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American Journalist with ties to New Orleans killed in Ukraine

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -The ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine claims the life of award-winning American filmmaker and journalist, Brent Renaud.

“Just a huge loss, a huge loss. He was a true humanitarian,” says Executive Dir. Of Covenant House, Jim Kelly.

Renaud, who worked with his brother, Craig, filmed documentaries all over the world, and right here in New Orleans at the Covenant House, where they made the documentary, ‘Shelter’.

Executive Director of the Covenant House, Jim Kelly says Renaud spent 9 months filming in New Orleans, and they became lifelong friends.

“He wanted to lift up the story of how society would maybe refer to people on the fringes, but he never viewed them that way. He viewed them as people in the middle. He wanted to lift up their stories and talk about where they came from, and how they are,” says Kelly.

The Renaud brothers worked on films and television projects from conflict zones all over the world and often told the stories of immigrants trying to find a better life.

“He wasn’t interested in filming them. He was interested in getting to know them. That was the difference. He cared about the people he was interviewed,” says Kelly.

On Sunday, Renaud and another journalist were in Ukraine on assignment for Time Studios, working on a project focused on the global refugee crisis.

Ukraine authorities say they were traveling near Irpin when shots were fired into their vehicle. Renaud’s colleague survived the ordeal.

“We crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us. So, the driver turned around, and they kept shooting. There were two of us. My friend is Brent Renaud. He’s been shot and left behind,” says journalist Juan Arrendondo.

“It’s a tragic, senseless murder. Not only to Brent, but to all of these people in Ukraine. He had to tell that story, and he couldn’t tell that story unless he was on the front lines, and he had learned that from being a journalist for 25 years,” says Kelly.

The filmmaker will be remembered as an exceptional storyteller.

“He lifted up the goodness of people. In Ukraine, we see evil and we see goodness. Grace is considered the unmarried, unconditional love of God. Brent was a person of grace,” says Kelly.

Renaud was 50 years old.

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