Land of Opportunity

The frontlines of the unprecedented rebuilding process in New Orleans.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
97 mins
Remote video URL


Land of Opportunity dives deep into the tumultuous reconstruction of New Orleans.

Featured review

Land of Opportunity is an important part of the New Orleans story. It gets down and dirty with the people on the ground. Five years in the making, Luisa's film gives voice to everyday people working hard to rebuild their city and their lives. Anyone who cares about the future of cities in this country should see this movie!
Spike Lee
Filmmaker, "When the Levees Broke"


Through the eyes of urban planners, community organizers, displaced youth, immigrant workers, and public housing residents, this verité-style documentary reveals how the story of New Orleans is the story of urban America: how democratic processes can fail us, how economic crisis can pull the rug out from under us, and how (im)migration can prove to be a complicated bargain. As cities all over the world struggle to recover from disaster, whether economic, natural, or man-made, the lessons of post-Katrina New Orleans have only become more urgent.


Land of Opportunity is the best film available about the community-development challenges facing post-Katrina New Orleans. But of course the real value of the film is that this process is not so unique after all. It is simply an exaggeration of the issues facing communities, residents and workers all across America.
Dr. Rob Olshanksy
Chair, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Author, "Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans.
Land of Opportunity may well be the best film on post-Katrina New Orleans, in part, because it effectively delimits our spatial and temporal understanding of Katrina. As Land of Opportunity brilliantly illustrates, the 2005 Hurricane and the catastrophic failure of the city's levee system was only the beginning of a multifaceted disaster that has deepened in many ways, long after the memory of Katrina proper has faded. Dantas kept her crew's cameras rolling in New Orleans long after most of the major news outlets had shifted to other matters, but her film offers a peerless examination of the public policies and economic forces shaping the city's tortuous rebirth.
Dr. Cedric Johnson
Associate Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago. Author, "Watching the Train Wreck or Looking for the Brake? Contemporary Film, Urban Disaster and the Specter of Planning"
Land of Opportunity is in the best tradition of social documentary and speaks powerfully to anybody thinking about post-disaster rebuilding, urban planning, racialized poverty, place and identity, citizenship and democracy, gentrification and privatization, US social movements, New Orleans and the United States.
Dr. Anna Hartnell
Author, Rewriting Exodus: American Futures from Dubois to Obama
Land of Opportunity joins a small list of documentaries essential to a nuanced understanding of the continuing impact of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. The film intervenes against forgetting by telling human stories of the lived experience of disaster capitalism..It is highly recommended for University Libraries and as a text for research and classroom teaching.
Dr. Bernard Cook
Director of Film and Media Studies, Georgetown University. Author, "True Flood: Documentary, 'Authentic' Fiction and the Memory Project of Hurricane Katrina"
Land of Opportunity situates New Orleans after the 2005 hurricanes at a critical juncture of American urban life...The way that planning and development are depicted as living processes within people's varied lives make Land of Opportunity an invaluable resource for planning and urban studies educators.
Dr. Renia Ehrenfeucht
Chair, Planning and Urban Studies Department, University of New Orleans
For those of us looking for films that open doors for students to witness community change at multiple scales...Land of Opportunity fits the bill. Since the film is thoughtfully assembled with a sensitivity to the needs of educators, it creates classroom opportunities for discussion and exploration that can truly advance our work.
Dr.Stephen Goldsmith
Director, Center for the Living City, Assistant Professor College of Architecture + Planning, University of Utah.
Race, gender, class, disaster, resilience: Land of Opportunity harnesses the keywords and dynamics of urban development to unfurl the story of the 21st century American City. Post- Katrina New Orleans provides the setting that is simultaneously distinctly New OrleanIan and American: interracial coalitions and racially divided political factions; working class Black women housing activists and multi-ethnic globally mobile housing designers; Central and South American migrant daylaborers and developers. People in the city must navigate the storm that hits with hurricane-force but is in fact an economic crisis produced by the failed infrastructure of free-market capitalist development. This is a New Orleans narrative that resonates with accounts of daily life in Chicago, Detroit, New York, San Francisco/Oakland.
Dr. Ana Croegaert,Associate Professor
Anthropology and Urban Studies, University of New Orleans
Land of Opportunity tells a very significant narrative that needs to be heard and spotlights urban problems not widely understood...the footage speaks volumes.
-Roberta Gratz
Ph.D., Author, The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
Happening to a city near you" is the unsettling tag line for Land of Opportunity, a film that takes an intimate look at post-Katrina New Orleans and the interrelated struggles of those navigating it...Dantas captures the deep humanity and determination for justice that the film's subjects wield in face of crushing odds, allying the viewer with their struggles and their aspirations for home.
alima Rose
Director of PolicyLink Louisiana Initiative, Shelterforce Magazine
Land of Opportunity puts faces to the facts on the ground of post-Katrina New Orleans. Evocative and provocative, it is a compelling portrait of evacuation and return, race and citizenship, community and community organizing. Dantas' film follows a range of New Orleanians as they attempt to reclaim a normal existence -- access to their apartments, to electricity, to representation. Land of Opportunity speaks volumes for the thousands displaced and silenced by government manipulation in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Dr. Joel Dinerstein,Director
The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Tulane University

Awards and Screenings

"Best International Documentary" Award, Reel World Film Festival in Toronto, 2011
ARTE, European broadcast, 2010
It's All True International Documentary Film Festival, Brasil, 2011
New Orleans Film Festival, 2010
Just Metropolis (Planners Network) Conference, 2011
Allied Media Conference, 2011
Media that Matters Conference, 2011
Urban Affairs Association Conference, 2011
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2012
Southern Sociological Society Conference, 2013
Montreal International Black Film Festival, 2011
Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival, 2011
SXSW Interactive, 2012

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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