Brian Bain is a southern Jewish filmmaker born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He grew up as an active member of the Jewish community. Bain was a member of SoFTY [Southern Federation of Temple Youth] and NFTY [National Federation of Temple Youth] and attended Henry S. Jacobs Camp, a Union for Reform Judaism summer camp in Mississippi. He attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in Radio, Television, and Digital Communication. Brian worked in film production, directing and producing documentary and commercial work. Since 2010, he has worked as a director for TEMPT Films and a managing partner for Film Compound Production Services, both companies based in the greater New Orleans Area. Bain is the director of Shalom Y’all, a documentary portraying Jewish communities and individuals throughout the South. He is also an award-winning director of commercials for Miller Beer, Denny’s, and ABC.
Brian describes his early life as a New Orleans native. His family settled in Metairie, a New Orleans suburb, where Bain grew up, attended school and became involved in New Orleans’ Touro Synagogue. He reflects on southern Jewish life, the Jewish community in New Orleans, and his involvement in SoFTY, which connected him to Jewish youth throughout the South. He remembers Hurricane Katrina and the impact it had on his life and family. Before Hurricane Katrina, Bain, his wife, Julie, and their young son resided in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, where they had close ties with family and friends. As the storm approached the city, the Bain family evacuated to Houston and later Dallas, Texas, where they had some family connections. While in Dallas, Bain and his family received a tremendous amount of financial and emotional support, particularly from the Jewish community and specifically from Jewish Family Services. It soon became apparent that their neighborhood was one of the hardest-hit after the hurricane and the breach of the levees. They realized their home was likely destroyed. In December 2005, Bain took his first trip back to the city to inspect what remained of his house. With the help of volunteers, he could salvage some family heirlooms and gut the house’s interior. Bain and his wife decided to remain in Dallas for a year and a half after the storm but finally decided to return to New Orleans on a trial basis. Brian got a job with a company in Dallas making commercials and, even though he has returned to the city, he still works with this company. Bain explains that the city is different from what they knew, and rebuilding is challenging. He reflects on losing his life’s work after losing his house because of a fire at his old office. He remembers seeing it in flames on the news in Dallas. Brian says being was family was the motivation to return to New Orleans. His son was eight months old when they evacuated, and he and his wife wish to be close to relatives. Finally, Bain reflects on the character of New Orleans, its extraordinary diversity, and the friendly people. As an adult. Brian has re-affiliated with Touro Synagogue and is in charge of the welcoming committee for the new cantor. He and his wife plan to be a part of the Lehmann-Stearn program, a two-year program that begins with a mission to Israel. The goal of the program is the leadership development of young adults. It trains younger Jews in the city to move to take over the leadership of Jewish institutions.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Brian Bain. Interviewed by Rosalind Hinton. 5 July 2007. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/bain-brian>.
Oral History of Brian Bain by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.