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An American Opera (2007)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 22 January 2007 (USA)
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, America suffered the worst domestic animal crisis in its history. Tens of thousands of house pets were left to perish in neighborhoods all across the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Tom McPhee ...
Jane Garrison ...
Herself - Animal Rescuer
Lamonte Chenevert ...
Himself - Resident
Susan Benezeck ...
Herself - Resident
Wayne Pacelle ...
Himself - CEO of HSUS
Maxwell A. Lea Jr. ...
Himself - State Veterinarian (as Dr. Maxwell A. Lea Jr.)
Mark Steinway ...
Himself - Humane Investigator
Laura Maloney ...
Herself - LASPCA Director
Chris Acosta ...
Himself - Resident
Crystal Acosta ...
Herself - Resident
David Leeson ...
Himself - Reporter
Mimi Hunley ...
Herself - Louisiana Assistant Attorney General
Marie Belew Wheatly ...
Herself - CEO of American Humane Association


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, America suffered the worst domestic animal crisis in its history. Tens of thousands of house pets were left to perish in neighborhoods all across the gulf when the owners were forced to evacuate without their pets. Tom McPhee went to Gonzales, Louisiana not knowing how he would help, just knowing he needed to help somehow. He volunteered at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center and by chance found himself spending the next four days taking picture after picture of thousands of house pets rescued from flooded New Orleans. For the next 16 months Tom would document this historic event as it unfolded, trying to understand where it all went wrong. An American Opera is an unflinching, operatic vision of what happened to the people of New Orleans who were forced to evacuate without their beloved pets. Follow the story of the Pets, Vets, Owners, Officials, Rescuers and Adopters of animals as they all work through the chaos to do what is right only to discover not ... Written by Tom McPhee

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When EVERYONE believes they are doing RIGHT, how can so much go WRONG?




Not Rated

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Release Date:

22 January 2007 (USA)  »

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Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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At Least You've Been Told
by Arthur Yoria
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User Reviews

6 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

That was the most emotional roller coaster I have been on.

It was beautifully illustrated, the musical selections fitting, the stories were gut-wrenching. It is truth. I was disgusted by the lack of coordination, yet proud of the many rescue volunteers and the lengths they went to continue to rescue these helpless & sometimes trapped animals.

Tom McPhee unearthed facts I had not known, and exposed them for us... and I became infuriated. I can only hope karma will catch up to them sometime soon.

McPhee covered all sides fairly, giving all a chance to state & justify their strategies .... I absolutely LOVED it. Yet, I remain sickened by the truth it exposes as well. As I believe we have not learned, politics and power will still rule the day for those in higher places than the average rescuer.

I believe as Martin Luther King believed and once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter". Mr. McPhee has not, and will not remain silent. He teaches us without bias. We need only listen. He simply presents truth, and allows us make our own determinations. Remain silent, or learn.

McPhee created a beautiful documentation of history that many are not aware, but need to be. Every animal lover needs to know this story. And be prepared. Be ready to speak up, to act, to learn, and not repeat mistakes.

I am so happy he created this picture, but I am sure it had it's emotional toll. And I am sure those who lived it, feel it today... as if it were yesterday...

To Mr. Tom McPhee I simply say THANK you for creating this and sharing it with the world. I only hope EVERYONE will see this, and know the truth. Because they need to know the truth. And react. Then act. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes. We cannot call ourselves a humane nation and continue down the same path.

In conclusion I simply state: 2 thumbs & 4 paws up!! ~ Kristy S.

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