Culture, Identity

When the Levees Broke


As insurance companies win cases in the courts allowing them to not pay homeowners for damages from Hurricane Katrina, this week director Spike Lee has released the documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts on HBO .

As the world watched in horror, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Like many who watched the unfolding drama on television news, director Spike Lee was shocked not only by the scale of the disaster, but by the slow, inept and disorganized response of the emergency and recovery effort. Lee was moved to document this modern American tragedy, a morality play witnessed by people all around the world.

In an interview with Spike Lee, he says, “One of the significant things about the title is that most people think that it was Katrina that brought about the devastation to New Orleans. But it was a breaching of the levees that put 80 percent of the city under water. It was not the hurricane. And last week the United States Army Corps of Generals went on record and finally ‘fessed up, and said that we fucked up.”
As Doug Elfman wrote, “Instead of using a narrator, Lee lets scores of residents voice their own stories. Images revisit the chaotic horror in four-plus hours of chronology. The first half plots the storm’s course and the political squall to come. The second half powerfully measures the angry despair of death and desertion.
After a year, with much not having changed for the people of New Orleans and Hurricane survivors, Lee does an exceptional job in bringing the this issue back into the eye of the American people–this film is incredible–filled with image after image of the devastation, after two hours you are already rocked through–as a viewer you are only at day 5 after this two hour time period. The film is raw, as it should be, giving an unapologetic view that the current US administration shamelessly turned its back on New Orleans, the region and particularly on African Americans. Watch an interview with Spike on CNN and then, watch the film.
crossposted from jspot

8 thoughts on “When the Levees Broke

  1. As a catholic priest who believes that the Jews are God’s chosen people, it pained me greatly when I was informed about the sexual abuse scandal brewing in the midst of such a great nation.
    However, upon further investigation, my pain led to anger, as it became clear that God’s chosen people were being led astray, and their belief system was being hijacked, by fake leaders and false prophets.
    As part of the clergy, I have had several meetings with high ranking Jewish leaders and have come away greatly pleased and encouraged by the message being delivered and the high morals displayed.
    However, at a recent inter-faith meeting among the leaders of several denominations, it became painfully obvious that the same Jewish leaders became different people when faced with a harsh reality. Instead of addressing the great issues of the day, they chose to display dubious traits of moral character and, to be blunt, a shocking lack of compassion for victims, and would refuse to speak about the issue of child sexual abuse with any moral clarity or honesty.
    It was as if the to speak of sexual abuse would be to bow down to Jesus himself.
    Now, we of the catholic faith have a tradition of ‘love thy neighbor’ (i.e. compassion) as being the first and foremost quality that we learned from Jesus and endeavor to incorporate such ideals into our daily lives.
    I do not understand how the leaders of the Jewish People do not learn from their previous great prophets and leaders such a Abraham and Moses, renown for their great mercy, kindness, compassion, truth and honesty.
    What has happened to the people of the Bible- God’s sole chosen nation?
    jesusvbelsky.blogspot.com

  2. Crazy, please see my response to your post under David Kelsey’s piece.
    As for the Army Corps of Engineering fucking up, well, the idiot-boy administration cut their funding. Can’t replace decrepit levees if neither the money nor the credit line is available.
    But, so what? The greatest ‘Negro removal’ project was a fabulous success.

  3. First of all, more white people was killed than black. Second, the New Orleans/Mississippi River levee system got funded much more than any similar large-scale public works project in the US. The money was mismanaged by the corrupt administration of Louisiana for decades. LA is known for being the most backward corrupt state in the Union, and has been almost entire Democrat for that time. See Huey Long.
    More here and here and here and here and here and and here.
    The Katrina mythology is one of my pet peeves. . . .

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