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Communication Department Graduate and Film Maker, Royd Anderson Publishes His First Book

Royd Anderson, a 2006 graduate of the department’s Master of Communication program, has recently published his first book -- New Orleans Disasters: Firsthand Accounts of Crescent City Tragedy. His style of storytelling draws primarily on firsthand accounts of those most immediately affected by the events and is important to record in the city’s history. He believes that it is “imperative to pass on stories of those affected by tragedy.”

Before having published this book, Anderson produced and directed 5 documentary films that cover tragic events in the New Orleans area, focusing on reactions from family members of victims, survivors, first responders, and law enforcement. The films, The Luling Ferry Disaster (2006), The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion (2007), Pan Am Flight 759 

(2012), The Upstairs Lounge Fire (2013), and Mother’s Day Bus Crash on 610 (2019), have all been accepted into The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Anderson’s films not only recount events in the New Orleans area but give voice to survivors and to the families of those lost in these events. New Orleans Disasters: Firsthand Accounts of Crescent City Tragedy puts into print what these films convey, as well as additional content on other disasters.

The idea for writing the book grew from an inquiry from Arcadia Publishing about his documentary films, and a break from his job in Jefferson Parish Schools due to the pandemic.The book is available via Arcadia Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Anderson credits Dr. Davie, his project chair, and UL for giving him a chance when he was looking for a change in his career. The Luling Ferry Disaster, Anderson’s Master’s project and first film was released on the 30th anniversary of the incident and brought to light the continued grieving of family members. It resulted in a memorial to those lost, unveiled in 2009 near the ferry terminal location.