding cultural landmarks

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi native Ed Ellington captures the rebirth of the coast's cultural history in a new documentary called Building Blocks.

"I grew up in Jackson, and I didn't know a lot of this and I was interested," said documentary film maker Ed Ellington.

The documentary travels to many of the coast's cultural landmarks, from Mary Mahoney's Restaurant in Biloxi to St. Rose de Lima Church in Bay St. Louis.  It tells the story of how historical places along the coast have rebuilt following Hurricane Katrina.

"Our goal was to teach coast residents something they might not have known," Ellington said.

The film starts in Ocean Springs on the Anderson Family property. Walter Anderson's son, John Anderson, talks about the rebuilding of his father's cottage and the family's Shearwater property in the film.

"The whole process was a little bit magical to me, because we didn't think we'd have anything back," Anderson said.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History help secure funds to rebuild the historic property.  It also secured grant money for the film to be made.

The film comes wraps up in Bay St. Louis at the St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church.  At one time, it was the only catholic parish in the nation training black priests.

"I'm certainly glad they chose St. Rose to be apart of this documentary," said parishioner Marilyn Smith.

As with any debut, Ellington had opening night jitters, but not for the reason one might think.

"What makes me nervous is not that I'm going to be judged one way, but I just don't want the stories of the people that we profiled to be told poorly, cause they put a lot of trust in us," Ellington said.

Next week, the film will play in front of a much bigger audience when it hits the small screen.  It will air Tuesday, August 25th at 9pm on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

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