Directed by Leah Mahan
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who returns to his native coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Derrick’s life is consumed by the effort to protect the community his great grandfather’s grandfather settled as a former slave. He is on the verge of a breakthrough when Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast. After years of restoration work to bring Turkey Creek back from the brink of death, the community gains significant federal support for cultural and ecological preservation. Derrick makes plans to return to Boston to rebuild the life he abandoned, but another disaster seals his fate as a reluctant activist.
“This intimate film tells a gigantic story — about race, about power, about so-called development. But it is also a saga of community, resilience, resistance, and hope. It’s not just the drama of a small creek in Mississippi — it’s about everything that matters in our society.”
— Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools
“The language of power and oppression is omnipresent in Come Hell or High Water, and it doesn’t get any better as Katrina pounds Gulfport in 2005. Still no better when the BP oil disaster happens five years after that. The documentary captures Turkey Creek’s responses to all of these tragedies — and a few remarkable victories against the powers that be.”
— Brentin Mock, Grist