When Hurricane Ike blew through the Midwest last September, central Ohioans got a taste of the devastation that residents in the Gulf Coast region are still coping with four years after Hurricane Katrina.

When Hurricane Ike blew through the Midwest last September, central Ohioans got a taste of the devastation that residents in the Gulf Coast region are still coping with four years after Hurricane Katrina.

Paula Stebbins, who lives in the Dublin-Worthington area and who has family ties in New Orleans, is inviting residents from all over central Ohio to attend a free screening of the documentary "Paradise Faded: The Fight for Louisiana" on Friday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Thirsty Ear Tavern, 1200 W. Third Ave. in Grandview Heights.

The screening will be followed by a musical performance by Long Tall Deb and the Drifter Kings.

Stebbins has close relatives in Louisiana, and at the time that Katrina hit, one of her cousins was undergoing cancer treatment in New Orleans. Stebbins tried to persuade her cousin to evacuate, but she resisted because she didn't want to miss her treatments. Stebbins' cousin finally came to Columbus when she realized all of her medical records were swept away by the floodwaters.

"She packed up what little she had and lived with me for eight weeks," Stebbins said.

Stebbins was able to arrange for chemotherapy sessions in Columbus until her cousin was able to return to her undamaged home in New Orleans, where she continues her treatments.

Stebbins has since visited New Orleans and seen firsthand the sluggish recovery efforts in the region.

"I went down in 2006 and 2007 for Mardi Gras and was stunned by how little had been done," she said. "That's why I got involved, first of all because (my cousin's) experience, and my experience going down there and seeing the mess."

Stebbins contacted the Thirsty Ear about hosting the screening of "Paradise Faded." The documentary was produced by the Gulf Restoration Network, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"We really want people to come out and get educated. It's not just a Louisiana problem," Stebbins said. "Seafood and oil and gas and music and tradition and everything that anybody knows about New Orleans come from that region. It's like a national treasure and we're just letting it dwindle away."

The documentary describes a plan to replace the wetlands that serve as a natural barrier protecting the Gulf Coast region from hurricanes.

"We're excited about this film because it provides you with the big picture from an ecological perspective and educates through interviews with scientists, politicians and local residents," Stebbins said. "It's also a beautiful film that is full of local culture and New Orleans and Louisiana music.

"When the screening ends, we'll keep the Louisiana music and fun going with live entertainment," she said.

There will also be a free raffle for a Rediscover New Orleans travel package, which includes passes for Big Easy restaurants and other regional attractions.

While the screening is free, donations will be accepted for the Gulf Restoration Network's efforts to help save the wetlands. A cover charge of $7 will be collected for those who stay for the music.

For more information, call the Thirsty Ear Tavern at (614) 299-4987 or contact Paula Stebbins at paulastebbins@hotmail.com.