COME HELL OR HIGH WATER: THE BATTLE FOR TURKEY CREEK follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors — former slaves who settled on the Gulf Coast in the 1860s — are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport.
Filmed in an intimate verité style, the story begins when Derrick returns to Mississippi for the holidays in December 2001. He and filmmaker Leah Mahan, a friend from Boston, have made the trip to record oral history. But a visit to the community cemetery with nonagenarian Eva Skinner changes the course of Derrick’s life. Derrick resolves to do what he can to help protect Turkey Creek, moving home to Mississippi to join residents as they attempt to stop a development that would fill hundreds of acres in the watershed.
Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.